Candidate A is in the middle of a third-round job interview. She’s stoked. She’s successfully solidified a rapport with Potential Employer B. She’s wowed them with her qualifications. She’s sure they agree that she’s the right person for the job.
“We’ll be making our final decision in the next week or so,” Potential Employer B says to Candidate A. “Before we go forward, we’ll need your Facebook login and password to complete your employment application.”
You need my what? Candidate A thinks to herself.
Companies are slick about fishing for salary history so that they can base what they’re willing to pay the candidate solely on what the previous employer shelled out. Now these companies are expecting a candidate to hand over her Facebook login and password, hoping that this glimpse into her private life can give them some idea of the type of employee she’ll be.
Whether or not there’s stuff on our Facebook pages that we’d like to hide from certain people, we all know this practice is pretty rancid.
Facebook even released a statement stressing that when an employer asks for a candidate’s login and password, that employer is violating Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Although they haven’t taken any legal action, the social networking site warned that they have every right to do so. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are urging the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate whether this request violates federal law.
Facebook’s warnings and Sens. Schumer and Blumenthal’s letters won’t instantaneously stop Slick Willie employers from asking for logins and passwords. So what can you do if you’re faced with the question but don’t feel comfortable about offering up the information?
Offer to provide the potential employer any additional information they need.
Ask the interviewer what it is they hope to find out from logging into your Facebook account? Try to get them to detail what information they’re looking for so that you can address their concerns right then and there in the interview, face-to-face.
Suggest they Google you.
It’s possible to get a good picture of who a person is and what they’ve been up to for the past few decades of their lives just by performing a Google search. Encourage the interviewer to Google you. Hell, pull out your smart phone and encourage them to do it right in front of you. That way you can address any questionable Google hits that may be tied to you or your namesake(s).
Offer your MySpace login/password instead.
Hand this over willingly. With a quickness. There’ll be nothing to see. And if there is, just say you’ve totally evolved since 2006.
Ask for a warrant.
The police just can’t barge in and search your home without a warrant. Why should an employer have free reign over your Facebook account? Unless you’re applying for a position with the CIA or any other federal agency that requires a top secret security clearance, there’s really no need to hand over any logins or passwords. And chances are if you’re applying for this type of position, the employer probably has a way of obtaining this information with or without your permission.
Just say, “No.”
If the potential employer makes you feel uncomfortable, and they’re turning you off with their invasive requests, just say, “No.” Tell them that the job and the employer just isn’t a good fit and get the hell out of there. No matter how tight the job market is, you are interviewing the employer just as much as they are interviewing you.
Today employers are requesting credit checks and Facebook login information. Tomorrow, who knows? They may just want the login and passwords to your online banking accounts. Slick Willies will continue to push the envelope. When will we start to push back?