When I go into a job interview you can’t ask me my age. You can’t ask me if I’m married. You can’t ask me if I have kids. You can’t ask me what religion I am. You can’t ask me… well, pretty much anything personal other than what’s on my resume or directly related to the jobs I’ve had. What makes you think it’s OK to ask me for my Facebook password???!!!!
No, this didn’t happen to me.
I started seeing online rumors and the odd story about this a few months ago: prospective employees or current employees being asked to hand over their Facebook passwords during an interview for a new job or a promoted position. And I scoffed. No way, I thought, no way would this become the norm. Was I wrong? I don’t know. What I do know is that there has been a deluge of news stories in recent days/weeks about this new practice.
There isn’t a consensus on whether it’s legal. And, honestly, the best that everyone can agree on is that you have to decide for yourself whether you want the job badly enough to hand them the keys to the castle (to give them your password).
From the safety of my employed life I say: don’t do it! I can’t imagine wanting any job badly enough to hand over a look into all my photos, my messages, the private conversations I’ve had with friends and family (which in many many cases are PERSONAL and no one’s business!). This would be basically like letting them into my home, opening all the doors and the drawers and the boxes, and letting them thumb through every inch of my life and loves and likes and hates.
No. That’s not OK.
What I share with the world, I decide to share. And if I keep some things behind a door… well, it’s my door and my decision. You don’t get to pick through my personal thoughts and conversations and friendships and family gatherings to decide whether this fits with your image of what you want in an employee. You have to decide that based on my work history, my work product, and do your homework from there.
But, I know, it’s easy for me to be self-righteous about this from the comfort of my full-time with benefits life. Would I still feel the same way if I’d been out of work for 18 months? or if I’d graduated and couldn’t find that all-important first job? or if I just was convinced this was the job that was going to open up the path to ultimate happiness?
No, I still wouldn’t do it. Because, if they feel entitled to to this before you are even an employee, what happens next? Are they going to have random Facebook screenings? Are you going to be called in every three months (or so) to prove that nothing has changed on your personal profile? Do they get to ask for your personal cell phone to check out your text messages? Do they get to go through your gmail account to see what else you might have been hiding?
What comes next?
So the question for you is: would you give an interviewer your Facebook password if asked?
News articles to check out (UPDATED):
- Should job seekers open up their Facebook page? from CBS Money Watch
- Job interview nightmares: Getting asked for your Facebook password threatens to become the new norm from culturemap Houston
- Want a job? Facebook password, please from Ragan’s PR Daily
- Facebook Speaks Out Against Employers Asking for Passwords from SpinSucks
- ** NEW ** Is Your Facebook Password Like Your Mail, House Key, or Drug Test? from The Atlantic