A few months ago, our friends over at Sterling Talent Solutions wrote a blog post about movie characters and employment. They specifically focused on characters who should have undergone an employment background check. Remember Jack Black’s character in School of Rock? He was somehow able to get a job as a substitute teacher while impersonating his roommate. That got us to thinking about television characters who work in office settings. We’ve put together a list of characters who would likely have failed their social media background checks.
Michael Scott - The Office
Michael vacations to Jamaica during one Season 3 episode. Upon Michael’s return, we learn that Jan, his supervisor, was there with him. That alone could violate company policies regarding relationships. To make matters worse, Michael attempts to email a vacation photo to one coworker as proof that Jan was there. Instead, he ends up forwarding a topless photo of Jan to the entire office. This episode aired in 2007 before social media was as mainstream as it is now. However, it’s not difficult to imagine Michael accidentally posting such a photo on his Facebook page. Something like that would be flagged for sexually explicit material.
Kelly Kapoor - The Office
The majority of the characters on The Office are guilty of having said or done something that we would consider to be red flag behavior. In one 2010 episode, Dwight found Kelly and Ryan pouring over her computer and asked what they were doing. The following conversation ensued:
This would be flagged as a demonstration of aggressive online behavior/cyber bullying.
Tom Haverford - Parks & Recreation
Aziz Ansari’s Parks & Rec character, Tom, is a social media enthusiast. He starts every day by “hitting up Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.” Unfortunately, he accessed his social media while driving. One Parks & Rec episode starts with Tom sitting in a courtroom. An attorney asks him to read the following tweets:
The town of Pawnee is fictional, but it is set in the state of Indiana where typing, reading, or sending emails or text messages is illegal. In this scenario, Tom’s tweets can be considered an admission of illegal activity.
Donna Meagle - Parks & Recreation
During another episode, one member of the Parks & Rec team got the entire department into trouble on Twitter. Donna tweeted, “Hope you like tongue baths, you big, nasty fireman” on the Parks and Rec account instead of her personal account by mistake. The tweet was deleted, but not before a press conference was called for a town discussion.
Donna explains that her personal Twitter account is private, but these tweets would be flagged for sexually explicit language.
We know these are just TV characters on comedy shows meant to entertain us, but some lessons can be learned from them all the same. There are countless examples of real employees who have been fired due to their social media posts. In fact, we find that 10% of our social media hiring reports come back with red flags, and those are usually conducted after a candidate has been interviewed.
Have you considered running a social media background check on your potential employees? Contact us today to learn more at 805-472-6365.
About the author
Caitlin Rogers is the Client Services Coordinator for Social Intelligence. Her tenure in the social media background screening industry makes her one of the foremost experts in online behavioral screening.