“Hand over your Facebook and Twitter passwords.”
That’s what some eager interviewees are being told during the process of applying for a job – and what has media buzzing about privacy and employment issues.
The employers asking for access to applicants’ Facebook accounts – among other social accounts – are primarily in the government, education and law enforcement sectors. But the basic rules of applicant screening should apply to employers in all industries.
Would we ask for Facebook passwords? Absolutely not. And not for any other passwords. And we would never request permission to log into anyone's personal computer.
An applicant’s Facebook profile could reveal the answers to personal questions that, as an employer, I am not allowed to ask: age, marital status, sexual orientation, political leaning and religious affiliation.
But I would suggest that job seekers be aware that I look at their public web persona. I may search for them on Facebook, check their tweets, review their LinkedIn profile.
What am I looking for?
An understanding of the difference between “public/professional” and “private/personal.”
We want employees who are engaged and socially-savvy in the work environment, and that – for Catalogs.com as an internet company – is primarily on the web.
In other words, if you drank a gallon of green beer on St. Patty's Saturday, share your success with your friends. Not with your potential business associates.
Employers, are you really stalking your prospective employees' Facebook pages?