The economy remains stagnant and job-seekers do not have much leverage in many instances these days. So what would you do if, during an interview, the interviewer asked you to provide him with your Facebook username and password so he could take a look at non-public items on your Facebook account such as your posts, photos and interaction with friends?
According to The Associated Press, requests for applicant's login information during interviews are becoming more common lately, even by government agencies hiring employees such as police officers or 911 dispatchers. Other employers stop short of asking applicants to provide login information, but instead ask the applicant to "friend" the company's human resource managers or to log in to Facebook on a company computer during the interview.
While applicants are typically taken aback by such requests, the AP reports that most people comply because they really want or need the job. In McLean County, Ill., for example, the sheriff's office asks job applicants to sign into their social media accounts during interviews so the sites can be screened by the sheriff's office. Chief Deputy Rusty Thomas of that office said that applicants have a right to refuse, "but no one has ever done so." According to Thomas, that "speaks well of the people we have apply."
That is one way to look at it. According to others, such as Lori Andrews, a law professor at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, the fact that people comply with requests to examine their Facebook pages speaks more to the power of coercion than to the applicants' character. Andrews says that "voluntarily" providing such access to employers "is coercion if you need a job."
Posted by Bruce Carton on March 20, 2012 at 04:21 PM