Recently, there have been several articles in the press about jobs seekers getting asked to give their Facebook login and passwords for interviews.  We knew that employers were looking at potential employee’s social media accounts before they hired them, but the out-and-out asking for login information is a new trend.

I believe, it’s happening for many reasons, but here are the main two:

  1. The job market is becoming more competitive and less and less jobs are now available.  As a result, employers are using more non-traditional methods to screen potential employees.
  2. A new trend is on the rise, people using social media to rant or vent about their workplace.   Businesses and companies don’t want their employers leaking valueable information online or ranting about their workplace practices.  So, they are taking extra measures upfront to make sure they hire people who they suspect won’t “go off” about them online.

What should you say or do if you get asked for your Facebook login information.  Well, that depends on if you agree with this practice or not and how bad you need a job.  Personally, I don’t agree with this practice and I think it is crossing the line.  I don’t even know if this practice is legal but here are some tips to help you come to the interview prepared.

Ask for the company’s social media policy.  Turn the tables back on them.  If the company has one, ask to see where that policy is stated.  When you go on a job interview, they give you benefit, leave and insurance information upfront.  Why not give the social media policy information as well?  If the company doesn’t have a social media policy, or this practice isn’t listed in the policy, you can refuse to give your login information.

Counter them.  Ask your potential employer their reasoning behind this practice.  Most will say that they use it as a way to judge a potential employee’s character.  It’s a way to find out what kind of person you really are.  That’s a valid reason but give them other options to learn about your character.  Have a list of volunteer activities, recommendations, honors and awards that you have received handy.

Before your interview, email the contact person about all the information that is needed and expected during the interview.   They are usually more than happy to tell you bring your resume, id cards and the like.  If they inform you that your Facebook logins are needed, you can ask questions why (see above).  They may drop it or tell you not to worry about it.  But if they stand firm, don’t go to the interview unless you’re willing to give your login.  If they don’t tell you to bring your login information and they ask for it during the interveiw, you can always say that you weren’t told that information was required for the interview.

Stand your ground.  Understand that if you refuse to give your login information, you may not get that job.  If you are okay with that, then stand your ground.  If not, then get everything controversial off your Facebook page before you go into that interview.  You should do this anyway because just like employers are checking credit reports of potential employees they screen your social media accounts without your knowledge.  So, if you on the hunt for a new job, it’s a good idea to sanitize it.

Would you give your Facebook login and password at a job interview?  Do you think this practice is valid?  Write a comment and let me know what you think.  Also, if you like this post or found some value in it, please like this page and share it with your friends.