03 Aug Our World It’s a Changing…Confrontation and Harassment and Bullying, Oh My!
Confrontation and Harassment and Bullying, Oh My! Let me share with you my recent experience. I was asked to speak on Reputation Management a couple of weeks ago and was shocked when a participant stood up, challenged my presentation, called me a liar and stormed out.
That in and of itself was bad enough, but the next day another speaker was challenged and a participant argued with her as well. Not sure if it was the same participant or not.
The age of the participant who I angered, millennial, early 20s. My presentation was on Reputation Management and after she left I made the comment that she needed anger management. Well the presenter from the second day was talking on Conflict Resolution! So the participant(s), again not sure if she was the same one or not, just needs some old fashion schooling on business etiquette and maybe some anger management.
For my presentation, I was speaking to young professionals about their online profiles and digital searches. The web is often our first and most important impression, and finding ways to monitor, improve, and control our reputations online is something that benefits everyone.
I pointed out that in our world today, the first impression of people now comes from what we can find online. People are Googling all the time and making critical decisions based on what they find.
Seventy-five percent of HR departments are required to research a candidate online before making a hire. Now this is where my seminar participant started to get agitated. In her opinion, HR departments cannot do this because it’s illegal. I beg to differ.
I quoted these statistics which further perpetuated the situation. Sixty percent of employers’ screen candidates via social media. This number is rapidly increasing — from 52 percent just last year and 22 percent in 2008. Employers are scanning social for red flags: 46 percent were turned off by provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos, or information; 43 percent by evidence of a candidate drinking or using drugs; 31 percent by bad-mouthing of previous company or fellow employee; and 29 percent by poor communication skills.
I gave examples of my own clients not hiring, rescinding job offers and shredding applications because of what they’ve found online.
I then asked for a couple of volunteers so we could do searches on them. The first gentlemen, had a few Go Fund Me pages for medical issues. On his Facebook page, he had several posts with medical issues. I suggested that he clean those up and maybe remove the posts and Go Fund Me pages where the campaigns have been completed. I told him that it probably wouldn’t stop me from hiring him, but it may stop others if they could see publicly that he had health issues.
This is where the participant flipped out, literally. I don’t know if I have ever been so publicly humiliated or had anyone ever scream and yell at me in a presentation before. She told me that it was illegal and in an interview you can’t even ask anyone about health issues.
I completely understand that, but we weren’t discussing the interview process nor were we in an interview. We were discussing an internet search to see if a business was even going to accept the application. We weren’t even close to an interview. I was giving suggestions on how to cleanup a profile or search for a potential employer. My suggestion about his Facebook page was to make his profile private so that all of that information wasn’t public.
I was completely flustered for a couple of seconds and had to quickly pull myself together, not respond and keep on going.
For the angered participant, you can ask questions in a presentation, but you should have pulled me aside and discussed this in private. I felt a little better when the speaker from the second day shared with me that she had the same issue.
These outbursts, in my opinion, come from our age of bullying. Where young people today, grow up bullying their peers and at this point in time, very little is done about it. Our bullying laws are not being enforced and so the spill over is affecting all of us.
I don’t have an answer as to how to deal with the issue. As for me, I may have to educate participants the next time that I speak. And ask that if they have something negative to say or disagree with my information to please stay afterwards and not to disrupt my presentation with their outbursts. I truly believe that we just need to educate this younger generation on business etiquette and what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior.
If you are needing help with your Online Reputation Management, please give us a call today! And let’s take the oh my out of confrontation and harassment and bullying!