One of the new college graduates in our office Matt started in our call center four years ago. And, like many of us, it was not his chosen path. He originally went to school to be a gym teacher.
Like many in the public sector, he had social media accounts galore. There was his Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 79% of internet users use Facebook. His profile, photos, and his business floated freely around the internet.
After college, he spent six months looking for a job in education. This was just after the market crash in 2008, so he found little to nothing. What did appear was a whole lot of ‘you have no experience’.
Matt wanted to get out of his parent’s house and get his life started. Sitting at home looking for a job in education he could be a social magnet. There would be lots of friends, parties, and girls – just no money. And all of it would be online.
The closest thing he could find and eventually took was that of a janitor in the local school system. It was a foot in the door he told us. It was also part-time and didn’t pay for rent.
He ended up taking a job at an insurance call center. It was a full-time gig with benefits and had an opportunity to grow. In the meantime, he could continue to look around.
The call center was for an insurer who specialized in Property and Casualty Insurance. They were undergoing some changes in house and Matt fit their criteria for new blood. His new job in the call center was long and tiring, but he was really into it.
He did very well at his call center work for three years. Matt was able to move out, buy a condo and get a new car. He was excelling fast in his position, so they offered for him to move up to quality management area – one step away from a supervisor.
The problem was, as it was explained, his social media accounts. As we have all learned the hard way, electronically stored media is now part of the new discovery rules. When your agency or the carrier is sued, counsel has the right to pull the metadata from your computer. It doesn’t matter if your account is ‘private’ – it is still discoverable.
The jury is likely to see emails, text messages, web pages, instant messages and the gambit of media files. Jokes that you might have thought funny will become the focus of wild debate in the jury room. Your social media could place your respectability and your company’s choices into question. No one wants that, so Matt was told.
In one weekend, he vanished from the internet. Sure, he could still Google and set up trips to here or there, but he wasn’t going to be online showing off or posting during debates.
Two weeks later, he was promoted. He even got contacted from a local school for a teaching position -which he turned down. Since then, he has been promoted again to a supervisory position.
If you ask any head hunter that specializes in insurance, the first thing they will tell you is to delete your social media accounts. The Human Resources department of any major carrier will scrutinize you during consideration and make the decision on what they find.
It is a litigious world – no one knows better than us insurance folks. Leavea comment or share an experience.