Career Advice: Should You Give Your Employer Your Facebook Password or Not?

Apr 07, 2012 2 Comments by

You’ve submitted your resume and you’ve been called in for THE interview. You’re a college student who has recently graduated and—given the market—you’re more than thrilled to go on your first interview. You’ve already read 5 Tips for Acing Your Job Interview and are prepared to pass ace this “test” and land the job with flying colors.

You walk in dressed in your business conservative and you’ve come prepared with your portfolio, a copy of your resume and a pen. You make good eye contact, give a firm handshake and sit down to begin the interview process with your potential boss. The interview seems to be going well so far.

Suddenly, your interviewer turns his laptop towards you and asks you to log in. Log in? You’re taken back when you see the Facebook log in page. Uh, hell no, you think—realizing this was not a scenario you prepared for. Too late!

Do you ask your future employer why he needs you to show him your Facebook page to land this job and risk ticking him off—since Facebook in no way reflects your ability to crunch numbers? Or do you suck it up, smile and immediately tap in your username and password?

You need this job but the idea that your future boss could soon be flipping through photos of you in your bathing suit from a recent vacation makes sweat beads break out on your forehead. That and maybe he really hates the Pens. What if he despises Guns and Roses? You just favorited Paradise City yesterday!

Now you’re wishing you had clicked on your friends’ Twitter links and actually read the Washington Post article that you ignored days ago that dealt with the very same situation you are now in. Too late. You must go big or go home.

This situation is one that many people are finding themselves in for the first time. Some of these people are interviewing with companies and discovering that they need to make a decision whether or not to fork over their passwords while others are already employees and being “voluntarily” asked to do so. Still yet, earlier this month, “US government and colleges were demanding access to applicants’’ Facebook accounts—through friending . . . . .”  Hmm—sounds involuntary to me.

In an attempt to deal with this developing situation, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan, says, “that if access is requested to an employee’s Facebook account then the employer may ‘open themselves up to a claim of discrimination if they don’t hire that person,’ having seen if they are a member of a protected group, which could encompass age, sex, religion etc.” Panopticism AKA Big Brother, anyone?

Back to your interview. What to do? You have options:  walk out or log in. There is a 3rd choice:  assert your rights, calmly explain that you feel this request is overreaching and reflects a lack of trust and see what he says. If he backs down and you’re not required to log in, you may decide to continue with the interview. Otherwise, it’s up to you whether or not you want to progress. In all cases, the final decision is yours!

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Careers: Do It Your Way, Featured

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2 Responses to “Career Advice: Should You Give Your Employer Your Facebook Password or Not?”

  1. Kalone says:

    Deactivate Facebook when job searching or use an alias to keep it totally separate from working. I hope a law gets passed prohibiting this because someone could refuse to hire you based on religious or political views. Naturally, the hiring managers would never let on but it could happen. So, wehn job searching deactivate your FB or start off using an alias.

  2. Pamela says:

    I’m sure we will be hearing more about this issue as time unfolds. I understand if you are applying for a secret service or FBI position but, as it relates to other occupations, it seems like blatant panopticism and an overreaching request. Hope it won’t come down to what you suggest.

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