NOT OKAY: My Thoughts on Employers Asking Job Seekers for Facebook Password

Photo on 3-20-12 at 4_10 PM

This is my AREYOUKIDDINGME?! face.
Each morning when I get into work, I peruse my RSS feeds for the latest in social and digital media news. I figure that as the Director of Marketing for a digital publication, I should probably be “in the know.” Right?

Well I was, to put it lightly, appalled, when I read an article this morning released by the AP about the latest practice gaining popularity by employers with prospective employees.

You can read the article in it’s entirety by clicking here, but in summary, the article states that many employers, when interviewing potential employees, are asking candidates for their Facebook login information. Yes, usernames and passwords. For candidate’s Facebook accounts.

I will never, ever think that this practice is okay.

Sure, looking at a candidate’s social networks is to be expected these days.

Public Twitter feeds, blogs, Facebook pages, whathaveyou. But never, in a million years, would I think that “having a look around” within someone’s personal account would be okay.

That is the digital version of asking someone for a key to their home so they could peruse personal files and underwear drawers at their leisure. Awkward. Disgusting. Just plain weird.

Even if you have nothing to hide, it’s just a blatant invasion of someone’s personal privacy.

You wouldn’t ask for a potential employee’s email login information. So, why Facebook? Why would this practice even come into play? Is it even LEGAL?

The answer is: I have no idea. Honestly.

I can only surmise that an employer somehow thinks that by logging in to the backend of someone’s social network that they’ll gain some sort of evidence for or against the candidate.

My argument against that is – if you can’t gain evidence for or against the candidate in a professional interview, then you shouldn’t be hiring them in the first place. Or be interviewing anyone, for that matter. You shouldn’t be in business, because you clearly are unskilled in the way of communication and human interaction.

I have been in an employer interviewing potential employee situation many times in my previous jobs and admittedly, I wasn’t the BEST interviewer. However, I am excellent at reading people, learning personalities, and making someone feel like they are the most important person in the room. And with those skills, I was able to quickly learn whether or not the person would be a fit for the position or not.

Typically, I knew if I was going to hire someone within the first five minutes of the interview.  And I didn’t need to check their Facebook chats from the inside to make that decision.

Here’s hoping this practice quickly falls off the popularity bandwagon.

What do you think? Am I full of it? Do you think this is okay? What do you think the alternative is? Comment below with your thoughts.