Earlier today I read an appalling article about employers asking prospective employees for their Facebook password in order to gain full access to their online persona (more about it here). I don’t think I need to explain why this seems so fundamentally wrong to me, and yet I’m going to do it anyway.
Before I get started, let me say the following to employers: you will never, never be given my password. Not because I have anything to hide (my Facebook account is crystal clear), but because it is a fundamental breach of privacy to be asking for my password. I’m speaking out about this because I don’t want this to become commonplace. It’s one step too far, and this article is my plea to employers… please. Draw the line in the sand. Take a step back and put yourselves in our shoes. How would you feel about being asked for the password to your account?
Look, I get it. People can restrict what information outsiders can see, and therefore could hide indecent pictures and content behind the password. What’s your point? People can also do that offline, and yet I haven’t heard of any interviewers asking to be invited to poker night on a Friday night to get a feel for what you get up to with your friends. That would just be weird, wouldn’t it?
Besides, can you not infer the same information by the lack of positive personal branding elsewhere on the internet? Look at it this way: the individuals who post Facebook images of themselves behaving inappropriately probably aren’t the same ones striving for excellence elsewhere on the internet. Same end, less intrusive means, everybody wins.
I didn’t intend this post to be an attack on employers trying to screen the best candidates. I just ask that you don’t come across as nosey, because the best employees are screening you as much as you’re screening them. And nosey doesn’t score very high on the list of desirable employer traits.
About the Author: Jason Repovs is the blogger behind The Personal Professional. He’s a professional marketer with a desire to provide insight into the way Generation Y thinks. Jason has a passion for relationship building, organization management, personal branding, and helping others in their careers, whatever form that may take. Follow Jason on Twitter!