Company Shares Job Applicant's Instagram Bikini Pic As A 'PSA'

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
Courtesy of Emily Clow and Kickass Masterminds/Instagram

They shared her bikini photo as a “PSA” for other applicants

Applying for jobs in the digital age is a whole other experience than before the days of everyone having an online presence. Companies often request an applicant’s social media handles so they can peruse their accounts for anything they may find questionable. This is somewhat understandable in certain industries, but one company took the idea way too far when they plucked an image from an applicant’s Instagram account and blasted it on their own account — along with a horrifying and shamey message.

Emily Clow, a 24-year-old from Austin, Texas, recently applied for a marketing coordinator internship with the company Kickass Masterminds. After filling out the online application, she was asked to follow the company’s Instagram account “for an advantage over other applicants.” In doing so, she happened upon a photo of herself in a bathing suit that she had shared on her own account along with a message:

Emily Clow

“PSA (because I know some of you applicants are looking at this),” they wrote over her photo. “Do not share your social media with a potential employer if this is the kind of content on it. I am looking for a professional marketer–not a bikini model.” The other quote read, “Go on with your bad self and do whatever in private. But this is not doing you any favors in finding a professional job.”

Are you feeling full of rage yet? This is completely out-of-bounds.

The kicker? The company was founded by and primarily run by women and claims to be, “hell-bent on helping entrepreneurs grow businesses faster than they could on their own.” Women. Doing this to another woman.

Infuriated, Clow sent her photo from the company’s Story, complete with the terrible quotes over it, to the Twitter account SheRatesDogs. They publish user submissions including unsolicited advances, threats, and insults that women are the targets of on social media. “This girl applied for an internship at a company, and they put up this screenshot of her in a bikini on their company Instagram, publicly telling everybody they wouldn’t hire her because of this photo,” they wrote.

After Clow’s photo on the account went viral, Kickass Masterminds closed down their website and social media accounts. Kickass Masterminds CEO Sara Christensen told Yahoo! In The Know that they were forced to do so after receiving death threats and harassment. In an email to In The Know, Christensen says “There was no communication to her saying she was disqualified. I have an email communication from her yesterday still expressing interest in the position after the post.”

Clow claims she went public with what Kickass Masterminds did to her after they blocked her — yes, BLOCKED her — for asking to have her photo taken down. Christensen claims they did remove the photo after Clow resent her resume along with a request that they do so. “I didn’t tag the company (publicly on Instagram) until after they had blocked me,” Clow tells In The Know. “I am not sure if they took it down immediately.”

She also feels their use of the phrase “best of luck in your job search,” which was part of their reply to one of her requests to remove the photo, meant that they were dismissing her candidacy for the position. “I asked them to take the story down three times, and after, they had implied that I was, in fact, disqualified,” she said.

“Their actions implied to me that a bikini pic did come into factor when reviewing my application,” Clow explains. “I would never have expected that they would use my application as an attempt to ‘educate’ others about how not to apply for a job.”

Luckily, after her photo went viral, Clow was on the receiving end of plenty of support.

Clow tells Scary Mommy that despite this experience, she’s not going to alter her pic-posting behavior going forward. “I don’t plan on changing the way I post social media for future jobs,” she says. She also says the company has yet to contact her after she posted about what they did with her photo.

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