Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

Summary: A Maryland government employee refused to hand over his Facebook login password during an interview to get his old job back. Would you give prospective employers the keys to your Facebook?

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Imagine this. You've left university with a good degree, and after months of searching you have found what could be the perfect job.

The one caveat is that you are required to hand over the keys to your Facebook profile and other social networks to proceed.

But for one person, the intrusion was too much to bear. A Maryland corrections officer refused to hand over his Facebook login password during an interviewto be recertified for his old job with the Department of Corrections.

The practice has now been suspended pending a review, which was designed to check for gang and organised crime affiliations, though it calls into question the practices prospective employers in both the public and private sector can ask of you to gain employment.

How far would you go to attain that perfect job? Would you give up the most private and intimate details of your life, or even your email and social network passwords?

However, it makes sense to screen and to vet prospective employees at the highest level to ensure they are trustworthy, not liable to persuasion and pressure, and that they are not connected to other criminals who could exploit their position, like police officers and intelligence officers.

These practices, known as vetting, occur from working with children in youth projects and to the highest levels of government, to ensure unethical and unsavoury characters do not slip through the filters.

There is no doubt there are some jobs out there which do require the highest level of security and assurances from employers, but what about regular employment?

Personally, to some extent, I am in favour of this to a lesser or greater extent. Many others will disagree. But I think that social networking takes up such a large part of our lives, it is important for a government as an employer to at least see, along with regular vetting processes, to validate whether a person is connected to people involved in crime which could undermine their position.

On the other hand, it is private - provided one locks down their profile from the outside world, and should be treated like postal mail, email and our personal preferences to life and society. But for 'regular' employment should not ask for passwords to check what a person is like, as this is a gross invasion of privacy.

It is a highly contentious issue and there are no right and wrong answers. I suppose it all boils down to the individual person.

Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

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Topics: Social Enterprise, CXO, IT Employment

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147 comments
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  • RE: Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

    No Facebook at all - whatever do I do??
    drf999
    • My dilemma too

      @drf999<br><br>I would have to leave that field blank and probably not even get an interview.<br><br>In all seriousness, if you put questionable aspects of you life/character on the web, in ANY form/location, you are reckless regarding your own future, also known as an idiot.
      Economister
      • I agree...

        @Economister

        Most people are idiots in search of a village. People do not understand what the spagetti test is regarding social media. If you wouldn't tape it to your front door for all your neighbors to see, you shouldn't post it on the web.
        dave01234
      • RE: Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

        @Economister ... True ... but incomplete. Never label people as fools; you were such a fool at one time also. More importantly are the slugs and dregs that will make stuff up about you and spread it around. Your followers, if you're facing reality about who you let follow you, may know better, but not a stranger or gvt Fed or state agency.
        Actually, a Google on Economister
        turns up some interesting information on you and how well you don't have much hidden away from the public. Yet call anyone who does that a fool.
        Placing an entire group of people under one negative label such as "fool" is folly for anyone to do, let alone you. Unless you've stolen the name you appear to be shall we say less than great to do business with.
        tom@...
    • RE: Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

      @drf999
      I don't have a Facebook account either!! what do I do?? do you need one to get a job these days? apply on facebook LOL
      Hasam1991
    • RE: Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

      @drf999
      Same Here!
      dhays
    • No Facebook account = one less problem

      @drf999
      What you should do is stay as smart as you are and keep yourself that way.

      If you like you may join the global campaign that is underway to saturate Facebook with dead-end accounts populated with erroneous information. I maintain hundreds of such with automated scripting simulating normal activity. Since it pumps their numbers Facebook doesn't really mind, it's just another aspect of Zuckerberg et al. studiously avoid the serious problems they are creating for personal freedom. Having people know Facebook to be an an unreliable miasma is the best thing for driving out the data miners and other parasites who feed on it.
      schmandel@...
  • RE: Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

    As an employer I wouldn't hire someone with a Facebook account. No need to ask for their password. Just ask them if they have a Facebook account. If the answer is yes then end of interview.
    Goldie07
    • RE: Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

      @Goldie07: That would be illegal in The UK and I'm guessing USA too?
      bradavon
      • RE: Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

        @bradavon Under UK law (RIPA), it's illegal to not disclose your password when requested to by law enforcement or during a criminal case (http://www.zdnet.com/blog/igeneration/uk-teenager-jailed-for-not-disclosing-password/6372) - so if the police asked you during a recruitment interview, it could be interpreted as such.
        zwhittaker
      • RE: Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

        @bradavon

        Illegal in the US as well you just can't discriminate against some one because you dislike their ideals.
        Vasiliw
    • RE: Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

      @Goldie07 apparently you have no intention of hiring any persons out of college or anyone in touch with society. As an advertiser, social media is a great tool that can and has been used effectively. Not everything on Facebook is bad, and for you to have that blanket approach is down right ridiculous.
      orangeshirtguy
      • Advertising and social media

        @orangeshirtguy<br><br>Great tool for whom? I don't want your intrusive, targeted and stupid ads in my face.
        Economister
      • RE: Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

        @Economister

        What are you talking about? Just ignore the ads. It's very simple. I do it everyday all over the internet. I couldn't tell what they were promoting anywhere EXCEPT on Zdnet. Zdnet's ads are very intrusive...I just clicked to close two flybys before being able to read this article. Yet, you still come here. I'm sure you'll say you use adblock, which is pretty much like pirating the whole internet that's free because of the ads.
        Jared Neale
      • RE: Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

        @orangeshirtguy >>

        Guess you don't use the right browser/tools. AdBlockPro, Ghostery, and turning on my popup blocker=NO ads bothering me.
        AttackComputerWhiz
      • RE: Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

        @orangeshirtguy Well I can say one thing. I'm targeted by something from my FB page...I avoid them like the plague. So in my opinion - it fails from a marketing perspective.
        ItsTheBottomLine
    • Any reason?

      Any reason why? This seems extreme to say the least.
      safesax2002
    • Why would you want to be sued out of business?

      @Goldie07
      Becasue that's what would happen.

      Let me know when your going out of busness sale starts. I want to see what I can get on the cheap!
      Will Farrell
    • RE: Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

      @Goldie07
      You're a pretty stupid boss. Of course that's probably a compliment for a luddite such as yourself.
      RAV555@...
    • RE: Should you give up your Facebook password for a dream job?

      @Goldie07 What about people that spend their time posting useless comments on tech blogs? Would you hire them?

      It's kindof silly to immediately discount over half a billion people just because they use social networking. Also, my guess is you aren't actually an employer.
      clokverkorange