AUSTIN (NBC News) — A Texas woman said she was shamed online by a potential employer who took a photo of her in a bikini from her Instagram account and shared it on the company’s page while warning other applicants that it was unprofessional.
Emily Clow, who according to her Twitter account lives in Austin, said she applied for a marketing coordinator position at a business startup, Kickass Masterminds.
Clow told NBC News in a phone interview Wednesday that shortly after applying, a company representative reached out to her and said the firm wanted to move ahead with the application process and recommended that she follow them on Instagram. Hoping to improve her chances of landing the position, she did.
But as she was scrolling through the company’s Instagram story, Clow said she saw a photo of herself in a red two-piece bathing suit with a warning message to potential applicants.
“PSA (because I know some of you applicants are looking at this) 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,” it read.
Another message on the photo 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.”
Clow said the company had swiped the photo from her personal Instagram account, and when she saw it she was shocked.
“You don’t expect a potential employer to do something like this,” she told NBC. “To have someone that seems really intrigued and wants to meet with you, only to see this is shocking.”
Clow said she asked Kickass Masterminds multiple times to remove her photo and was blocked from contacting them after her third request. She told NBC that she believes the photo was eventually taken down. Posts on Instagram Stories automatically disappear after 24 hours.
In a Twitter post, Clow said she felt that the company objectified her.
“I’m still baffled that the company handled it in such a manner,” she posted.
Clow told NBC that she decided to share what happened to spark dialogue about employers who shame employees or potential hires.
“What I want to be is transparent,” she said. “To have all these people be so supportive and share their stories is amazing.”
Kickass Masterminds describes itself as a consulting firm that specializes in “rigorously curated and professionally facilitated structured mastermind groups.”
Since Clow’s post has gone viral, the company’s website and social media pages appear to have been taken down.
The company’s CEO did not return a Facebook message from NBC seeking comment.