Would you hand over your Facebook username and password to a complete stranger? What about if you had to do so to feed your family?
This is the dilemma that today’s job seekers are facing. Employers are asking applicants for their login credentials for Facebook in order to perform a more thorough character check of the applicant. In some instances, the applicant has to log into their accounts for the interviewer to browse during the interview. In others, the applicant has to tell the interviewer their password for the interviewer to use later.
Every smart job seeker will set their Facebook settings to “private”. It’s common knowledge that a prospective employer will look at a candidate’s profile to ensure that there aren’t any visible “red flags.” Hiding sensitive information from the public’s view is a common tactic for job seekers. The practice of logging in as the applicant, however, is unfair to job seekers, who expect that information set to private will only be viewed by friends and other authorized people.
In my opinion, this practice of asking for Facebook usernames and passwords invades an applicant’s right to privacy and is akin to opening someone’s mail or asking for the keys to their house. It seems to violate a citizen’s right to protection from unlawful search and seizure. Also, an employer is opening themselves up to a discrimination lawsuit by rifling through an applicant’s online data. They can get information on an applicant’s age, marital status, sexual orientation, or disability, which employers legally cannot discriminate against.
I haven’t been to an interview in quite some time and haven’t had to deal with this personally, and I wonder how I would react to being asked for my Facebook password. I would love to say that I would decline, but I do remember how desperate a job search can be. Many job seekers are motivated by fear of rejection when they decide to hand over their passwords to a stranger.
What do you think? Would you let a potential employer look at your private Facebook information?