Recruiter unleashes explosive Twitter rant

by Stephanie Zillman27 Mar 2013

An Australian recruiter using the twitter handle @exec_hunter this week unleashed a bizarre rant on radio host, writer and comedian Wendy Harmer.

Joe Waddington, managing partner of headhunting company Chamberlain Executive, tweeted insulting comments to Harmer, telling the radio personality that “there's a thing called plastic surgery”. Using the twitter handle that actually links to his company website, Waddington later deleted the tweets – but not before Harmer became aware of the comments.

The Brisbane-based executive search manager told News Limited that he is now ashamed to have made the comments, and that he had been drunk at the time. Harmer said she had been "astonished more than anything", commenting further, “it's remarkable. How can you expect to be well regarded professionally and carry on like that?”

The incident is a pertinent example of how immeasurable brand damage can be inflicted upon individuals and companies when social media is used with abandon.

Deloitte’s Aftershock: Adjusting to the new world of risk management report recognised social media’s standing as the fourth largest source of risk over the next three years, suggesting that the interconnected world of social media is one to which organisations must adjust. Online transactions are instantaneous, public and far more widespread than the sender often plans, leaving organisations open to potential breaches of confidentiality, financial disclosures and subject to rumours that can spread at an alarming rate. “Everybody is walking around with a smartphone, and things can be captured and digitised instantaneously. Once digitised, social media can spread information like wildfire,” Rick Kulevich, senior director ethics and compli­ance at CDW said in the report.

The absolute first port of call for HR is to have a constantly evolving social media policy. “Having a social media policy is not only a must, but until expectations of how to use it become commonly understood, employers should very regularly review their policy until the crinkles are ironed out,” Ellen Flint from Benetas previously wrote in HC.

Top tips for your Twitter conduct
 

  • The interactive nature of Twitter is one reason for its popularity as a social media platform, but it’s also easy to forget that your comments are public unless you’ve changed the privacy settings – if you only want to share content with certain friends or family members, you should change your profiled settings.

  • What’s more, while many people have headshots as their display picture, there is of course no requirement to do so.

Related stories

Social media and personal branding polarises HR
Social media screening: tread carefully rather than not at all?
Five reasons not to block Facebook at work
Spotlight on social media policy Part I
Facebook firings part II: check your social media policies before it’s too late

COMMENTS

  • by Leanne Faraday-Brash 27/03/2013 5:49:11 PM

    No surprise that explosive, rude and unprofessional behaviour using a public and uncontrollable forum as Twitter should constitute a risk management issue for business. The bigger issues for me are the importance of emotional intelligence which might mean such comments are not made in the first place and the seedy underbelly of recruiting that can mean omnipotent recruiting consultants display obnoxious, arrogant even appalling behaviour ... because they can.
    Yes we acknowledge their power as gatekeepers but how they choose to use that power should determine whether or not they get to build a great business or deserve to go broke.
    I still remember a client telling me when the economy was bad like this a few years ago he went to see a recruiter who checked his watch and then informed my intelligent, educated client he had two minutes exactly in which to impress the recruiter.
    Aussies may forgive a lot of drunk behaviour because we get far too much practice but malicious and narcissistic behaviour when someone is drunk is unlikely to be vastly different (even if it happens behind closed doors)when sober.
    Decent professionals respect their candidates in good times and bad, and not just because they know the candidate of today is the potential client of tomorrow.

  • by Leanne Faraday-Brash 27/03/2013 5:57:29 PM

    No surprise that explosive, rude and unprofessional behaviour using a public and uncontrollable forum as Twitter should constitute a risk management issue. The bigger issues for me are the importance of emotional intelligence which might mean such comments are not made in the first place and the seedy underbelly of recruiting that can mean omnipotent recruiting consultants display obnoxious, arrogant even appalling behaviour ... because they can.
    Yes we acknowledge their power as gatekeepers but how they choose to use that power should determine whether or not they get to build a great business or deserve to go broke.
    I still remember a client telling me when the economy was bad like this a few years ago he went to see a recruiter who checked his watch and then informed my intelligent, educated client he had two minutes exactly in which to impress the recruiter.
    Aussies may forgive a lot of drunk behaviour because we get far too much practice but malicious and narcissistic behaviour when someone is drunk is unlikely to be vastly different (albeit it happens behind closed doors) when sober.
    Decent professionals respect their candidates in good times and bad, and not just because they know the candidate of today is the potential client of tomorrow.

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