Employers Asking Prospective Employees For Facebook Passwords
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

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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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Hajj Flemings

Author: Hajj Flemings is a weekly technology columnist for BlackEnterprise.com, founder of Brand Camp University, and the author of the book Brand YU Life. As a speaker and brand strategist, he works with some of the largest brands, covering the topics of branding and digital technology. Check back each Wednesday for his next column. Until then, continue the conversation on Hajj’s BE Insider page at beinsider.ning.com/HajjEFlemings.


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