However despicable a practice I may believe it to be, many employers are still screening potential employees through a search of their social networking pages and increasing numbers have even gone as far as to ask for the passwords to those sites. Last time I checked this isn't a communist country, but perhaps I should also turn over my checking account numbers and credit card statements to potential employers to increase my chances of being hired.
My advice to job hunters is, unless your applying for the FBI or another law enforcement agency, nobody needs to have access to your private data. If you find a job and really want to take it, but they want your passwords, delete everything and happily turn them over.
If you're an employer, and you feel this is a necessary action, which in some professions it may be, take care to make certain the practice is fair, well-documented, and free from bias. The Washington Post has published a few well thought out tips which may help you avoid controversy and persecution with regard to your requests. Take a look at what they came up with:
Here are a few other tips that can help employers implement some controls in this social media review process:
●The request for login information should be stated on the application and/or explained at the outset.
●Employers should closely consider the purpose in reviewing social media information of applicants.
●The rule should be uniform and fair. To prevent the appearance of bias, employers who elect to monitor social media profiles should uniformly check everyone’s profiles. They should also create a checklist to help streamline the review protocol.
I think these are great tips that can make the employer appear more fair and responsible with their requests and searches. It is also important to remind potential employees that the information discovered in the profile screenings will not be used for any other reason than to be considered for the job opening. Hopefully these tips can make the job screening process a little less painless and a lot more fruitful.