Never give your Facebook password to a prospective employer

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

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Years ago, recruiters in Silicon Valley became legends for holding pub crawls where the objective was to collect as many IT professionals as they could and at the end of the evening invite them all to interviews. Back then, people were so thirsty for experience that feeling the need to change jobs every 4-6 months was the only way to get more cowbell.

Sister to this bad recruiting idea was the practice of asking all sorts of questions that had nothing to do with the actual job. Questions like,  “how would you move Mt. Fuji?” or “How many gas stations are there in Chicago?” or the all time classic, “If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?” Sadly, I do know a manager that asks the latter and WILL NOT HIRE YOU if your answer is anything less than “a lion!” Get serious, what does being a lion have to do with performing the duties of an accounts payable supervisor?

Ten years later, with the social media boom, we know find ourselves with recruiters who think it is a great idea to ask for a candidate’s Facebook password so they can poke around the person’s profile before making a job offer. Once again, what does this have to do with the job? Recruiters justify it by saying they want to make sure the applicant doesn’t keep company with people who are underage or participate in illegal activity. Really? Who publishes a summary of their illegal activity on Facebook?

There are also objections to asking for a Facebook password where the applicant is a member of a protected class. All sorts of problems can arise when recruiters single out applicants and possible don’t ask questions in a structured, consistent way. For example, after getting an applicant’s Facebook password, the recruiter could then learn about political affiliations, marital status, religion or a person’s age or other personal interests and activities not relevant to the ability to perform the job the person is interviewing for.

To sum this up, no matter how bad you want to work for a particular company, no matter how badly you need to work, being asked to hand over your Facebook password is a serious red flag for the job seeker about an employer. Employers say, “Well, if you don’t have anything to hide, then what is the problem?” You can slice it and dice a hundred ways… the answer is still NO!


2 thoughts on “Never give your Facebook password to a prospective employer

  1. Pingback: Think before answering that interview question « dp@large

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