Recently in the news we heard that certain Employers were asking potential applicants to reveal their Facebook accounts as part of the screening process. Online privacy is a big deal to a lot of people and despite Facebook sharing your statistics, there is an argument to be made that potential employers do not have the right to see someone’s Facebook page.
Well after all the online debate about it, we should have seen this coming. There is legislation headed to congress in the US that would actually make it illegal for potential employers to ask for access to your Facebook account.
The Social Networking Online Protection Act, introduced by Democratic Reps. Eliot Engel (N.Y.) and Jan Schakowsky (Ill.), would prohibit current or potential employers from demanding a username or password to a social networking account.
This of course does not stop them from Googling you and potentially tripping across your profile, but it is a step in the right direction.
Where I currently stand on this is simple. Where I live, a potential employer cannot ask for my religious or political alignment, so why should they be able to ask for my Facebook account (which likely states such things). Also for the most part, the recreation and hobbies outside of work is not something that should impact an individual’s credibility to an employer. I would hate to lose an opportunity just because someone made a snap judgement over my Justin Bieber & My Little Pony Facebook Profile Cover image.
The only impact your private life may have on potential employment is criminal activity, and if you are overly concerned about this there is room in the law to require a criminal record check as part of the application process. Most other social inconsistencies with direct relation to job performance can be determined through carefully asked questions in the interview.
The other side of this coin is that you represent yourself in your profile as to who you are and what you want to share. If you are public about being an extremist of any fashion and you publish it on your Facebook profile, then you are leaving yourself open to being judged by it – right or wrong.
I think that asking for access to the Facebook profile is a bluff. If you have something to hide, you likely will deny access. This automatically generates suspicion and would look like you are admitting guilt. But then if you just feel that is none of their business, are you sabotaging your chances at the job?