Nearly 90% of employers already use social media to scout talent via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, with nearly half of all employers always thoroughly searching applicant profiles. That’s why best practices for job seekers now involve a thorough review of social media profiles to remove anything that may be construed as inappropriate.
However, it’s one thing for employers to search through what someone has publicly chosen to post in cyberspace, and another to sort through a profile using an applicant or employee’s own login information.
Recently, reports have surfaced of companies and organizations asking employees and applicants for this information for social networking and email accounts:
- Job seekers getting asked for Facebook passwords
- The Social Media Interview – What Employers, Employees and HR Should Realize
In their defense, employers are saying that it helps ensure employees aren’t participating in any illegal behavior and reflects favorably on anyone willing to undergo such a search.
In response to these incidents, Facebook has announced that they will challenge employers participating in such snooping. They are encouraging employers to stop this behavior to protect themselves–and for good reason. Poking around an applicant’s personal information, including gender, religious, and political affiliations, and then failing to extend a job offer can lead to some very sticky equal opportunity issues. Facebook is also threatening to revoke app access to those companies that offer job applications within the social networking site that they feel may be abusing user information, and may even go so far as seeking legal action to protect users’ rights to privacy.
It is not our policy to screen applicants using social media, but what do you think? How far should employers go in investigating your private life online? Is it okay for certain jobs and not for others?