If you write something and publish it on the web, do you give up your right of privacy? For many people looking for a job they are being asked to do just that. According to some of today’s employers, your posts and photographs are public domain. In this economy, companies can be more prudent with who they choose to hire. It seems that social media has unofficially become part of our resumes.
I don’t believe an employer is getting off on the right foot with a what can be viewed as a breach of trust by asking for a prospects log-in info. A person should be hired on their merits and accomplishments, not comments and photos. The problem is that employers now hold a severe upper-hand in having a large hiring pool. Privacy is being sacrificed by the desire to gain employment. It should never come down to the job seeker making the choice between the two.
There was the case of Justin Bassett, who withdrew his application and walked out of the interview when told his private profile couldn’t be viewed and he needed to fork over his log-in credentials. Facebook has even made it a violation of their terms to give out your password in order to prevent this, but some companies skirt this practice by asking the job-seeker to log-in themselves. Maryland just passed a bill that makes it illegal for an employer to ask for your Facebook password. Hopefully the other states will follow suit.
What about those who see Facebook as a time burglar and have no profile? Are employers more wary of the non-user, thinking they may be hiding something or will they further frown upon the person who has photos of themselves doing keg stands at their cousin’s communion?
I am a firm believer in first amendment rights and I don’t want to live in a society modeled after George Orwell’s 1984, but it’s about common sense people. What’s more important to you? Getting a few cheap likes and comments from a sophomoric post or YOU as a brand? Regardless, I just don’t think those who show a lapse in posting judgement should be shown the door if what they posted was not illegal or insensitive to people based on sex/race/religion/etc.
There are a few options as I see it. Don’t change a thing on your profile and tell any prospective employer where they can go should they ask for your information. Two, you can maintain a squeaky clean online profile and need not to fret should they ask to view your account. And finally, what I’d like to see happen, hiring companies will drop this practice. Looking at one’s Facebook page is not a serious vetting device. Sure you’ll save money versus a background check or credit check, but you won’t find out nearly as much information. A prior arrest record should be more of a concern than spring break photos. The fact that Facebook changed it’s terms and policies to protect the user and that one state bill passed to make it illegal, it will only be a matter of time before this violation of rights is outright banned.