With the job as competitive as ever, it is no surprise that companies are going through great lengths to screen job applicants. Before I landed my current job, I went on an interview at a magazine where the HR person told me she had received over 700 resumes in response to the job posting.
It is a given that possible employers are looking a little closer and digging a bit deeper to find the right candidate. But how far is too far?
While riding in the elevator at work, I saw a news story on the tv screen (yes, we need to be entertained in the 30 second elevator ride) that shocked me. Some employers are going as far as asking for the passwords to applicants and employees’ Facebook accounts. This article tells the story of a young man who went on an interview in which the HR person went to access his Facebook account during the interview and it was private. The HR person then asked him to for his password so that she could view his account. The man refused and opted to end the interview.
Other companies have gone different routes- either by asking the job applicant to send them a friend request or by using third-party programs that search through profiles, if the applicant gives consent. A major criticism of this “trend”- which I strongly agree with- is that if puts those that are desperate for a job at the mercy of the employer. A young man with many prospects may be able to scoff at an HR rep looking for his Facebook password, but what about someone a little more in need of that job? A person with a family or someone struggling financially?
I understand the need for a thorough screening process for certain positions. Law enforcement, childcare, etc. However, I can’t help but feel by accessing someone’s Facebook account, it blurs the line between screening and prying. An employer may not find any posts about any illegal or unethical activities, but what if they see something they just do not like or view as inappropriate? It would take that candidate out of the running, and perhaps unfairly.
Your thoughts on this? Do you think this is just another method of screening? If you were desperate for a job, would you give a possible employer your Facebook password?