As one is going to attend a job interview, it’s assumed the rudimentary questions will be asked: work history, what you liked about your work, and other past character questions that may be a deciding factor in hiring your services. With recent media buzz, it appears certain employers find that asking for your Facebook or other social media passwords is also part of the hiring process, making potential applicants feel inadequate or nervous. What is the purpose of this line of questioning, and should potential hirees give this private piece of information to an employer? Employers and potential applicants stand firmly in their corners as this issue is address and, in certain states, awaits legislation.
Employers Can See Work Ethic
One reason employers want this bit of information would be to see what habits are formed throughout the work days in the applicant’s past. If one is excessively Tweeting, posting on their Walls or checking their Linked In profiles during hours which the company operates, it could raise some concern and deter the employer from making a hiring decision. This is an excellent means to keep dishonest employees from wasting man-hours while on the clock. However, the ideology behind wanting the passwords to prove this bears privacy concerns. This is why many potential employees are chomping at the bit when being asked to give up this secure information. However, if an employer truly wished to see activity on social networks, a few other options exist, such as:
- Asking a potential employee to friend the HR personnel
- Following @company, or vice versa
- Joining party’s LinkedIn network
- Sign agreement not to actively engage friends during work hours
This would be an excellent way for employers to get the insight they need, protect their company interests and learn more about their potential applicant. All of the above are reversible if hiring is not an option.
Potential Employees Feel Violated
Short of asking you for your car keys or banking information, this vital personal security breach makes employees feel violated, and gives off the vibe that employers wanting to know one’s personal life should have no bearing on making a hiring decision; there are other means to check on an employee’s work ethic – for example, speak with an individual’s past employer about how they performed on the clock, and so forth. Or, if an employer wishes to know social media activity during the day, offer to log yourself in from a mobile device and let him browse through your wall that way. Simply giving up private information of this magnitude is simply wrong.
Social Privacy Faces Legislation
With this issues causing fear in many applicants, two particular states – Maryland and Illinois – currently are working on passing a standard preventing public entities from asking for social media passwords, a move that could end this issue before getting too far out of hand. Although exact position of these Bills are unknown, it would make sense to pass this and proffer other ways for employers to articulate Facebook and Twitter habits. American Civil Liberties Union has also been proactive against this issue and continues to push other states to ban this activity out of privacy concerns.