Poll: Would You Reveal Your Facebook Password to Get a Job?

by on March 26, 2012 · 68 comments

You may think you’d do just about anything to get your dream job. You’re being interviewed for your ideal job and everything seems to be going well. The interview is just about to end but then your potential employer wants to check out your Facebook account and asks you for the password.

Would you reveal your Facebook password to get a job?

Controversy has been brewing lately about employers requiring job applicants to provide Facebook account passwords as part of the hiring process. Companies want to screen applicants to see if there is anything in their Facebook accounts that could prove embarrassing or detrimental to an employer.

Some people regard this requirement as a breach of privacy while others think employers have a right to learn about the people they are hiring. Yesterday, two US Senators, Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, announced that they have asked US Attorney General Eric Holder to have the Justice Department investigate whether such requests violate federal privacy laws. Their concern is that Facebook accounts could contain information about people’s gender, race, religion, marital status and age, all of which are protected information under US federal employment laws.

Facebook has released a statement saying, “We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s the right thing to do. While we do not have any immediate plans to take legal action against any specific employers, we look forward to engaging with policy makers and other stakeholders, to help better safeguard the privacy of our users.”

Would you reveal your Facebook password to get a job? Vote in today’s Wonder of Tech poll and let us know what you think.

Does this issue make you concerned about what you put on your Facebook account? Would you think twice now about posting updates, pictures or other personal information? Would you refuse to work for a company that asked for this information? Let us know in the Comments section below!

 

* Computer lock image by totumweb

* Facebook image by Andrew Mager

Comments on this entry are closed.

Harleena Singh
Twitter:
March 26, 2012 at 9:05 am

Thoughtful poll Carolyn!

Speaking of myself, I don’t think I would ever disclose my password on a place like Facebook at all, or for that matter on any social networking sites. I believe they are not secure sites at all, and nor would I really look for jobs on such sites, though I know Facebook does have a lot of potential.

I guess it works better if you can share your official email ID and exchange emails or contact the prospective company or person offering the job via email- so that your password remains secure. I remain careful on Facebook and don’t even venture much into the those sites or links that ask seek permission to assess your information- I really wonder how safe they are.

Thanks for sharing :)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 9:17 am

Hi Harleena, If you’re being interviewed for a job and it’s going well but suddenly the interviewer asks for the password to your Facebook account, would you reveal it? What if you wouldn’t get the job unless you revealed it?

I think it’s a very difficult position to be in, so I will be very interested to learn the results of this poll. Thank you for voting!

Harleena Singh
Twitter:
March 26, 2012 at 9:27 am

That would be a tricy situation to be in surely!! I wonder what I would have done. Perhpas request the interviewer that I normally don’t disclose the password on Facebook, thus would prefer using emails. (Guess it may sound unprofessional, but I don’t think I would really disclose the password on Facebook!)

Yes, look forward to the poll results to this thought provoking poll :)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 11:15 am

Hi Harleena, That’s a great idea to offer up another solution. Perhaps you could offer to be Facebook friends with the interviewer so he could see what was posted by you. Of course that would mean you could see what he/she posted as well, lol! ;-)
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Lee March 26, 2012 at 9:32 am

I would do it, but ask for certain limits and time limits – like 2 days. After which I would go on FB and change my password!

Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 9:40 am

Hi Lee, That’s a great idea. I like the idea of an employer having your password for a limited time period, after which you change your password.

I have also heard of people setting up a second, public account that they provide to employers so they don’t have to reveal their private Facebook account to employers.

Thanks for sharing your idea with us, Lee!
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Ryan Sprout March 26, 2012 at 9:35 am

Hi Carolyn,
I don’t think i would, ever! I think it’s ridiculous that employers are doing so! Now that the information age is exploding and so much is on the line if you have party pictures on your account it’s getting to be too much! Thanks for sharing this story, it just makes me mad to see how much people want to snoop around before you are hired. I think hiring should be based on qualities and if you’re qualified, but then again, it’s all about image…

Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 9:43 am

Hi Ryan, Excellent point. A person might be perfectly qualified for a job but if you were an employer, would you want to disqualify her because of an embarrassing photo from years ago? What information is helpful for your decision-making process? Would having that Facebook information make you filter out some great candidates?

There are a lot of factors to consider with this issue. Thanks for your insights, Ryan!
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Ryan Sprout March 26, 2012 at 10:11 am

I think the things that employers should look for are photographs or information that leads to sabotaging the reputation of the company. If they are having a good time and took a photograph with their friends, it should not deter them from being able to work if they are a qualified and hard working individual right? I mean, some of the richest on wall street are the biggest partiers of all – they just pay well to keep their faces off the newspapers.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 11:33 am

Good point, Ryan, but I imagine all sorts of issues could arise. Let’s say you were running a fashion magazine and a candidate’s Facebook pictures showed her wearing sloppy, ugly clothes all the time? What if a candidate admitted on Facebook to stealing from his previous employer and was fired because of it?

Some people bare their souls on Facebook, disclosing information there that isn’t available elsewhere. Some employers want a window into that type of disclosure.
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Angelo
Twitter:
March 26, 2012 at 10:19 am

If the employer is a decent person, thing i should find out as well, maybe i would allow this, because in these days, a lot of people you employ, might be the downfall of the business you have risen so costly. So i understand some employers do that, but, how to find out, who is the right one?

I have seen some apparently nice people facebook, and it is scary what they might be doing. So i might understand under some decent circumstances, that employers would ask for this.

Warmly,
Angelo Martorell Criado.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Hi Angelo, You’re right, an employer might have been burned before by an employee so wants to learn more about them before committing to hiring them for a job. If you were an employer, would you want to see what was on a person’s Facebook account to make sure you were hiring someone the company would be proud of?

Perhaps if I had created the poll from the employer’s perspective instead of the employee’s perspective, I would have had very different results.

Thanks for showing us a different perspective to this issue, Angelo!

Angelo
Twitter:
March 27, 2012 at 10:06 am

If i were in a position where it would be easy for me to do so, i would. In fact, when somebody asks me for be his friend in Facebook, and i don’t know the person well, before i accept, i try to go to his or her information and photos and check. Then if it is fine in my opinion , i accept the person.

Yes i would do that even if i was an employer. I would even maybe would check with the police if the person is fine. Or check with friends. Even that is not guarantee for good results. But maybe you filter some bad things. I have a lot of working experience and i have seen too many things already to accept people just because i want to show i am politically correct.

Concluding, yes, i would check his facebook account, if i see something i consider dangerous, i would’t take the person.

Nice post dear,

Warmly,
Angelo.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Good point, Angelo. Many companies do criminal background check and check references, but these may not reveal all of the information an employer needs to know. For example, if a political campaign were hiring someone, they might want to see a Facebook Timeline to make sure the job candidate hasn’t spent years bashing the politician’s point of view.

It’s an interesting topic and I’m very glad it has generated so much discussion!

Jack
Twitter:
March 26, 2012 at 10:52 am

I wouldn’t do it for a host of reasons. For example a friend from college posted a bunch of pictures of us in which I am clearly not sober. They happen to be from 1987 and shouldn’t be used to evaluate who I am today.

However, I can’t say that they wouldn’t be. Nor can I say how comments that are left by others would be interpreted. My friends and I kid around sometimes. What would happen if one of them wrote something like “hey you lunatic” or “you should have been arrested.”

It might be tongue in cheek but the employer wouldn’t know that. There are other ways to screen people that were effectively used for decades.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 11:48 am

Jack great point, some of the photos posted on Facebook are decades old and represent us from a different phase of our lives. You’re not the first person to have had a few too many drinks in college, but unflattering pictures can make the situation seem much worse than it is.

You’re right, people often post inside jokes on Facebook that could be misinterpreted. I think that people would really start to shy away from Facebook if they learn that their words and pictures could be used against them in a job situation.
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Eleni Poulakou March 26, 2012 at 11:02 am

I believe in setting limits, Carolyn, and this is way past my limits!

Even if I was just one step (this particular step!) from getting hired at a perfect job, I would kindly inform them that I can reveal my FB identity, so that they can take a look at my page as external visitors — but giving them the “keys” to a virtual “home” is a totally different story. And I would start having serious doubts about whether I’d be satisfied working for them, anyway.

Come on, next thing they will be asking to check my private email, to see what I’m sending to people!
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Hi Eleni, Good point, if you let your future employer have the “keys to the kingdom” as you call it, there is no telling where they would stop. Would they require your email password as well? Do you want to work for a company that is so intrusive?

I do wonder, if you instead offered to be Facebook friends with the interviewer so he could see what you were posting, whether that would be acceptable. After all, you could then see what he was posting as well.
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Eleni Poulakou March 26, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Fact is, right now my FB page is public — if I want to hide sthg from the ‘net, I don’t post it anywhere, that’s for sure!

On the other hand, for discussion’s sake, I might set privacy levels — the company clearly being left out of my “close friends” circle. After all, in real life they can pass by my house and take a look at my yard — but I open my door only to those I want. No company has a right to spy on what I say inside my living room with my buddies.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Eleni, Excellent point. Some people only post to groups within their Facebook account so even if a Facebook account were public or you “friended” an interviewer, you could still hide posts from a potential employer. They could argue that they had to have your Facebook password to truly see what is on your account. You’re right, it’s like authorizing a search of your home. Great analogy.

Ruth Zive March 26, 2012 at 11:41 am

Phew – I am so relieved to see the results of this poll. When I heard about this on the news, I couldn’t actually believe it was serious business. I think it’s absurd that an employer should have access to your Facebook password! I can completely understand an expectation that your profile be respectful and appropriate for work associates to read – but to actually go in and see private messages and behind-the-scenes information is utterly ridiculous! Employers haven’t been able to access voice mail or email or snail mail for that matter – why is Facebook any different? I think it’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed. There you have it…

Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Hi Ruth, Excellent point. If a potential employer wanted to read our personal email or listen in to our personal telephone conversations, would that be okay?

If your Facebook account isn’t set for the public to see, that means it’s private, just as your email or regular mail is. But if your Facebook account is public, then the employer doesn’t have to ask for the password anyway.

Yes, this has been in the news quite a bit and I find it fascinating to see the poll results. I’m always surprised by Wonder of Tech poll results, though. :-)
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Adrienne
Twitter:
March 26, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Wow!!! Are you serious? Although I have absolutely nothing to hide whatsoever I still don’t believe anyone should be allowed access to our private information. I can’t even believe that employers would ask for that. Just take a look at their account and I think that should be enough.

As Ruth pointed out, they don’t have access to our voice-mail, our mail or our bank accounts. Why should this be any different. What happen to our privacy?

I do hope that they take some type of action regarding this and stop this before it gets out of hand. No job is worth that!

Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Hi Adrienne, If your Facebook account is set to private, so only your friends have access to it, then an employer can’t see what you and your friends have posted on your Timeline. But a solution to this is that you could offer to become Facebook friends with the interviewer so that he/she could access what is posted on your Timeline, but not have access to your Facebook messages and chats.

I doubt an interviewer would take you up on this offer, though because then you would have access to his/her Facebook posts.

I think employers are requiring more information in the hope that they hire the best fit for the job. Some employers do credit check on potential employees.

It will be interesting to see whether this practice is banned by the US government, as well as governments of other countries.
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Mike Maynard
Twitter:
March 26, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Hi Carolyn,

I have nothing to hide on my Facebook account but I wouldn’t work for an employer who had such little respect for employee rights. I would walk in the middle of such an interview. Not that I ever want a job again! My stock market shares have done well today, sunshine and making money; can’t get better than this can it? I even have stock market traders following me on Twitter now. I might buy more this week and write a blog about it!
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Hi Mike, It sounds as if you are having a great day!

That’s great you would stand up for yourself that way. If the employer isn’t going to align with your values, best to move on and not waste anyone’s time. :-bd
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Hajra
Twitter:
March 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Are they really doing it? Doesn’t make sense. People were getting jobs before facebook and some are getting good jobs without having a facebook account and still doing well at it. Though social networking is a development it shouldn’t be used as a medium to spy, especially not on your employees.

What will they want next? Camera in your house?

Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Hi Hajra, Yes, some employers are making this request which is why it’s so controversial. You’re right, plenty of people were hired before Facebook existed, but Facebook is a medium with a lot of potential for trouble. I think employers want to be sure they know what they’re getting when they hire someone. But that doesn’t make it right.

You’re right, this may very well be a step in the direction towards Big Brother (and not the TV show).
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Janet Callaway
Twitter:
March 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Carolyn, aloha. Absolutely Not! This is the first poll of yours where I have seen the majority so clearly in one direction.

Employers don’t need a password to see what’s on fb. They can see a whole lot without it.

Aside from what’s obvious on the pages, most people have private groups on fb be they for family only or business.

No way an employer should be able to read private matters that are being discussed amongst family.

Also, we don’t have control over what someone else says or posts. Just because they say it or post it doesn’t mean that it is as posted/said or relevant. How many times have comments been taken out of taken IRL? When you put them back into context, then the “horrible” makes perfect sense.

No way, Carolyn. Rant! Rant! Rant!

Nice to stire things up on a Monday morning. Will be by later to check out the poll. Until then, aloha. Janet

Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Hi Janet, you’re right, this issue has definitely touched a nerve with a lot of readers. I don’t recall a Wonder of Tech poll ever being so unified in readers’ responses. Fascinating.

Excellent point, that people have groups they can hide posts from so even a public Facebook page may not reveal the entire picture of what a person posts on Facebook. That’s why certain employers are requesting the passwords, because the public persona may not tell the whole story.

You’re right, there may be inside jokes that could be misinterpreted and ruin a person’s chances of being hired. If employers lose valuable candidates when they refuse to hand over their passwords, maybe employers will stop asking for this information.
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Bell March 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Hi there, Carolyn — when I voted, option 4: “No, it’s an invasion of my privacy” was at a whopping 86.67% — I guess your readers are an especially lucid bunch.

At least they’re more levelheaded than the genius who first suggested that people should relinquish their facebook passwords.

The same people wouldn’t ask you to bring all your recent, personal correspondence to the office so they could sift through it.

Why do they believe login data that they did not create themselves, or transferred to you themselves, is something they have a right to?
More troubling still: What happens to the personal data they gather that way? Legally speaking, who are they accountable to?
Doesn’t this generate vast potential for abuse?
Assuming a loophole doesn’t make it unlawful for them to request login data, wouldn’t they be legally bound to destroy such data in their possession once the data had served its purpose?
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Hi John, Great point. Wonder of Tech readers are extremely intelligent. Attractive, too! Really, the readers here are the most brilliant on the Internet. Believe me, they’re great!

A similar issue (and I may do a poll on this some day) is how schools handle bullying on Facebook. Facebook posts between students that don’t occur during school hours should have no ramifications at school, some think. But students have been suspended from school for bullying a fellow student via Facebook posts.

The impact of what is posted on Facebook can be very broad, which may be why employers are so concerned. But that doesn’t mean they should have the right to request Facebook passwords from job candidates.

You’re right, the potential for abuse is extreme. What we do in our off hours should not be of concern to our employers, but often there are repercussions.

Time will tell if this practice will become more widespread and how job candidates will react. The results of the survey are quite revealing. This is not a popular practice.
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Sherryl Perry March 26, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Carolyn,
I agree with the majority that this would be an invasion of privacy and I have concerns that it would set a precedent for similar requests. If it were a deal breaker, I would comply provided that the position that I was applying for relied upon my being Internet savvy and/or involved my representing the company online. Those are the only exceptions that I can think of that could possibly justify such a request.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Hi Sherryl, You bring up a very interesting point. Perhaps the employer could justify the request based upon the nature of the job. In some cases, the employer may not ask for this information from all job candidates, just those whose jobs relate to this information. That would definttely add a new twist to the request.
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Bill Dorman
Twitter:
March 26, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I would never tell anyone my Facebook password is *(**BR549…….

If it was my dream job I would tell them I will be more than happy to open up a Facebook acct and they can have the password to my new acct. I certainly don’t have anything to hide………er, uh ok not too much to hide, but they don’t need to be in my personal stuff. They can just go to my Facebook acct and see everything I see anyway; I don’t have any restricted access to anything going on in there anyway.

That’s a little much to ask for passwords. However, if they came to my office they could look at the piece of paper I have taped to my credenza with all my passwords and codes on it anyway…………:)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Hey Bill, Great idea! Post your Facebook password on your public Facebook page so that all can see it. That way you show your employer and everyone else that you have nothing to hide.

Except that someone might use that password to hack your account and post embarrassing photos. But at least then you would have an excuse as to why there would be embarrassing photos on your Facebook Timeline.

Brilliant, Bill! :-bd
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CarolB
Twitter:
March 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Hmmm. Not liking this at all! Facebook is my personal space, my personal stuff. Since when do employers have the right to go into your house when you are a job candidate? This kind of feels like the same thing. Don’t like it one bit. What’s next – your personal e-mail accounts?
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Hi Carol, You’re right, there could definitely be a ripple effect. If employers get Facebook passwords, what’s to stop them from requiring personal email passwords? If you’re not comfortable with their requests during the interview process, chances are you’re not going to be happy working for the company.
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Irene March 26, 2012 at 7:29 pm

This is just a devious way of employers getting information that they can’t legally ask during an interview. If a potential employer asked if they could check my FB account, I’d walk out. It goes against all EEO rules as well. Besides, half the info on my FB account is bogus anyway. You shouldn’t put vital info on ANY public forum no matter how secure you think it is, especially Facebook!

Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Hi Irene, welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Wow, I’m thinking that if you put bogus information on your Facebook Timeline it might be awkward to explain to a future employer that the information wasn’t genuine.

You’re so right, it’s best to assume that any information on the Internet is public, even if it is password protected.

The issue is unresolved as to whether this action violates federal law, which is why the US Senators asked Attorney General Holder to investigate.
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Irene March 27, 2012 at 1:04 am

I will tell the employer the info on my timeline is bogus for my own safety. If they don’t like it then they don’t have to hire me. Then again I wouldn’t work for a company that demands my password for anything. I don’t think I would even give them my email. You have to draw the line somewhere.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 27, 2012 at 10:32 am

Okay, I’m very curious. Why do you put false information on your Facebook Timeline for your safety? I haven’t heard of this before so I want to learn how you are using this for safety.
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Irene March 27, 2012 at 11:47 am

When you search someone on Facebook, there sometimes is SOME info that is still viewable. Plus there are back door ways of getting into profiles. If you’re that trusting with Facebook to put it all out there, then you’ve got another thing coming.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this tip with us, Irene!

Bruce Sallan March 26, 2012 at 7:40 pm

One should look upon EVERYTHING posted online as public so, YES, I’d give my Facebook password ’cause there’s NOTHING I put out/online that I wouldn’t show/share my family or anyone else!

Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Hi Bruce, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! You are very wise. It’s best to assume that any thing you put out on the internet can be accessed by anyone, even if it is password protected.

But whether or not your house is tidy, you may not someone walking in any time they feel like it…
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Ella March 26, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I would feel that would definitely be an invasion of my privacy. My personal information is none of their business, and frankly if that was their policy, I would not like to work for a company that adhered to such regulations. We have little privacy left as it is. What would be next? Perhaps our health records?

Ella McGinley

Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 26, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Hi Ella, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! That would be very intrusive, Ella, if a future employer requested health records. But sometimes people reveal their medical issues on Facebook, such as overcoming cancer. That may not be information you want to share during a job hunt but are forced to if you have to reveal your Facebook password.

There are so many angles to this issue, it certainly is complex. Thanks for your visit and insightful comment, Ella!
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Andrew March 27, 2012 at 6:47 am

i would never hand over my password just to get a job, why would the job want to know about my personal life, if i needed something to do with facebook for the job then i will rather create a new facebook for work and then they can have my password, but not for my personal account,

Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 27, 2012 at 10:52 am

Hi Andrew, Good point, an employer who is intrusive into your private life during the interview process might not make for a great boss when you get the job. I like your idea of creating a second, public Facebook page that could satisfy any requirements an employer might have.
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Justin Germino March 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm

This is a despicable practice and no company should require a person to give up a password to Facebook or require them to friend a manager, personal life is allowed to be personal. The exception is public office jobs or ones not in the private corporate sector but even then, they shouldn’t be allowed for passwords only to screen history of profile with a friend request or something.

Companies could get more liability issues as well, if person was to use same password for Facebook / Bank Account and have hack/attack could company be liable for sharing the password or using it?

I do also see from a company point of view in hiring people who represent integrity and values of the company, it is well within their means to look somebody up online and see anything public, but you cannot infringe upon private profiles and lives. Would be like asking to see someone’s diary, if they choose to make their profile public then by all means screen it, but if not then you are not entitled to ask and make it a requirement in my opinion.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Hi Justin, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Interesting analogy to asking to read a diary. If you wanted to find out all about someone, reading their diary would be an effective way of doing that. But we do have privacy concerns that should be respected. If you find out that your privacy concerns aren’t being taken seriously by a company, it’s best to find that out during the interview process instead of after you’ve started the job.

Deeone Higgs March 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Hi Carolyn,

I’ve been hearing about this a lot lately. I can’t say that I have a problem with it personally. I really don’t believe I have anything that would risk or jeopardize my chances of securing the position. On top of that, I also don’t think the job that I would be trying to acquire would do anything to risk themselves being sued. I wouldn’t apply for a position with a company that did not take their employers privacy serious. Therefore, my vote would be Absolutely. :)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Hi Deeone, Interesting point. If you really want the job and have nothing to hide, you may want to hand over your password. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s difficult to know how companies treat their employees privacy before you apply for a job. It’s difficult to find out what a company’s policies on such matters is if it’s not in writing.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Deeone!

Jens P. Berget
Twitter:
March 28, 2012 at 12:47 am

Hi Carolyn,

Very interesting question.

I probably wouldn’t have revealed it. I don’t have anything to hide, but it’s personal. And I don’t want to give away my password. What I would do, was probably to log in, and sit next to him while he looked at things. I believe I would have offered him that instead of the password :)
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Sonia March 28, 2012 at 6:31 am

I will start off by saying,” NO”. What else are they going to ask for you now? Can I you tell me when your next period is? I get why this question might even come up, but thank god I haven’t run into anyone asking. Employers do check Linkedin profiles because I have seen it done myself when I found my new job and that’s fine, but anything else to me is asking for trouble.

How and what you submit on your Facebook page is up to you, and quite honestly, I am not sure why some people still leave their profile very open. Mine is locked up like fort knox and you can’t even find me if you tried to search for me. It might come up in google, but once you press the button, you get nothing. There is a line that we have to remember when posting personal stuff online, “once it’s online, it’s there forever”. I think when people started with Facebook, they didn’t realize the ramifications associated with their information out to the world.

Look at Myspace when that came out and the countless weird profiles people created there. I know people that didn’t get jobs because they had risque pictures on their profile and didn’t keep their profiles private. If you put it out there for people to see, you run the risk of it coming back to haunt you years later if you’re are not careful.

My advice: Lock up your profile and keep your stuff private. They can see that you have a profile, if that, but if its not searchable, there is no profile to give a password too.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 29, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Hi Sonia, Excellent points. There is a reason people password-protect their Facebook accounts and don’t make them public, But I would still make sure not to post anything on the Internet that would be overly embarrassing, even if your Facebook account is restricted to your friends.

But you’re right, there should be a line drawn for public versus private information for an employer. The question is, where should that line be drawn? The poll results show that people mostly agree that asking for a Facebook password crossed the line.

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Sonia!
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Sarah March 29, 2012 at 6:10 am

I wouldn’t hand over my Facebook password, if they want to find out personal information then why doesn’t everyone set up a linkedin account that way it is more professional yet employers can get a better feel for what type of person you are.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 29, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Hi Sarah, Good point, but people generally reveal much more on Facebook than they do on LinkedIn. The employer might already have checked out LinkedIn as part of the application process but still be curious about what is on a candidate’s Facebook Timeline.

That doesn’t mean that it’s okay for employers to ask for a Facebook password though.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us, Sarah!
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Dee Ann Rice March 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Carolyn,

I would never give a potential employer my password to any social site. I have nothing to hide but it is a huge infringement on my privacy.

I do not give anyone my passwords. They are private.

For me it is like my employer saying I want a key to your house so I can go look through any letters you have written or received and I also want to look in your diary’s and journals. I want to look through your kitchen and see what kind of food you have, I want to look at what movies own and lastly I want to look in your bedroom and bathroom to see what soaps, tooth paste and brands of clothes & shoes you have.

This is none of the business of an employer.

I would delete my social sites before I would give anyone a password.

Dee Ann
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 30, 2012 at 6:21 am

Hi Dee Ann, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! You are not alone in your thoughts. It seems the vast majority of Wonder of Tech readers agree with you. This may be the poll that has the most agreement of any of the polls I have conducted here at The Wonder of Tech.

I don’t think you would have to delete your accounts, I imagine you wouldn’t want to work for an employer who asked you for your password during the interview process.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Dee Ann. I hope you have a great weekend!

Brian March 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm

I’m not exactly sure what a company can find out with a password that they can’t find with jsut requesting the applicant friend them. I would prefer companies just ask to friend the applicant and research them that way.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 29, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Hi Brian, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Great point, but it is possible to post items and block some of your friends from seeing that post. But at some point a company should trust you, right?

Brian, you really need to get connected with Wonder of Tech reader Jens, whose blog is all about pizza. It’s his favorite food. He includes a message about something else in each post, but you will find references to pizza in each one. His site is Sly Marketing. Definitely check it out and tell him I sent you! :-)

Brian March 29, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Trust? Less and less of that around lately, huh?

Just checked out his site. Cool. I’ll definitely bookmark it. Our site features lots of top ten lists and they all contain something about pizza in the title. Some of our lists are like:

Top 10 Football Movies to Watch While Eating Pizza
Top 10 Police Sitcoms to Watch While Eating Pizza
Top 10 Bible Verses About Pizza
Top Ten Chicago Cubs “Better than a lifetime of free pizza” Moments
Top Ten Talk Radio Shows To Listen To While Eating Pizza
Top Ten Tweets About Pizza

I’ll need to connect with Jens. Sounds like a good guy. And by the way, I’ve been to your blog before and you’ve been over to my blogging / social media site and even left a comment or two.

I need to come over here more often.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr March 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Very cool, Brian. Jens will have discovered Nirvana with your blog.

Yes, your site is wonderful. Thanks so much for visiting and connecting! Jens lives in Norway but when he wakes up tomorrow morning he will think he’s still dreaming when he discovers your blog. :-)

Austin April 1, 2012 at 7:40 am

yes for sure if i get a good opportunity and the requirement is my facebook password… i will surely provide the information as there is nothing that needs to be hidden in my facebook account…..also in facebook accounts all your details are published and open for public…..

Carolyn I wonder how can you think of such diversified, different and interesting topics….

Chris April 17, 2012 at 9:13 am

So, what about those of us that do not have a facebook account? I wonder how that is treated by employers today. Is it now socially unacceptable not to have a facebook account? Would they think you are lying if you say that you do not have an account? I actually do not have a facebook account and do not currently plan to start one. Frankly, as someone that has hired and interviewed many people, I find that actual communication with previous references usually tells me all I need to know. But, I haven’t answered the question proposed: Would I give my password out…. No.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 17, 2012 at 9:24 am

Hi Chris, I know plenty of people who don’t have Facebook accounts. I imagine if you were asked for your Facebook account password during a job interview, you could smile and reply, “I don’t have a Facebook account. Is that required to get a job here?” :-)

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