This is not the wild, wild west! We are living in the age of innovation and sure, along with that comes more availability of personal information and the notion of mixing our personal and professional lives. It has been quite prevalent in recent news that more and more employers are asking for candidate and potential employee’s social media usernames and passwords. Well, if you ask me you won’t get it!
Have we forgotten about basic personal freedoms? This is Hiring Meets the Wild, Wild West! It’s that thing we call TMI.
I do realize that with certain levels of government agencies and security clearance levels, this information is critical and may be seriously considered before hiring someone to protect our country, homeland security or critical data. I get that, but I am speaking of those that are interviewing in the traditional corporate or blue-collar world.
If you can’t tell, I have a strong opinion on this and it’s simple, “Just Say No!” This is the only way that these “corporate thugs” who are asking for this information will get it under control. I have not interviewed in some time, so I have not been personally asked for this information. However if and when someone does ask me, I am ready to respond with a professional and eloquent version of NO! Not because I have racy pictures, foul language or anything related to illegal substances in my Facebook profile, I don’t! It’s because it is my personal information and I choose who I want to share it with.
Bottom line: Turn the table! If you had to reapply for your position and were asked for your social networking user information and passwords, would you think it’s reasonable?
If you actually find something that impacts your hiring decision, can you defend your decision in court?
Last but not least, it’s a good idea to update those internal interview training manuals to include a social media/networking section.
For candidates looking for more information on how to approach these situations, here’s a link to a great post that was recently featured on Mashable – What to do when a Potential Employer Asks for Your Facebook Password