A company in Texas posted an image of a job applicant wearing a swimsuit as an example of how not to apply for a job.
Marketing company Kickass Masterminds posted an Instagram slide – since removed – of applicant Emily Clow, along with advice on professionalism.
“Do not share your social media with a potential employer if this is the kind of content on it,” it said.
The company has since made its own accounts private after receiving “death threats and harassing messages”.
Ms Clow applied for a marketing role with the firm as “it was a company founded by women, seemed to support women in business and worked with start-ups”.
But she was shocked by the public shaming.
The company’s post went on: “I am looking for a professional marketer – not a bikini model.
“Go on with your bad self and do whatever in private. But this is not doing you any favors in finding a professional job.”
Ms Clow said the application form requested an Instagram and/or Facebook handle.
The company then suggested she should follow its Instagram account, and it was at that point she made the discovery.
“I went through their company story [on Instagram] and saw they had posted my picture.
“I honestly was taken aback. I wasn’t sure how to react and it took me a while to process what had happened.”
Ms Clow told the BBC: “I decided to reach out to the company first and told them how I had archived the photo and appreciated their advice.
“I sent a follow-up email shortly after with my resume, cover letter and saying how I hope to hear from them soon.
“I asked at the bottom of the email to please take down the story and thanked them for understanding.”
Kickass Mastermind chief executive Sara Christensen said the photo was taken down as soon as Ms Clow requested it to do so.
But Ms Clow said she had to ask repeatedly for the post to be removed and was eventually blocked.
“That is when I took my situation to my personal story and Twitter.
Opinion was divided after Ms Clow posted her tweet.
One user said there was nothing wrong with what Ms Clow was wearing as it was “appropriate clothing” for the environment she was in.
But another pointed out it was common practice for employers to view job applicants’ social media profiles to determine suitability for roles.
One Twitter user thought there was fault on both sides.
Ms Christensen said Ms Clow “was not disqualified because of her social media profile”.
“In fact, she was not disqualified at all,” she told the BBC. “There was no communication to her saying she was disqualified. I have an email communication from her still expressing interest in the position after the post.”
The company’s actions prompted a backlash on social media, with some people pointing to images from the company’s own social accounts that showed photos of staff in swimsuits and clothing with a swear word on it.
The company’s website and social accounts have now been deleted or set to private.
Ms Christensen explained: “We have taken down our social accounts and website because of numerous death threats and thousands of harassing messages.”
Ms Clow said she had since received offers of “interviews and opportunities” from elsewhere.