HR Manager Suggests “Avoiding Friends Who Push You to Drink”
- Name: Sarah G
- Age: 27
- Profession: Corporate Human Resources Manager
- Location: Chicago, IL
How are you exposed to binge-drinking in your job?
Since my job is to hire people, one of the things we always do when we are considering an applicant for employment is that we’ll check his or her social media sites. As you’re probably aware, most social media sites can be easily accessed by the public, and, when we visit the social media sites of an applicant, we’re looking for red flags. We’re looking to see if there’s anything we should be concerned about in hiring this individual. If his or her social media sites show a lot of party photos in which they are obviously drunk or drinking heavily, that is something that would be a negative when comparing them against other prospective candidates. Or maybe it’s not a photo, but references or comments about heavy drinking or heavy partying on the social media page. We’re looking for things which might separate a potential employee from other candidates. Although my company doesn’t prohibit social drinking (after hours, of course), we’ll be concerned if an applicant’s social media sites show a lot of drinking or partying activity. And also, we might question the applicant’s judgment if he or she opts to advertise these things on social media. He or she should know that this might affect his or her ability to get hired.
Based on your experience, what are the risks associated with binge-drinking?
Well, again speaking as a human resources manager, I’m aware of young men and women who have gone from binge-drinking to habitual alcohol abuse or addiction. It’s not all that unusual for someone who is a weekend binge-drinker to transition into a habitual drinker or alcohol abuser.
Can you provide 1-2 specific examples of situations you’ve been in that highlight these risks?
About a month ago, we were interviewing a recent college graduate for a marketing position. His resume, his grade point average, and the way he presented himself in the interview made him the leading candidate for the position. Eleven people had applied for the position. Three of those 11 didn’t have the qualifications we were looking for, so we eliminated them from consideration without even a preliminary interview. But of the remaining eight applicants and after two rounds of interviews, the man was the leading candidate. Then, as a routine procedure, we did a background check and a public domain check. There were no red flags on his background check, but when I visited his social media sites, I noticed that there were several photos in which our applicant was drinking alcohol. In fact, in some of those photos, he looked as if he’d had been drinking heavily. This concerned me a bit and I showed the social photos to the Director of Marketing, the person in charge of hiring. Upon seeing the photos, he had the same concerns I had. As a result, we decided not to offer him the position and we moved on to our #2 candidate, whose social media sites checked out and contained no references to heavy-drinking or partying.
What drinking-related advice would you offer high school or college students?
Well, as a human resources manager, I would caution young adults to please remember that when you post something on the internet, it’s on there for good and you’re not going to be able to remove it. So, if you post something on the internet that you’re not proud of, it’s possible that it will come back to haunt you later, even to the point of keeping you from getting a job that you’re really interested in. And, as someone who is not too far removed from college, I can give a couple of additional tips based on my experience. First, don’t ever drink to relieve stress. Just about all of us have stress in our lives and instead of trying to numb or relieve that stress by drinking, I’d recommend finding other ways to relieve it. I use yoga to relieve my stress. I have friends who go running to relieve their stress. Find hobbies, interests and activities other than drinking to help you relieve stress in your life. My second tip would be to avoid people who push you to drink. If a friend is always encouraging you to drink or get drunk, you may want to find another friend.