You’ve Been Warned: Prepare to Hand Over Your Facebook Password

Social media has blurred the line between personal and professional. Ask yourself: Are you ready to willingly turn over your username and password?

(Image: Thinkstock)

Who can forget George Orwell’s classic book 1984, where the British writer introduces the fictional character Big Brother? Orwell’s vision of a society where technology tracks every person’s movements has come to fruition.

We had no idea we would see the day when employers would request private information found on an applicant’s social media profile. It isn’t unusual nowadays for employers to review a perspective candidate’s digital footprint during the hiring process. However, some employers are taking it one step further; demanding candidates provide their Facebook login information. Do employers have the right to do so, or are they overstepping an applicant’s boundaries?

Well, gone are the days when what you did in your own time (then let your Facebook friends know via your status, “tweeps” know on Twitter and Foursquare enthusiasts know where you frequent—thanks to your check-ins) was for your personal enjoyment. Social media has erased the border between your personal and professional life, so take note of it because it can be the difference between landing a job and remaining unemployed.

Doing “Due Diligence”

Part of an employer’s job is to do his or her due diligence, which would confirm that he/she is selecting the right candidate for the job.  According to Jobvite, 89% of recruiters enlist through social networks, proving that your online presence is critical to your overall career success.  Whether your social network profile is searchable or not, recruiters are scouring the Internet to find any trace of your digital presence. This process is done to see whether or not an applicant’s social media persona matches up with the character displayed on paper; hence why employers are flipping through an applicant’s photos, friends, status updates and check-ins.

Employers’ New Recruitment Tactics May Be Legal

To protect themselves, more and more people are setting their Facebook privacy settings to private to keep employers out of their profile.

Now, wait a minute, it appears that employers could be within their rights to ask a prospective employee for the kind of personal information found on his/her’s social media profile.  Here are two examples:

  • Employers could ask for your password to login into your Facebook account and search your profile with or without you present.
  • Employers can ask you to add them as a friend or have you ‘Like’ their Facebook Fan page so they can access your status updates and other available information.

Would you give a prospective employer your Facebook login information? How would you respond? Let us know in our comment section.

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  • Zenzile

    well…seeing as how FB terms of use specifically state you can not share your password, they could legally remove your profile if you give your password to ANYONE, including your employer. Also, FB has become much like myspace in that people have alternate names on FB that are not their legal/birth names, which would/could create distance between their professional/personal lives. Finally…this MAY be the match that lights up the social networking migration to Google Plus!

  • Wilma McLean

    No I would not. Unless I have the job then they can look at my page but not get my password. That is going to far. If they have your password then they can post something on your page like you did it.

  • Bartholomew J Worthington III

    The answer is no, absolutely not. And not because I have anything to hide. Its just that its none of my employer’s business. If I choose to make some things private, and others public, and to leave my employer on the outside looking in, it is my choice.

    The reality is, as soon as an employer asks for one’s FB password, that should be the end the interview. Of course, a simple way around that is to create an alternate persona/account to bare your soul to the world.

    I have said it before, and I’ll say it again,” I distrust Big Business more than I distrust Big Government.”

  • C. Williams

    Absolutely NOT!!! Before I’d allow a prospective employer to invade my privacy, they could their job and SHOVE IT!!! PERIOD!!!

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