Date: February 8th, 2010 3:02 PM
can't imagine the advice she gives...
A college-prep company, which markets to parents of young people, is red-faced following the revelation that they employed a prominent--and explicit--online sex-blogger for nearly a year.
MyCollegeOptions, based in Lee’s Summit MO and Newton MA, admit they failed to check the background of Lena Chen, before hiring her as a “social media manager” for their Massachusetts office in 2008.
“That’s embarrassing,” confessed a company representative who requested anonymity. “Obviously, we dropped the ball.”
That’s putting it mildly. Had MyCollegeOptions even googled Lena Chen before hiring her, they would have found a host of troubling red flags:
*They would have found Chen's sex blog, sexandtheivy.com , which includes a number of sexually explicit posts.
*They would have found Chen’s nude photos.
*They would have found Chen’s own accounts of her illegal and unethical exploits—including drug use, fake IDs and her seduction of a college teacher.
*They would have found that Lena Chen had been suspended from her university, on account of her bottom-scraping grades.
These are hardly the attributes a college-prep company would wish to be associated with.
“If we’d known all that, we’d never have hired her,” confessed the company rep, who hastened to add that Chen never “directly” worked with young people subscribing to their college prep services.
But the damage to the company brand is done.“If they [MyCollegeOptions] hired a porn blogger,” clucked one indignant parent upon learning of the scandal, “who knows who else is on their rolls? Sex offenders, maybe?”
Unwittingly, MyCollegeOptions has illustrated a crucial lesson for our wired age: it’s overwhelmingly important to check a job applicant’s online persona before hiring them.
While most applicants won’t be as pathologically exhibitionistic as Chen was, a careful online search can still reveal an applicant’s unsavory tendencies or—-as in the Lena Chen case—-pornographic and illegal behavior.
Companies--especially those marketing to parents—-need to check employees’ online behavior, simply as a matter of defensive marketing: because if a company refuses to do their own google legwork, they can rest assured their competitors certainly will, sometimes with disastrous results.