These days, you have to expect that if you’re applying for a job that your employer might take a look at your Facebook page to make sure you’re not a complete idiot that’s going to embarrass the company. But more job seekers are finding that they’re being asked for their Facebook password as well, so the prospective employer can see your private profile.
When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password.
Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn’t see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information.
Bassett refused and withdrew his application, saying he didn’t want to work for a company that would seek such personal information. But as the job market steadily improves, other job candidates are confronting the same question from prospective employers, and some of them cannot afford to say no.
In their efforts to vet applicants, some companies and government agencies are going beyond merely glancing at a person’s social networking profiles and instead asking to log in as the user to have a look around.
“It’s akin to requiring someone’s house keys,’’ said Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and former federal prosecutor who calls it “an egregious privacy violation.’’
Questions have been raised about the legality of the practice, which is also the focus of proposed legislation in Illinois and Maryland that would forbid public agencies from asking for access to social networks.
Since the rise of social networking, it has become common for managers to review publically available Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and other sites to learn more about job candidates. But many users, especially on Facebook, have their profiles set to private, making them available only to selected people or certain networks.
Companies that don’t ask for passwords have taken other steps — such as asking applicants to friend human resource managers or to log in to a company computer during an interview. Once employed, some workers have been required to sign non-disparagement agreements that ban them from talking negatively about an employer on social media.
I don’t see how companies see this as even remotely cool. It is like asking for your house keys. You come to a job interview, you’re dressed well, you speak well… what business is it of theirs what your bedroom and bathroom look like? If you’ve marked certain things as private on Facebook, they’re private, not part of your public persona and it’s none of an employer’s business.
Read more here