There has been a lot of news about a few firms asking potential hires for their Facebook passwords during the interview process. The issue is so important that it was added to legislation in the House (but was voted down).
Social media creeping has been in the hiring toolkit since Google and social media made your online personality searchable to the world. In fact, 91% of hiring managers use social media to screen applicants. Interestingly, LinkedIn shows up third in the platform rankings:
- 76% look on Facebook
- 56% look on Twitter
- 48% look on LinkedIn
The use of social media for screening has been increasing as hiring managers discover the richness of the personal information available. In the old days (2009) the hiring manager would search (45% of them, anyway) and then perhaps demand that you Friend someone at the company (back in 2009 it probably wasn’t the hiring manager, it may have been the intern or new hire).
Now, the news is full of employers demanding the candidate’s password. Naturally, this has caused an uproar and even Facebook has issued statements saying that the practice is probably illegal.
So, it’s best to avoid companies so mired in the past that they feel it’s ok to barge into an applicant’s personal space online. Still, keep your profile clean and test what others’ can see of you. Best practice is:
- Ensure your ratio of thoughtful comments to drunken photos is high, a blog can be helpful here and will populate Google with thoughtful insights
- Ask your friends to untag you from particularly egregious photos, or do it yourself
- Refuse to provide your Facebook password, if you still want to work at a company that would ask for it simply remind the interviewer that your friends all share their information with you, not the employer, and that it’s a violation of their privacy for you to share it – this should remind the company that they wouldn’t want you sharing their private information with others
- Get an associate who is not a friend to search on your name and see what comes up, remember that if you’re logged into Google your search results can be very different than another person’s
And, if you’re looking for a career change in the digital industry, check us out!