Would you hire a job candidate as unfiltered as Donald Trump?
Employment experts weigh in how people who have jobs or about to look for one should avoid using social media to make potentially inflammatory remarks.
Donald Trump will easily survive getting fired as host of “The Celebrity Apprentice,” but the average voter/employee can only live vicariously through his antics if they want to remain employable.
“You can file this one right under the heading of ‘It’s good to be the king’ " says William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. in an interview. Mr. Galston is referring to a comedy bit by Mel Brooks in the movie “History of the World Part I,” which celebrated a king’s ability to get away with acts that would land a commoner in hot water.
In June, the candidate’s abrasive comments about Mexican immigrants resulted in NBC and Univision dropping this year’s Miss USA telecast.
While on the presidential campaign trail Trump has lived an unfiltered life, famously making derogatory remarks toward women that some called “unpresidential,” yet his polling numbers continue to rise.
Glaston explains Trump’s popularity as being buoyed by voter’s need for a vicarious release in an employment and social environment where even posts we think of as private can easily become publicly shared and in the worst cases, viral.
“There are a lot of people who are angry and feel repressed by changes on government and society and Trump is saying what a lot of angry older people, mainly of the white and male persuasion, are quietly thinking, but don’t dare say,” Galston says in an interview. “So he’s saying it out loud and getting away with it – sort of - and it makes them feel good.”
Richard Moormann, strategic business coach and leadership developer for LMI HR, responds in an email interview, “Yes, you can speak the truth in the workplace. Will you still have a job?”
“While [Trump] generally has the privilege to speak his mind as often as he does, most people do not,” Mr. Moormann writes. “The privilege to speak truth depends on the audience. It depends entirely on the relationship.”
He adds that the difference between gaining or losing a following in a professional environment for speaking your mind is trust.
“Trust begets respect. With respect you can speak your mind, even if it hurts,” he writes. “Some people are gifted at providing criticism or 'challenge' to others with the degree of respect required. Many are not. In the beginning of a professional coaching relationship, trust must be established first. Then respect follows.”
However, Jack Greenhouse, recruitment analyst for Pavillion Agency in New York City, explained in an interview why behaving like Mr. Trump, even on his best day, would be fatal to a job candidate’s career.
“We serve a really niche market,” says Mr. Greenhouse in an interview. “Pavillion Agency staffs the homes of the very wealthy both in New York and around the world. It is impossible for us to successfully place a candidate whose public presence, whether it be on social platforms or in the news, has displayed questionable values and ethics, We work with high profile families who can’t take a chance on their reputations being affected. As a result we can’t work with candidates who have showed poor judgement in their public lives. Keeping our client’s best interest in mind, we do not take chances on candidates who have negative exposure in social media or the press.”
Greenhouse added, “It would be nearly impossible for us to help an average person who had made their controversial ideology public. I have seen extremely qualified candidates lose out on great positions because their Facebook was made public and depicted pictures of them partying. What a candidate does in their private life should remain private.
Perhaps the closest Trump will ever come to voters who would be candidates for a Pavillion Agency position is his now classic 2006 flash ad for All detergent titled, “Introducing the Domestic Donald.”
On a serious note, Greenhouse says he recommends that everything on social media accounts be “either private or not there at all because it can really make or break a job offer.”
Although his assistant broached the topic with Trump, he chose not to respond to a request for comment on whether or not he would hire a candidate who emulated his recent social choices.