Facebook Logins Required at Interviews? The Injustice of it All!

There is an article from Mashable found here about several employers that required interviewees to hand over their Facebook accounts for inspection. These employers have been state governments  as well  as a number of college sports teams that require players and potential employees to hand over their username and password. To me this is a huge privacy issue and I believe that these employers have absolutely no right to ask for that information. There are many stories out in the news about dumb college kids who have pictures of them doing keg stands, passed out wrapped around the toilet, or so totally trashed that they lost the ability to walk alone. These kids get caught by employers, either current or potential, and then suddenly get in very deep du-du. But those situations are truly the fault of those people who have taken no effort to keep their private life just that, private.

A recent example, while not in the news, happened when I was driving by the U of M campus.  A cop car was next to me at a light and a group of three or four girls were in the back. To my surprise they were taking photos of themselves… even if they were on some sort of ride along (which I highly doubt) if I were an employer and I saw pictures like that their resumes would no longer be on my desk; They’d be in the trash. While there are many people who pay no attention to their privacy in the social media world there are just as many… I hope… that do care about it.  These people are the ones who have been hurt by this trend in the hiring process.

I have gone through the majority of my posts from when I first signed up for Facebook back in 2006 and nothing stuck out to me as bad news. But it’s not necessarily all about whether or not your posts are bad news… but based on the fact that it is your private information (if you have your settings on private) that should be seen by those people you designate to see it i.e. friends or family. A Washington DC Lawyer by the name of Bradley Sheer was quoted in the article several times but this line stuck out to me, “Maybe it’s OK if you live in a totalitarian regime, but we still have a Constitution to protect us. It’s not a far leap from reading people’s Facebook posts to reading their email.” I love his point because it so clearly illustrates my point, privacy is our right and this breaches that.

This is not meant to be a “where should we draw the line” argument but more about where I believe the line is already set in stone. I think it is right for employers to search social media sites and see what their applicants are up to in their social life and more often than not they will find very good things, but I do believe that if you set parts of your page to private it should remain that way. Let me put it this way; would you give the key to your house to an employer so they could rifle through your things? If you answered “yes” to that please tell me why because you’ve got some explaining to do.

What are your opinions on this, should employers be allowed to require this kind of information in the hiring process?

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3 Comments

  1. JS

     /  March 10, 2012

    I guess you also have to be careful just in case the other candidate says they will and you say they wont. Tricky Tricky!

    Reply
  2. Bigfoot

     /  March 10, 2012

    Well they want to know who they are hiring. Just about anyone can clean up and look good for an hour interview. If you got some stuff your not so proud of that is on your facebook take it down. I don’t think that its a big deal. Those who are stressed about it probably think they have something to hide.

    Reply
  3. I agree with the fact that they want to know who they are hiring and I can see why logically college sports teams are trying to protect the overall image of the team but it still seems like an invasion of privacy. Especially due to the fact they they are looking for your username and password and will be able to read private messages.

    Good point, what if you say no and don’t give them that information while someone else says yes… does that mean you have something to hide?

    Reply

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