my new hire is badmouthing our business on Twitter, referral bonuses, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My new hire is badmouthing our business on Twitter

I am the manager of a small business and recently made a verbal offer of employment to someone for an entry-level/cashier position. In the last day, this hire has made several deprecating comments on Twiiter about the business. My knee-jerk reaction is to rescind the job offer, but I have doubts about how ethical that would be and the ramifications of it all. Do you have any insight?

Rescind it, and don’t have any qualms about doing it. You don’t want someone working for you who’s already badmouthing your business (publicly, no less!) and who has the double-whammy of having the terrible judgment of doing it on the Internet where you can easily find it. Hire a candidate who’s glad to work for you, not this one.

2. A new job, referring a friend, and a possible referral bonus

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a third party recruiter at a company to join their team (office 1) while I was already in the hiring process with another recruiter at one of their other offices (office 2). After I was given an offer at office 2, a colleague of mine expressed interest in the same position at office 1. The colleague is someone whom I’ve worked with in the past, and I can definitely vouch for their work. However, although I’ve been given a formal offer, I won’t actually begin the job for a month and I don’t want to refer my colleague so soon after my being hired, as I am afraid it will give the impression that I am just trying to get everyone I know into the same company.

How soon can I refer a colleague into my company’s referral program after starting a new job? Would it be bad form to refer my colleague to the recruiter before I even start my first day?

And a more complicated question: I want to refer my colleague to office 1, but am afraid I may lose any kind of employee referral bonus I could get, since I suspect most third party recruiters get a finder’s fee and it wouldn’t be considered an employee referral. If I refer my colleague to the recruiter at office 2 who I have a better rapport with, there’s a better guarantee I can get a referral bonus if my colleague were hired. But if I wait too long (such as wait until my first week or even my first month of work), there is a possibility the position may be filled by that time.

I’ve gone over it many times in my head and it seems to come down to choosing between making my colleague wait, and possibly have the position be filled while they wait, or refer them now but lose out on any bonus I can gain for myself. What should I do?

You should refer them now because that is the decent thing to do. You aren’t referring them just for a referral bonus, right? So you do it now and let the chips fall where they may, rather than playing with someone’s job prospects to get some extra cash for yourself (which I’m sure isn’t the way you intended it, but if you think through that path, that’s what it ultimately ends up as).

And it’s fine to refer someone before you work at a job — don’t worry about that looking weird. Unless you start referring all your friends or referring people who aren’t qualified, no one is going to think you’re just trying to stock your company with your friends. They’re going to think, “Oh good, a candidate lead.”

3. My recovery from an injury is delaying my internship start date

I interviewed for a field internship position with a reputable nonprofit at the start of January. Someone else got the position, but they came back to me with another (intern) position that fit me better, and I agreed to discuss this position with the manager. However, before this chat could take place, I injured myself pretty badly and ended up in hospital needing surgery. When the chat finally did take place, I had to let them know that it would take some time before I could start – I thought around mid-March – but that I would know more at the end of February. The manager seemed happy with that. Now, however, I am realising that I might not be ready to go until May (I might need another surgery), but I won’t know for sure for at least another two-three weeks. If I’m really lucky, I’ll be ready begnning of April.

I need to get back to the manager next week. What should I tell him? I’m so excited about this position, it’s a brilliant opportunity and a great adventure. I worry that he will think I am stringing him along and that he might let me know that it’s not going to work out. I haven’t signed a contract or anything, and there is no renumeration involved.

Yes, he might tell you that the timeline won’t work out, but if that’s the case, there’s nothing you can really do about it — and he’s more likely to feel strung along if you aren’t up-front about what’s going on. Just be direct: “I’m really excited about this internship, but I want to talk to you about the timeline for starting. My recovery is taking a bit longer than we’d originally hoped. I’ll know in the next few weeks whether I’ll need an additional surgery. If I do, I might not be able to start work until May. Otherwise, I’m hoping for early April. I’m really hoping that will work with your timeline, but I understand that it might not. What makes sense on your end?”

4. Where’s my freelancing check?

Last fall, I interned at a magazine/publishing company that I loved (I’m still in college). It was unpaid, but occasionally they’d send me to work events on weekends, and one of them was supposed to be paid because I was filling in last-minute for a paid contractor. The following week in the office, my supervisor had me fill out a tax form so they could pay me properly, but I never got a check. I think she really just forgot to give it to me; she’s not the type who would just actively not pay me. I’ve since left the company, but I still keep in touch with my supervisor and we talk periodically. I’m really close with her (at least compared to most people I’ve worked for), and she’s only about two years older than me so we’re kind of chummy.

The gig she forgot to pay me for was in November, I believe, and I have no idea how to ask her to pay me or how to bring it up. I want to keep doing freelance gigs for this company this spring and was actually planning to tell her I’m very interested in it. But how do I tell her to pay me while telling her I want to keep doing gigs for them at the same time? After I stopped interning there, she made our relationship much more friend-like because she wasn’t my boss anymore, which I’m totally fine with but it makes it hard for me to bring this up. I was also really liked as an intern there and built a great reputation – I just hate feeling like I’m bugging them after ending things on a good note. It’s just $100, but it’s my $100 and I felt so proud of myself for earning it at a company I admired after working there unpaid. I want it! And I want to keep freelancing for them! Help? I’ve started branching into freelance writing so I really need to get comfortable with reminding people to pay me.

Yes, you absolutely do need to get comfortable with reminding people to pay you, and especially in a situation as straightforward as this one, where you assume there’s no dodginess involved, just absentmindedness.

There’s no secret to this; you just lay out the fact plainly. As in: “I haven’t received the check for the assignment I did in November. Could you look into it for me?” And then, if you haven’t heard back about it within a week — or received the payment itself within a few weeks — you follow-up: “Hi Jane, I still haven’t received the check. When do you expect me to receive it?” You can do this in email (which will probably feel less awkward to you, plus give you something to forward back if you do need to follow up on it).

If it helps, put yourself in your manager’s shoes. Wouldn’t you be mortified if someone you were supposed to pay hadn’t received it and wasn’t sure whether they could ask you about it?

5. I’m applying for organic farm internships and the hiring processes are chaotic

I have been applying for organic farm internships for this summer/fall, as I will be graduating in the spring. A lot of the farms that I have contacted have been extremely unreliable in communication. Things like not hearing anything for weeks and then getting an email that I am still in the running, employers forgetting to call for phone interviews, claiming they forgot, and then wanting to reschedule, and calling references but never getting back to me. I know organic farms aren’t your expertise, but I was wondering how much of this can be considered normal and what should be seen as a warning for how the farm is managed.

It’s very normal in job searching in general, and it’s also often an indication of how a place is managed. Because shoddy management isn’t terribly uncommon.

That said, it’s also probably the case that — although I know nothing about this particular industry — even well-run farms might put less emphasis on things like phone interview logistics, and that you might have a great experience there regardless of how annoying their interview process is. Instead of drawing too many conclusions from this, I’d put more of an emphasis on talking to people who have worked in the industry themselves and know particular farms’ reputations.

{ 184 comments… read them below }

  1. Iain Clarke*

    A follow-up to #1… How tempting is it to rescind their offer publicly on twitter? I’d be itching! (Though I probably wouldn’t).

    1. EngineerGirl*

      It might be tempting, but it’s more likely to drive away good candidates. Would you really want to work for a company that does public shaming?

      1. James M*

        Agreed. A company should be professional in its hiring practices. At the very least, OP1 can expect the candidate to tweet about their rescinded offer… why add fuel to the flaming?

        1. Anne*

          I have to admit, I would have gleefully nasty daydreams about doing it that way. (But definitely wouldn’t.)

    2. Daisy*

      If you google ‘facebook fired’ you can find lots of examples of this happening… probably a less good idea for Twitter though!

    3. Anonymous*

      1-10? 7.

      Though it might be better if one of their friends replied:

      Hire: Stupid company was stupid enough to hire me so I have a stupid new job.
      Friend: I’ll bet you don’t any more.
      Hire: No, I’m awesome.
      Hire next day: Stupid company is stupid. Anyone know of a job?

  2. Media Maven*

    For #4, this scenario has really become the NORM for most media freelancers in the past 10-15 years. It is normal and typical to wait weeks and months beyond when your contract guaranteed your payment. Then when you try to resolve things, it will cause tension with your editors, even though they DO usually care about you getting paid. They have zero control over the accounting department.

    I used to be a fulltime freelance media professional, working with major publications out of New York. Having an excellent reputation and big readership had zero impact on how I was treated by the finance side of these companies. And it was the same for ALL my colleagues. It was so rare to be paid anywhere near on time that in the rare instance we did, that person would cover the bar tab for a night out w/colleagues.

    Print media outlets started losing their advertisers and subscribers ith the expansion of internet media, where people expect to get their reading for free. Hence, many, many media outlets shut down, thousands of staff let go, and the worst… being a freelancer.

    If you wish to do that long term, find another way to bring in income (or have a supportive partner or trustfund) or you will be in a precarious fiscal position always.

    When AAM says “Put yourself in your manager’s shoes. Wouldn’t you be mortified if someone you were supposed to pay hadn’t received it and wasn’t sure whether they could ask you about it?” I appreciate her thoughtful suggestion, as relates to the real professional world outside of media… I don’t agree that this is even a question you can look at reasonably in that world.

    Yes, you will get paid late almost always, by weeks and months no matter what you do. And your Editor will be horified and feel awful – but can do nothing to help. She or he, if they love working with you, will keep assigning things to you – and that will suck you in deeper. You’ll continue to do work for them, because you like them, too, only you’ll be stressing over paychecks owed from 2-3 (or more) months ago. Then your frustration plus the guilt your eidotr/manager feels will combine into something that become less and less healthy – fiscally, emotionally, etc.

    In no other field would any professional KEEP WORKING with a company even though they haven’t been paid, despite contracts. Media/publishing… it’s a norm. Freelancers may get the more interesting and fun assignments (depending on genre of media) but only staff can be sure when they will be pad – unless they are laid off in the next batch.

    Be aware, and beware!

    1. Jessa*

      On the other hand, it’d be really mortifying to ask “where’s the cheque?” And have the person go “but we mailed it in Dec.”

        1. Jessa*

          Because after working oneself up over things and needing the money for all that time, it’d make one feel really silly to find out that it was a postal error. And all that working up and worry was for absolutely nothing. Maybe you’re right that doesn’t reach up to mortification. I was trying to parallel the note I responded to. The wording might have been a bit off.

          1. Media Maven*

            I seriously doubt there are “postal errors.” That sounds like one of many pathetic excuses freelance professionals are given.

            1. Melissa*

              I really did experience a postal error for a mailed check a couple of weeks ago. The check came a week late, and I assumed it was a problem on the payor’s end but they told me they’d mailed the check out like usual. I’m not a freelancer, though – there was some kind of error that kicked me off direct deposit for a few months, but I’m back on it now thank God. It also has the residual effect of me getting the money on Friday instead of Monday!

      1. Abhorsen327*

        I had this happen recently with a large ($4500) funding cheque. It turned out that it had been cashed already, but not by me!

    2. Lizabeth*

      There’s always the option of saying “I take credit cards and can swipe it right now…” Because my parent company is playing games with paying invoices in a timely manner, some of the vendors we use have switched us to credit card only.

      1. Chriama*

        That’s not realistic for individuals though, is it? Unless you’re making a significant amount of money the machine will cost more in fees than it’s worth.

        1. Elle D*

          I’ve also worked for a company where we weren’t allowed to use a credit card to pay vendors or freelancers (only for things like business travel, entertaining clients, etc.) so in some instances this wouldn’t be an option even the freelancer was open to it.

        2. Natalie*

          You don’t need a machine anymore – you can get an app and attachment for a smartphone. Small and fairly cheap.

          1. Chriama*

            Do you still have to pay fees to VISA for every transaction? I know lots of places (e.g. small convenience stores) won’t let you use credit for anything under a certain amount because the cost to them isn’t worth it. That would still hold true for someone using an app, wouldn’t it?

            1. pgh_adventurer*

              There is a small fee- I think something like 1.7%? But you’re right that it would add up, and you’d have to balance losing that money against the convenience and peace of mind factors.

            2. Del*

              Yes, you do still have to pay the fees. It depends on the service provider — some of them charge the same flat rate to everyone, some vary their percentage based on the business model, but yes, accepting credit cards costs money.

              And it’s a somewhat risky of taking payments, too; unlike cash or check, credit card transactions can be disputed even after the funds are deposited.

        3. Mike C.*

          There are plenty of systems for individuals (Square comes to mind) and small businesses just starting out (Costco and many banks will set you up).

          Heck, I have a Square system that I never use, and it was free to me. Just plug it into my phone and I’m ready to go.

        4. College Career Counselor*

          Can freelancers use Paypal or something like that? Probably still has to go through accounting, so maybe that wouldn’t help.

        5. Al Lo*

          Square! Can’t recommend it highly enough.

          (I have 4 accounts — three for various businesses/organizations that I’m involved with, and 1 personal one that my husband and I use for things like garage sales and selling things on kijiji.)

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      For what it’s worth, I do a bunch of freelance writing and have never encountered this; I’ve always been paid on time.

      I know it’s absolutely out there and lots of people do have it happen, but it’s not so universal that the OP should assume it will be the case here.

      1. Media Maven*

        I think, AAM, outside of print media it may be different – although the pay is often far less (something I’d have been paid $5000 to do 15 years ago, they get someone to write online now for $200—or even for free. And yet it takes same amount of work (the researching, the interviews, etc.)

        Corporate clients, technical writing, media arms of non- journalistic entities (such as a website for a business) tend to pay timely. I have never found this to be the case at news, culture, arts, fashion or lifestyle print publications. (By never I mean “rare.”) At least not in the “big media” center of New York and publications based here.

        Writers especially come here so desperate for work that it deprofessionalizes those established already. Why pay someone ontime, why pay a seasoned professional the professional norm when, today, what matters most is “page clicks” and they can pay $100 instead of $1000. And especially, why pay a prefessional on time when a newbie will do it for free or not complain if late, because they are so “thankful” to be published.

        Every week I see posts online (not here!) offing “great opportunities” to “be published” – without payment. This—people’s willingness to do this—really has been ruining it all for the real professionals.

        (Of course the above comments don’t take into account when one creates ones own media entity, such as this blog, where one dictates ones own parameters.)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Well, I’ll put in a plug here for U.S. News & World Report always paying on time! So there’s that at least :)

          I totally agree about the absurdity of asking/expecting people to write for free. I get approached with “opportunities” to write for free all the time and I always explain exactly why I’m turning them down. It’s enticing if you’re just starting out though, since it’s so helpful to have published clips.

  3. Artemesia*

    It would be an enormous mistake to NOT rescind the job offer in example 1. This person is a problem and they haven’t even started work yet. This is such poor judgment on the future employees part that I sure wouldn’t want him or her working for me. And of course who wants a new employee that comes pre-disgruntled. This is misery waiting to happen and lucky you, you caught the twitter feed and know what a mistake was made in making an offer. This will be the easiest and cheapest way to avoid a disastrous hire.

    The worst hire I ever made was super competent in most things — but caused us unending problems by undermining our division within the larger organization. Biting the hand that feeds you — never gonna be a good thing.

    1. Chinook*

      I agree – the potential employee in #1 not only shows poor judgment but also already doesrlike the company. Why would you want her to work for you? A poor attitude can poison the well and could create a bad work atmosphere?

      1. Ruffingit*

        Exactly. That was my reaction upon reading that. It’s such immature, unprofessional behavior that it’s appalling to think someone is doing it and thinking it’s OK.

    2. ETF*

      Honestly, I just read an article about this doctor/ wanna be politician who posted pictures of X-Rays of dead people on facebook with accompanying jokes. Politics aside, what a stupid thing to do. The good thing about the internet is that it has a way of bringing to light people with poor judgment.

    3. Anonsie*

      I did wonder what “badmouthing” means, though, since they were presumably in the hiring process when it happened. I’m thinking of all the people who write in here about difficult hiring processes but ultimately decide it’s not a big deal and take the job– that’s not really heinous, is it? What if she was even anonymous but the employer could tell it was them from context, too?

    4. myswtghst*

      I think it would depend on what the “badmouthing” is, and how the potential employee responds when called out on it. For example – when I was younger and less business-savvy, I occasionally shared stories on my (easily tracked down and public) blog about my customer service type job. When I was offered a job with the team I’m still with today, the manager pulled me aside and mentioned they’d seen the blog and wanted to make sure the content was removed, and that they could trust my judgement on these types of things going forward. I was (rightfully) mortified, but it was a good lesson to learn and I never did anything like that again. Maybe I’m soft, but I’d give a little benefit of the doubt if the potential employee truly showed remorse and the “badmouthing” wasn’t anything serious.

      (For the record, I’m not discounting the possibility that the “badmouthing” was really truly awful, which would absolutely make rescinding the offer the right thing to do. I’m just of the opinion that this is an opportunity for the tweeter to learn a valuable lesson, if they’re open to it.)

  4. EngineerGirl*

    #5 – Organic farms are usually small family owned businesses, so the rigor in hiring isn’t there. The new proposed farm bill is also throwing a **huge** wrench into things. Some of the new regulations are causing a lot of consternation among small farmers and some of them are even rethinking hiring. (FWIW, the new bill requires standards on small farms that are usually only available on large agribusiness – no bushel baskets, only stainless steel or plastic containers, etc. etc. etc. New sizing and cleaning regulations, etc. All of this costs money, and the small farms don’t know if they can afford to hire anyone yet.
    Alison is right though – family farms are highly variable depending on who runs them. Check references.

    1. danr*

      I’ll add that small farms, organic or not, are not 9-5 businesses. There are always emergencies that need to be handled *now*. Getting back to a candidate will be the last thing on their minds.

    2. Mike C.*

      As someone who worked for 3 years in the food safety industry, I have a difficult time trusting these small farms. Complaining about having to compost manure rings really hollow when manure has such a high E. coli content. That sort of thing is how you get huge recalls on leafy greens. Just because they’re small or organic doesn’t mean they are immune from threats to safety.

      Folks also tend to conflate organic with healthy or greens with safety and forgo washing them (there’s no pesticides, so it’s totally safe to eat!). E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella are all natural as well.

      1. Emily K*

        Yes, but e. coli is far more prevalent in CAFOs than in small farms because of the way they operate. Cows that are pastured are at much less risk of carrying e. coli than cows that are fed corn because corn is not their natural food and alters their gut ecology. The 2006 e. coli outbreak came from CAFO runoff infiltrating water systems and the sh*tty water was used to water spinach…a scenario extremely unlikely to occur on a small organic farm.

        The CAFO approach to food safety is assuming everything is sick and full of bacteria and thus needs to be sterilized and irradiated and pumped full of antibiotics–all of which solve one problem while creating another. Small farms approach food safety by having less bacteria and sickness in the first place.

        And yes, you should always wash produce before you eat it, no matter where it comes from.

        1. EngineerGirl*

          This. The consumer is going to wash leafy greens they buy at a market. Less so for packaged “pre-washed” greens in a plastic bag. Then there is scope. An big corpororation ships massively all over the world. An outbreak would go everywhere. Not so for a local business – fewer individuals affected.
          And as pointed out. all the outbreaks have come from the corporations. They use practices small farms can’t use. So they are treating a problem that doesn’t exist on the small farm.

          1. TL*

            To be fair, it would be much harder to trace an outbreak back to a small farm, especially if it was only a few people affected. Food poisoning is notoriously hard to trace, so without a major outbreak (which would require a large supply), I would guess most organic farm cases just fly under the radar.

          2. fposte*

            In tests, washing genuinely pre-washed greens introduces more microorganisms than it cleans off, so people are right not to wash them. (Packaged goods that aren’t pre-washed, of course, are a different matter.)

            And of course microorganisms aren’t simply external and can’t necessarily be removed by washing, as witness the scallion-based E. coli outbreak.

        2. Mike C.*

          All cows carry E. Coli, it’s a common part of gut flora. It has nothing to do with being fed corn. If CAFOs have more E coli, it’s only because there are more cows to produce it in the first place. If an animal leaves behind feces, it leaves behind E coli.

          Secondly, bacteria is everywhere. I’m not sure why you think it isn’t (outside of sterilized environments of course). There’s nothing wrong with irradiation either – I could be pedantic and say that anytime you cook food with heat that you’re irradiating it – but actual irradiated food needs to be marked as such and thus is only seen in hospital situations because folks don’t understand how the process works.

          Ultimately, you’ve conflating issues of large scale farming with issues of general food safety. While the CAFOs have generated new and very serious concerns, and I’m not defending their practices, they’re not the ones going backwards and forgetting the lessons we’ve already learned. I’ve never seen a Big-Ag firm claim that raw milk was perfectly safe, that Listeria was “no big deal” and that composting “hot” manure has no benefit and so on.

          It doesn’t matter to me if “fewer” individuals are affected when they’re getting sick or dying of things that have been easily preventable for over 100 years.

          1. EngineerGirl*

            To be fair though, I’ve also seen people go backwards on food issues because they no longer live where it is raised. They don’t understand the need to wash food because they don’t know that cantaloupes sit on dirt that contains manure. They just cut the cantaloupe up and spread the contaminants on the outside to the inside fruit.

            I would rather see the money spent on food education for an urban dwelling population.

          2. Momghoti*

            Well, but there’s e. coli and E.COLI. In other words, there are many e. coli strains that aren’t a major health hazard because they can’t handle the acidity in our stomachs(why antacids can leave you vulnerable to infection)–that’s where the grain fed cattle come in, because it acidifies the cow’s digestive tract and allows e. coli strains to adapt to an acidic environment, survive our stomach and kill us.

  5. Amanda*

    I had a similar situation to #4, except it was my regular paychecks that weren’t coming–and yes, my manager was definitely mortified! I waited a while to finally say something (6 weeks after I started working with the company), and she actually had to call me off work while things got straightened out. If I had mentioned it sooner, I might have been able to avoid two added weeks without pay–though it seemed like I was already working for free…

    Anyway, Alison is right. Definitely speak up!

    1. en pointe*

      Wow, you really waited six weeks without being paid to say something? Call me mercenary, but I don’t think I’d wait a day.

      Also, cool blog.

  6. Confused*

    #3
    I’m so sorry about your injury. Take time to heal, there are many internships but you only get one body! And pushing yourself too hard may not be healthy.
    As for the internship, if they hire new interns every semester (a lot of places do) talk to the internship coordinator and see if they can place you for the following semester. It’s important to be there for as much of the internship as possible so you can get the most out of it. If you are set to finish up college in May/June, they may still take you on and you can get credit at a local community college or state university.
    Feel better!

    1. Injured intern*

      Thanks! I know I need to look after my body, it’s just so frustrating at the moment! The internship position is in the middle-of-nowhere-Africa, which is why I have to wait – can’t really go until I know that I won’t get a new infection etc. Don’t want to risk that..

      To be honest, I am WELL out of college (with an MA), but it’s so hard to get into this field, hence the internship – and this one is a good one. They don’t have an internship programme, but basically made this position for me.

      1. Chinook*

        Since the internship is in the middle of nowhere Africa, it is doubly important that you be up front about your medical issue. There is no guarantee that you could get help if you need it and a medical evacuation home could be very expensive and not necessarily covered by their insurance for a pre-existing condition.

        1. Injured intern*

          You’re right.. Health is more important than anything. I just really want this internship!!

          1. Jennifer M.*

            To follow up on Chinook’s comment, if you are looking at an international development or aid organization based in the US, they will most likely provide you with medical evacuation insurance. This will not cover medical expenses, it will only cover transport to the nearest “acceptable” medical facility which for Africa could be South Africa or possibly Greece. And usually the insurance company gets to define what “emergency” is, not a doctor and not you. But they also probably wouldn’t send you without a doctor’s certification that you are healthy enough to travel to and work in a developing country (even if you didn’t have an existing issue; I’m very healthy but had to get an extensive physical before I was able to move overseas for my job so that I would be covered under the workers’ compensation insurance that my company carries)

            1. Injured intern*

              Thanks for that information Jennifer, I checked and they do provide medical evacuation. But I need to cover regular insurance.

              Anyways, I have news! I spoke to the manager today, and they are waiting for me! :)

              1. JessB*

                That’s great to hear! I hope you feel better soon, and that you have a great time at the internship when you get there – fit and well!

  7. Jennifer M.*

    #1 reminds me of the episode of Kell on Earth where Kelly Cutrone’s PR firm interviews a woman and it’s all going very well and they very specifically says that policy is not to speak publicly about the company and/or clients and then the woman immediately tweets about the interview. Of course as a PR firm they have a clipping service that immediately picked up the tweet and they immediately contacted the woman and told her she was out of the running.

  8. short'n'stout*

    Re #1: are you really, really, really sure that it’s your new hire behind the account that’s posting the deprecating tweets?

    1. Jessa*

      Unless the first thing out of the person’s mouth was that they were scammed in that big Twitter hack recently, it’s easiest to presume. You can always directly ask.

      1. Kelly L.*

        Not hacking, but coincidences of name. It sounds like it’s a small, not very famous business in this case, so it’s less likely two people with the same name were focused on it at once (one to apply for the job, another to badmouth the company). But if the guy’s name is John Smith and the business is Walmart and there’s no personal photo on the account, it would be unwise IMO to automatically assume the person venting about Walmart is the same John Smith, unless he also mentions the hiring process etc.

        1. AdAgencyChick*

          This is exactly what I thought. OP, please make really, really sure it’s the same person. I am often amazed on Facebook when I type in the name of an old acquaintance I’m looking for, and I think there can’t be more than one person by that name…and it turns out there are three.

          If OP is sure it’s the same person, I would have no qualms about rescinding the offer immediately. But man, would I feel horrible if I did that and it were a mistake.

          1. EvilQueenRegina*

            I’ve had people contact me on Facebook before now thinking I’m someone else with the same name. It is possible. You do need to be absolutely certain it’s the same person before withdrawing the offer.

    2. Mike C.*

      This is what I’m wondering as well. It just makes no sense to complain about a company they don’t even know yet.

      1. Artemesia*

        I was assuming that some mention of being newly hired was made in the tweet. If there is any doubt about this, of course, a little further snooping would be prudent. I assumed it was like the examples given earlier of ‘stupid company just hired me’.

        1. Momghoti*

          Also, could it be a case of not locking an account? I’ve seen some pretty funny–and some potentially disastrous–posts/tweets from siblings, children and ‘friends’ after finding an account unlocked/ a phone left on the table.

      2. Jamie*

        I posted below a longer response – but plenty of people apply for jobs at places they dislike in food service/retail because they just want a job.

        I’ve never worked at a lot of places I know I’d hate – I am not a fan of a certain big box chain and avoid it in my shopping – but I’ve been there and I know I would be miserable if I worked there. But if I was looking for a job in retail and in a position where I couldn’t hold out for something that appealed to me I’d take it. I’d be unhappy, but I’d take it and keep looking.

        I would – however – know enough to keep my opinions to myself. Now. As a teenager? Can’t say I would have been as discrete.

        1. Zelos*

          Back when I was a teenager, I put my internet journal under friends-lock. Not out of any sensibility on my part, but because one of my high school classmates stumbled upon it. (She knew it was mine too–she sat beside me in computer class and I saw her looking–and refused to stop looking even when I asked.)

          I was so mad at her, but honestly, she probably did me a favour. Otherwise, I could’ve been like this new hire blasting out my dumb thoughts for all to hear.

  9. en pointe*

    #1

    Why would it even be mildly unethical to rescind that offer? Slagging the business off on Twitter – and before they’ve even worked a day – seriously? That person is either really brazen or really stupid. Probably both. So on top of everything else wrong, you’d also be taking on someone with terrible judgement. Pretty please, rescind and don’t look back.

    1. Elysian*

      I don’t think its unethical, but some commenters here in the past have mentioned that employees, especially entry-level employees, shouldn’t be fired for doing things that aren’t illegal in their off-hours. Posting stupid stuff about your employer on Twitter is within this employee’s legal rights, so I think some people would argue that firing him/rescinding the offer is inappropriate. I’m not one of those people, though – in my opinion, good riddance!

      1. en pointe*

        Yeah, I’m not one of those people either.

        I do agree with that point of view as it pertains to activities with very little to no potential for direct impact on the employer. But when someone starts slagging the organisation off on the internet, I think that more than crosses the line.

      2. Jennifer M.*

        I think it is fair to say that people shouldn’t be fired for legal off-hours activities that don’t have an impact on their job such as political affiliations or being a furry. But publicly insulting your employer does impact your job and at absolute minimum should be subject to a formal reprimand, with firing being a legitimate option.

        1. Liz in a library*

          Yes, exactly. The big difference here is that his actions are harming his employer directly (in a way that the hypothetical teacher a while back who has a few drinks off-duty is not).

          1. Elysian*

            I forgot about the drinking teachers! That one is different because they were government employees. I was thinking about the discussion surrounding the individual who was fired/disciplined (I can’t remember which) for using foul language on his lunch break while he was out of uniform and was reported to his supervisor by a customer.

            I think this one is a much clearer call than the cursing lunch-break employee.

            1. fposte*

              I don’t think the government employee thing even factored into the teacher situation. Somebody complained anonymously to the school board and they bizarrely decided to force the teacher out because of it. It sounds like it could have played out exactly the same if she’d been at a day care or private school.

              1. Elysian*

                I think you’re right – I wrote my post pre-coffee. Maybe it was just different because we treat teachers differently. Either way, I was thinking of a different “employee fired for some stupid reason” post. There are just too many, it seems…

            2. some1*

              “I was thinking about the discussion surrounding the individual who was fired/disciplined (I can’t remember which) for using foul language on his lunch break while he was out of uniform and was reported to his supervisor by a customer.”

              I remember that discussion, but IIRC we had no idea what the “foul language” was, though. Some people think “crap” and “Jesus!” are completely unacceptable, and some people think it’s okay to use slurs.

      3. Artemesia*

        There is drinking too much or even smoking dope in your off hours. And there is appearing in wet T shirt contests in your off hours. And there is getting involved in controversial public/political issues in your off hours. And then there is badmouthing your employer in your off hours. One of those things is not like the others.

        This is someone who would be a disaster to hire and lucky they have all the evidence they need of that. I wish our brilliant talented underminer had provided us with that evidence before she came on board and started punching holes in the bottom of the ship.

    2. some1*

      At my former company, my coworker was written up for trashing the company on FB.

      She is an incredibly smart person with an advanced degree, yet seemed to think her post fell under “Freedom of Speech”. A lot of really smart educated people are under the misconception that they have these protections from their employer when they don’t.

      1. Del*

        A lot of really smart (and also not so smart) people also seem to think that freedom of speech = freedom from consequences of said speech.

        All “freedom of speech” means is that (with some very specific exceptions) the cops will not come knocking because of things you’ve said.

      2. Katie the Fed*

        Poor 1st Amendment gets so abused. People think it means “Whatever, I do what I want!” instead of “the government can’t imprison you because it doesn’t like your opinions.”

        Sigh.

        Pay attention in civics, kids.

        1. Elysian*

          I think we’ve stopped teaching civics. :'( I never had to have it, anyway. It should definitely be required, and “What is and is not the First Amendment” should be the first week’s worth of lessons, at least.

          1. ChristineSW*

            Same here. I don’t remember if it was offered when I was in high school (late ’80s/early ’90s); if it was, I probably thought it’d be dull and chose not to take it. D’oh! Ahhh, hindsight is 20/20.

            1. Meg*

              I took it in 9th grade as my social studies requirement, followed by Contemporary World History, and 20th Century American History.

          2. Artemesia*

            Back in the dark ages decades ago, I taught a high school American govt class which students took for a semester as seniors. About a third of the class as I taught it revolved around first amendment issues. That school district dropped the requirement a few years back. It strikes me as very short sighted to think citizens automatically understand the Constitution and our form of government.

            1. Melissa*

              I took AP American Government in my senior year of high school and it was great. My teacher was a veteran who fell on the very conservative side of the spectrum, and I had never had a conservative teacher or heard the conservative POV before, so it was very enlightening and he was a great teacher. Part of the class was also participating in this “We the People” competition which was about debating and discussing the Constitution, so I got to know the Constitution VERY well in that class and our class/team won the state championships and competed at nationals.

          3. Elysian*

            As a former educator, I would love to be able to write a civics class for students of the US.

            Along with “This Is Not the First Amendment” I think the class needs to include:
            – This is a Democracy, Darn It! (No, we’re not.)
            – What Your Taxes Buy You
            – Government Agencies and What They Do
            – Powers of the President – Not as Many As You’d Think
            – How to Debate (AKA Just Because You Think They’re Wrong Doesn’t Make Them Stupid)

            Man, it would be a great class. I would love to teach it.

            1. fposte*

              The employment unit alone (That’s Not a Hostile Workplace, That’s Not Wrongful Termination, That’s Not Illegal) would be worth its weight in gold.

              I suppose it could just be called “What You Think Is Wrong,” but that’s not very inviting.

              1. Elysian*

                I don’t know how I could possibly have forgotten “That Is Not Illegal.” I am clearly off my game today.

                1. fposte*

                  I’m picturing it now with little skits and a panto crowd roaring “Oh, no, it isn’t!” whenever a character says “That’s illegal!”

              2. Yup*

                I love all of these.

                Conversely, I’d also like to propose a management B-school curriculum with the following:

                1. Employees are Assets, not Expenses
                2. Our websites, Ourselves
                3. How to communicate with candidates: using email and phones as two-way mediums
                4. Writing for the Marketplace: A post-modern examination of the intersection of furniture assembly manuals and your job ads

                1. Laura*

                  I would take all of these classes. Throw together a webinar series mayhap? There was a massive list of resources for “stuff your school and parents didn’t teach you” going around tumblr a few days back and it was surprisingly thorough.

          4. Melissa*

            I had to take civics at my high school (2000-2004). It’s the required social studies unit for the 9th grade in the state of Georgia. You take civics one semester and human geography in the other.

        2. Jamie*

          Yep – that one is right up there with the “go to jail for ripping the tags off your pillows.”

          No, it’s illegal for the vendor to sell untagged pillows – you can rip to your heart’s content once you get home.

          1. Adam*

            When I was a kid there was a whole episode of the cartoon “Garfield and Friends” based around that one stupid joke. I don’t think they ever mentioned that specific detail. TV warped my mind.

  10. Jessy*

    #1
    I find it so strange with the current high levels of employment why someone would throw a job away by bad mouthing a company they have never even worked for. A lot of people would be extremely grateful the opportunity, give it to someone who really needs and wants the job.

      1. tcookson*

        A lot of people just don’t really get that the internet is public . . .

        I think this is it. We had a receptionist (gone now) who would complain on Facebook about how miserable she was at work: how she hated working with gossipy co-workers (who, us?!), etc. She got reprimanded for it on more than one occasion, and then she would post on Facebook about how her Facebook page was private, and how dare her boss reprimand her for anything she wanted to post there.

        WTH?

        1. Audiophile*

          It couldn’t have been all that private. Hehe.
          I’ve never complained on Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc.

          I save it all for here. ;-)

          1. tcookson*

            Just about everybody in our school at the university is Facebook friends, and even without that factor, the receptionist and I had a Facebook friend in common that we didn’t even realize we both knew (a friend of mine from my son’s scout troop employed the receptionist as a child-care giver). So you have to be aware of the unknown ways in which you’re connected to people on Facebook.

            1. myswtghst*

              That’s a great point – you never know how you’re connected to people at work, and that can certainly make things interesting (even outside of the internet!).

              I make a point to add everyone from work to a special restricted “list” on Facebook, which severely limits what they can see (including my posts and posts I’m tagged in), and I’m still paranoid about posting almost anything which isn’t completely work safe anyhow.

      2. some1*

        I think it’s the lack of awareness that it’s public, but also the instant gratification factor for some. When you are upset about something, it’s so easy to press a few buttons on your phone & announce your grievance.

      1. Anne*

        There might not be. You’d be surprised what people will put up. We just brought in an intern through a work placement program. He almost didn’t get it, because when my boss googled him after the interview, he found the kid’s twitter…. where he’d posted, among other things, a message along the lines of “lady who got me the interview has been calling all morning but I’ve been asleep, who has an excuse for me so I don’t sound lazy?!”

        Right there, out in public, under his real name, not protected at all, and apparently just no concept at all that we might see it. We made it clear to him that if it had been a permanent job, he wouldn’t have been hired, because of his twitter.

        1. Elysian*

          My brother started dating someone new, and the first thing I did, of course, was Google her. Her Twitter was filled with references to drug use. We did not get off on the right foot. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fire her.

          Yup, people will post anything for anyone to see. It’s a shame.

    1. Cat*

      It seems less strange given that it’s a cashier position to me, I guess. I can easily imagine someone tossing off “God, all the clothes at XYZ store SUCK this season,” and also applying for a job to work there. Not a good idea obviously, but something someone might not think much of doing.

  11. Ann Furthermore*

    #1: OMG. What is wrong with people? Yank that job offer right now and extend it to someone who will be grateful for the opportunity.

    At the very least, this is someone with absolutely terrible judgement and zero common sense. You really don’t want someone like that working for you.

  12. Anonymous*

    #1
    Before more people jump on the bandwagon, I have to ask: what kind of deprecating? There’s a difference between “@buddy: I have a new job now but it’s really not that great. Good luck with your job search” and “XYZ Co eats puppies”

    1. Yup*

      Yes, I wondered this too. “Don’t know how I’m ever going to pay back student loans on $7/hr” is different than “Ugh, can’t believe terrible policies and awful manager at ABC Corp, work sux.”

      1. some1*

        I think the first statement still shows a lack of good judgement if you post it online. It’s one thing to say something like that to friends and family, but if you accept a certain salary you shouldn’t publicly criticize the company for it.

        1. fposte*

          Right–going back to the dating metaphor again, it’s not cool to publicly post that you’ve accepted a date with some jackass tonight and you wish he were hotter.

        2. Yup*

          I’d be on the fence about rescinding a job offer based on the former because, depending on other factors, there’s latitude for making it a coachable moment for an otherwise great employee. Whereas the latter is a no-fly zone where I’d have zero compunction about terminating the offer.

          1. JMegan*

            Yeah, that’s a good point – there are a lot of things the OP could consider. Is this a teachable moment for an otherwise excellent employee? Or do you think this one example of bad judgement is indicative of a larger pattern? How desperately do you need the job filled vs how many good candidates available, etc.

            So there could be some grey area there, in terms of making the decision. But yes, rescinding the job offer is definitely an option, both legally and ethically!

          2. Anne*

            This is why we still took on the intern I mentioned above – it turned into a good opportunity to teach him something about the reality of the working world, and he’s been a good worker since he joined us. But depending on the position, I still might not have taken him on permanently, if it was my decision.

          3. myswtghst*

            Agreed. I mentioned in another thread that I had a somewhat similar teachable moment earlier in my career, and I turned out pretty okay, so I can see how this might be an opportunity for the candidate to learn a valuable lesson.

            Also, while the content of the tweet(s) would be the first factor, how the employee responded when we discussed it would be the second factor for me. Was the employee apologetic / remorseful? Or did they brush it off as nothing / do it again? If I did decide to hire them anyway, I would certainly make it clear it can’t happen again.

        3. JessBee*

          Yeah, I think the judgment issue really comes in because they are posting online, not because they have (or even express privately) misgivings. If you wouldn’t say it to the employer’s face in an interview, but you post it to the very-public Twitter, it suggests that you think it can’t get back to the employer. I’d be really concerned about your judgment at that point — people have to start to understand that the internet is not a private forum.

        4. Anonsie*

          That’s assuming they named the company– employer might have just been able to infer it was about them because the person was using their real name. If they said literally just that– no company mentioned –I don’t think that’s really unsound judgement. I wouldn’t do it, but I wouldn’t say someone who did is really far out on a limb.

    2. Chriama*

      I’m thinking of a story I heard a long time ago of someone saying they were offered a job and now they had to decide between a fat paycheck and hating the work, and someone from the company saw it. I think companies are within their rights to expect their employees to be at least neutral in the social media sphere (barring extreme circumstances like illegal action or really bad work environments, etc, etc).
      If you say “I’m only making minimum wage at xyz corp this sucks”, I’ll be concerned about your professional judgement but probably won’t fire you for that (although I’d really scrutinize your work ethic and look for signs that you cut corners). However if you say “I’m only making minimum wage at xyz corp *they* suck” then I’d totally rescind an offer because you’re making my company look bad. It’s all about framing and perception.

      1. Del*

        I think if it comes when the offer’s just been acceoted, before work even starts, I’d still have major concerns just about griping about the money. If they’re not happy with the offer, they should be negotiating, not publicly whining.

        “Yes, sure, I’ll accept the job at $8 an hour.” An hour later, “Man, can you believe they only offered me $8/hr? This stinks.” Still pretty questionable.

        1. Anonymous*

          Let’s be realistic though. If let’s say the best someone can do at this time is $8/hr, of course they’ll take it, but you can’t expect them to be jumping for joy. Now, I agree that posting about it on social media is not a good idea, but minimum wage jobs aren’t particularly negotiable, and I feel like it’s one of those situations where you should cut the employee some slack.

  13. Chriama*

    #4 – seriously, it’s your money! Don’t hesitate to ask for it. I’m the most hypocritical person to be giving that kind of advice though, because a couple weeks ago I asked for advice in the open thread about how to talk to my supervisor at work regarding old timesheets that hadn’t been submitted.
    I don’t know why money is such a scary thing to talk about. We hear about people working for companies that can’t make payroll, people not getting paid for freelancing work, etc. I’m not even going to get into illegal overtime b/c that’s a whole other topic. If people talked about it more often maybe it would’t be such a taboo subject.

    I wish everyone would be more assertive about getting paid — starting with me
    (on the plus side, I did get her to submit those old timesheets so I think it will be resolved alright).

    1. Katie*

      I think we’re afraid to bring money up because 1. we don’t talk about money in polite conversation generally and 2. we’re “supposed” to be working for the love of the job, not the money (in the US, at any rate).

      1. TL*

        No. In fields where you make lots of money, you’re supposed to be a sell-out and doing it for the money and that’s fine.

        In fields where you don’t make much money, you’re doing it for the love of the job and how dare you think that isn’t enough to sustain you?!

        O.o

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I wrote a blog post about this–creative workers always seem to run into it because OMG YOU’RE DOING ART. Like they think it’s what they did in art class in grade school and don’t recognize it as real work. Ever write a book? It’s hard. Ever design a website or a logo for a company? Hard too (I couldn’t do that). These things seem to fall to the bottom of the pile in the accounting department, too. But the vendors and contractors need to be paid. It’s part of the cost of doing business.

        It’s okay to expect to get paid for work you do, especially contracted work. Money is not a dirty word.

    2. Bess*

      I have a degree in public health, and one thing we’re taught when conducting surveys (which is a large part of public health) is to save the questions about money for last, because people will end the interview rather than answer money questions. And having spent a fair amount of time conducting public health surveys, I can attest to the truth of this! People — Americans, at any rate, I don’t have experience with conducting surveys in other countries — will answer any question you ask about their sex lives, including questions you DIDN’T ask (and seriously did not want to know the answer to), but as soon as you ask “what’s your household income” they hang up, walk away, leave the question blank, or otherwise don’t answer/end the interview. It’s hilariously absurd (and also frustrating if it’s a relevant question for what the survey is designed to address).

      1. ChristineSW*

        Ooooh yes! I’m not in public health, but I recently volunteered to take part in a “point in time” count of the county’s homeless population. The question about income is about halfway through the survey, and I was nervous every time I’d get to that question! Luckily I didn’t get many participants (most who came in that day to the outreach center I was at barely spoke English and I barely speak Spanish!), and those I did get didn’t walk away. Whew!

      2. Artemesia*

        This is one of the reasons workers are so badly treated in the US. They are taught that whatever they are paid is what they are worth as humans and that is is very private and probably embarrassing information. Workers have even internalized the idea that there is something wrong with comparing salaries with others in the workplace. Then when Lilly Ledbetter finally learns how unfairly she has been treated, she is told by the SC that she should have complained sooner — it is too late now even though the company actively took steps to hide the disparity from her. Workers are unlikely to effective organize to get paid fairly as long as pay is viewed as a judgment of their personal worth.

        And ‘fair’ is relentlessly sold as ‘as much as the market will bear.’ Look at all the politicians now pushing to drop the minimum wage which is currently far below what it was 30 years ago altogether.

      3. Zahra*

        Oooh, you should take a look at stereotype threat as well. I would keep any questions about sex/age/gender/money/origin, etc. for the end of the survey.

      4. HR lady*

        Bess, this is very interesting. Thanks for sharing! (I’ll probably never experience a public survey the same way again!)

      5. Melissa*

        That’s why I make a point to be up front about my salary/stipend. I’m a graduate student and I feel like it’s one of the things undergraduates always want to know and are too afraid to ask, so I make a point of volunteering the information before they can ask me so they don’t feel like they have to.

        I’m American, too – born and raised – but I can’t understand our country’s squeamishness about money, and specifically talking about how much you make. I have an inkling that it has something to do with corporate interests trying to make it embarrassing so employees don’t trade stories and thus decide to union up.

  14. Meredith*

    I hire a lot of contract workers for various academic projects. I tell them that they’ll get a check about 4 weeks after their project is complete, but to call if that date has passed without seeing the check in the mail. The reason for delayed payments is that I work for a huge state institution with an understaffed accounts payable department. Unfortunately, it’s become the norm for files to get stuck in someone’s inbox or a check mysteriously doesn’t get cut. It’s so frustrating, because when my people check in and say they never got their payment, all I can do is bug accts payable, who may or may not act quickly. If I don’t hear from my contract worker, I assume the payment went through. Call your contact right away and ask!

    1. Anonymous*

      I work at a university and our administration is astoundingly bad. It’s a private university. Reimbursements are predicted to come through in 6-8 weeks (which is already too long – I’ve gotten reimbursed by the public university I am about to go work for and it’s taken then 2 weeks tops, and they APOLOGIZED for the delay) but I’ve had a reimbursement take as many as 3 months. Not to mention that when you first get hired they delay your pay. Most companies delay your pay a pay period, so maybe you don’t get paid for 2-3 weeks. At my university it’s not uncommon for people to not get paid for the first 6-8 weeks they work here.

      I am SO glad I only have 4 more months here until I finish my degree and them I am out.

  15. LPBB*

    #5: Organic farming is a whole different ball of wax than any other workplace you will experience. It really varies from farm to farm – some farms are very organized and together and some farms are a total seat of the pants experience. In my experience, farms that are run by people who came to farming after having some kind of other career tend to put a higher priority on responding to emails or keeping appointments than farms that are run by people who “Went Back to the Land” in the 60s or otherwise dropped out. (This is a HUGE generalization, though).

    These administrative tasks also tend to take place during downtime and, I hate to say it, can often be pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. If the farms you’re looking at have any kind of greenhouse operation or if you’re looking in a region that farms year-round, that will cut in to the time available to the farmer to deal with this. Farm work is always going to take priority over other tasks, especially administrative. Also, even though most farms want their staff hired before spring season starts, it is not uncommon for that to be put off to the last minute! I would not be surprised if you get a flurry of responses in the middle of March when some of the farmers realize that time has gotten away from them again.

    A little advice from someone who’s BTDT — as always, YMMV. Even more than any other workplace, you need to make sure that a farm is going to be a good fit for you. You will be working long hours for little pay. You will also be working closely with the farmer and sometimes living with the family. Personality conflicts are common and can be very disruptive. Use the interview process to find out as much as you can about the farm, how the farm is run, expectations for interns, and the farmer’s personality. Don’t forget, you can always ask for references, too. I’ve served as a reference for one of my former bosses and even though I loved him, I was always honest about his shortcomings to a potential intern.

    Personally, knowing what I know now, for my first farming internship I would look at a more established farm, i.e that has been operating for at least 10 years, that has an established intern program or a farm that is operated by a larger organization. “Foundation farms” have their own tricky issues, usually for the farmer, but they tend to be a little more business like than most family organic farms.

    The good news is that if you keep going with this, internships will get so much easier to find. Just having one season under your belt and still wanting to do more will make your applications shoot to the top of the pile and you’ll probably get a noticeably better response the second time around.

    Good luck! I absolutely loved organic farming and it is still such a huge regret for me that I had to give it up.

    1. Lauren*

      Thanks for the super detailed response! I’m feeling a little better about the entire situation now. The farmer that kept forgetting my interview finally called and seemed really down to Earth and normal. I’m feeling a LOT better about it. Thanks, again!

      1. AVP*

        Hi, I don’t work in the agriculture field but I did an ad project where we had to travel to 11 small farms over 2012-2013. This all fits into my farm experience as well – people took forever to call back, forgot appointments, forgot to email basic things like addresses and directions, forgot to meet us when they said they would, etc etc. Nailing down things was a huge uphill battle (whereas it’s usually the easiest part of my job).

        However once we showed up at a given farm and found the right person to talk to, we had great experiences. We were worried that the disorganization was a lack of interest in our project, but it turned out that almost across the board, it was that they were incredibly short-staffed and administrative things were just way less of a priority than they would be at a normal company. Anything that’s not a vegetable growing in their soil and/or right in front of them is not a priority.

  16. Mike C.*

    OP1, how do you know that the account is their own, and how do you know that someone else doesn’t have control over it?

    The reason I say this is that this is so incredibly stupid and obvious that I can’t imagine it happening without some sort of context. It just doesn’t make any sense. Maybe I’m looking for zebras instead of horses here, but even the most bitter of employees usually waits until after they’ve worked for someone before complaining about the company.

    Sure, the obvious answer here is to rescind the offer, but make sure you do it to them in a manner in which they’re allowed a chance to respond. This sort of behavior seems so bizarre that you should at least look into it, right?

    1. Gilby*

      I agree Mike.

      Although my post ( as well as others ) does assume it was the person who did it, having a conversation about like I suggested below might answer what you are saying.

      It is rather bizzare but needs to be addressed in any case.

    2. some1*

      While I agree it’s important that the LW make sure her to-be employee is behind the tweet, I really don’t think this situation is all that unbelievable.

      This is an entry-level job, so we very well could be talking about a teenager or college-age adult, and plenty of people that age post things that are incredibly stupid to share with the whole worrld.

      1. H. Vane*

        I agree that this is totally a situation where some post rejection feedback should be given. Actually, I think it should be given in any situation where an offer is pulled, if only to tell the employee ‘You were great in all respects, but we suddenly lost funding.’

    3. Observer*

      One thing to keep in mind – if the twitter account belongs to this person, but is also used by someone else, that is still on the employee. It’s his responsibility to maintain control of his account. If s/he can’t and essentially allows someone to speak for him, s/he is still allowing someone to damage your company. And, you have no idea what ELSE will be said or done in the employee’s name.

  17. Gilby*

    #1
    Regardless of what the new-hire-to -be said, it still calls for recidning the offer.

    People need to learn to keep their Twitter shut on certain matters and opinions. If a person doesn’t have that intellegence to know that, it speaks volumes for their decison making ability and overall character. No job for them if they can’t figure that out.

    Now, personally although I would recind the offer I would love to know what drove that person to do that. Before even recinding the offer I would have a little ( and I do mean just a brief one ) discussion and ask them something to the effect of how they feel about the job? “Do you have any reservations about this job or compnay” or something to that matter.

    I think that person needs to be held to their actions. If they actually have to ANSWER to the action maybe they will think again before they Tweet.

    Not just.. you said bad stuff on Tweeter so I am recinding the offer but, can you please explain why you felt the need to say all this?

    It will most likely to them off guard and make them feel uncomfortable. Who cares ( for the most part ) what they say. Just make them rationalize out why it was OK to say something on Twitter and then, recind the offer. I think it is a good cause and effect.

    Is the person newer to the work force? If so what a great lesson to be learned. Hopefully.

  18. VictoriaHR*

    #1 – I hire a lot of high school and college students and you’d be amazed how often this happens =\ HR gets a notification every time our company name is pinged on the internet. One idiot posted on Twitter, when asked about his new job, that we were a “drug dealing place.” We have definitely rescinded offers based on things like that.

    There have also been times where I’ve gently reminded high school candidates to lock down their Twitter feeds because what I saw there was extremely unsavory. Parents really need to be monitoring high schoolers’ Twitters, IMO.

    1. Jamie*

      Absolutely – and when people are trying to get into retail or food service just to have something a lot of them apply at places they don’t like personally.

      Absolutely rescind the offer since this will be a kindness to them – teach them quickly that there is no amnesty on the internet and not every single thought needs to be expressed publicly.

      I know someone who applied at a fast food place and was willing to take the job if offered just to have something part time, but complained constantly at home about how miserable they would be there because of the disgusting smell. This person would never eat there – but was willing to suck it up for minimum wage. But if he had put even one of his rants on twitter instead of annoying his parents it would be the same thing. Fortunately he got a better offer first so cancelled the second interview…because he would have been unbearable.

      Name withheld to protect the whiny.

  19. Poohbear McGriddles*

    #1 – This could be the opportunity for a teachable moment with the new hire, depending on the content of their tweets. If they were vulgar or clearly disparaging then no dice, but if they merely showed that they weren’t taking the job seriously then it might be worth letting them off with a warning.
    Of course, it would be hard to fault you for letting their next employer benefit from a lesson learned the hard way.

  20. Brett*

    #1 One of those lovely things you learn when dealing with the scummy side of the world, is that people get very creative with scummy things.

    We get a -lot- of reports of people impersonating others on twitter. Since you can chance your username at any time, it is really easy to impersonate someone and cause them problems. And there is not much the police or anyone else can do about it.

    So, if it is at all worth your while, you might want to do some due diligence to make sure the twitter account is not an impersonator.

    1. Vicki*

      You can’t change your user name “at any time”.
      You can only change it to a name that is unused and has been unused for a reasonable period of time.

      Due diligence, yes.
      Mistaken identity, certainly.
      Take “impersonator” with a grain of salt.

      1. Brett*

        You are limited in how you can change it, yes, but you can change it. We get a lot of people very distressed by social media impersonators who want to know what the police can do about it, so it seems to be a fairly common occurrence.
        (though much more common on facebook than twitter)

  21. JJ*

    #2- I learned the hard way about referring a former colleague to the place I work at now – shortly after I started, she became friends with a person that was already there, they turned against me, and it’s been 9 long years of hell. I will NEVER recommend anyone for a job where I work ever again. I never thought in a million years that this person would do this to me, and 9 years later- she’s tried to get me fired several times, and is a complete sociopath. Of course, management has coddled her because she has them thinking that I’m the one harassing her. I feel regret every day for referring her to my company.

    1. Anonymous*

      Don’t kick yourself too hard. She could’ve ended up there even without your help. I hope you find a new job soon!

    2. Ruffingit*

      This is not the norm though. It’s really not. This kind of crazy sociopathic behavior is not about you, it’s about her. She would have done this to someone wherever she was working, most likely. I really hope you’re able to get out of there soon though because regardless of this behavior being a reflection of her and not you, it is still something you have to deal with and it sucks. My sympathies.

    3. MR*

      Why did you tolerate that for nine years? Hopefully you are out of that environment and if not, then what are you waiting for?

  22. Anonymous*

    #2: I’m confused by all the external recruiters. Can’t OP just pass the candidate’s info along to the company’s own HR contact? You’d be saving the company the recruiter fees too.

  23. nyxalinth*

    There needs to be a Darwin type Award for eliminating one’s self from a [perfectly good job with one’s own stupidity!

    Seriously, though. Treat your job like Fight Club :D

  24. Helena Troi*

    My agency had something similar happen to #1. However, in that case, the person doing the badmouthing had been fired from their part time position for constantly showing up late (20-40 minutes late). Unfortunately, their Facebook posts also showed that on those late mornings, they’d been out until 2-3am.

    After being fired, they continued to post nasty things about the agency… then applied for a full-time position. Then after the interview, made several more negative posts.

    SPOILER: They didn’t get the job.

      1. Helena Troi*

        It was kind of a mess; from what I understand, the agency wanted to avoid giving them the ammo to claim unfair hiring practices or something else equally dire-sounding (but without foundation).

        Unfortunately for the former employee, they continued their very visible Facebook complaining; since this is a very small area, they may be doing themselves out of a new job.

  25. ClaireS*

    I work in Ag (although not on a farm) and I can confirm that this is very common. Even at the best run farms, HR things can be a challenge. It’s not a traditional business structure and it’s best to be comfortable with some fluidity with HR type activities. Most farmers have to wear so many hats- agronomist, marketer, accountant, mechanic, veterinarian, etc- that HR can get pushed to the back burner.

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