Would you trade in your social media passwords for a job?

The practice of employers looking up social media profiles of prospective employees is nothing new. It’s a great way to learn a lot about a person from the things that they choose to broadcast to the public. However, there comes a point where this all may go a little too far — specifically when a potential employee’s profile is set to private.

Associated Press reports that some job seekers have been asked during the interview to hand over their Facebook passwords. Justin Bassett, a New York statistician, was asked to disclose his Facebook login credentials to the interviewer. Bassett withdrew his application.

Others weren’t directly asked for their passwords, but they were asked to log in to their Facebook account so that the interviewer could have a peek.

While most job candidates would decline to give out their passwords, there are some job seekers who are so desperate for a job, they have no choice but to hand over such information to the company.

In 2010 a security guard at the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services was asked for his login information so the agency could check for any gang affiliations. The security guard handed it over saying, “I needed my job to feed my family.”

Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and former federal prosecutor says that this practice is “an egregious privacy violation” and “it’s akin to requiring someone’s house keys.”

Surprisingly, this is all completely legal, but legislation is being proposed in Illinois and Maryland, with more states possibly joining in later.

Personally, I have nothing to hide when it comes to my social media profiles. If an employer wants to look at my Facebook profile, they can do so, but I will never give my password away to anyone. However, I probably wouldn’t mind logging into my Facebook and letting them surf around for a bit while I at least watch (as long as they were just looking at my profile and not digging into my settings), although that does sound extremely juvenile and definitely says something about the maturity of the company.

What about you? Would you let a potential employer have your password or at least log in for them so they can look around?


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10 responses to “Would you trade in your social media passwords for a job?”

  1. yonbeastie Avatar

    As an interviewer, I may ask a question like that. If they are stupid enough to say “sure” I know they shouldn’t be hired. I understand that desperation weighs into the decisions of the applicant, but being gutless and compromising yourself is bad policy in almost all circumstances.

    As an applicant, I would just say “My Facebook only pertains to my private life. I can assure you it isn’t relevant to this position.” It probably wouldn’t be nearly that concise.

  2. Jonathan Paul Avatar

    My response: I use a locally stored password manager and literally do not know my password. Also, no.

    Jon

    1. Evan Wondrasek Avatar

       Same here. My banker once asked if I could log into my account so he could show me how to use something, and he nearly had a breakdown when I told him I literally couldn’t tell him my password because it was random and I didn’t know what it was.

  3. Nicholas Orlando Avatar
    Nicholas Orlando

    Accesing my facebook profile would give the potential employer access to my martial status, and sexual orientation… both of which are protected under federal Equal Opportunity Employment regulations to protect against discrimination.

  4. TribalStyleMarketing Avatar

    This is exactly why I work for myself today.  Forget the fact that Employers are discriminating against the unemployed, over qualified, under qualified, etc.  If someone ever asked me that, I’d call my favorite Lawyer from Seinfeld, Jackie Chiles!

    “It’s an infringement on your constitutional rights. It’s outrageous, egregious, preposterous!”

  5. Derek Johnson Avatar

    I would never give my password nor log in to let them see it. I think it is ok for them to search your profile from a non-friend or friend of friend profile to see how you present yourself to the public, as that could hurt their image, but they don’t need your permission to do that. 

  6. Derek Johnson Avatar

    I would never give my password nor log in to let them see it. I think it is ok for them to search your profile from a non-friend or friend of friend profile to see how you present yourself to the public, as that could hurt their image, but they don’t need your permission to do that. 

  7. Sophronis Avatar
    Sophronis

    What ever happened to respect for privacy?  Just because I am applying for a job somewhere it does not give them a right to access my private data.  I would say sorry I can not disclose any of the private information contained in my account but they can browse freely through my public data just like everyone else can. 

  8. greedywaterrabbitt Avatar

    Was once offered a job with a house security system installer (I was asked to take a lie detector test (I told them I would take the test assuring them that I would not steal off them (if they would take one saying they would not cheat me on my paycheck (no need to tell what happened lol

  9. greedywaterrabbitt Avatar

    Was once offered a job with a house security system installer (I was asked to take a lie detector test (I told them I would take the test assuring them that I would not steal off them (if they would take one saying they would not cheat me on my paycheck (no need to tell what happened lol

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