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Hiring? Don’t ask for Facebook passwords!

By now, it’s pretty well known that recruiters and hiring managers often go beyond resumes and references to get a better picture of their prospective employees—by searching for publicly displayed information on the Internet. Lately, though, a disturbing new trend has emerged: a number of employers have taken the intrusive measure of asking job candidates to provide their Facebook login information. In other words, demanding to invade their privacy.

Of course, if such a situation makes a prospective employee uncomfortable, he can simply refuse to continue his candidacy or refuse a job offer from the company in question. But in areas where the supply chain job market is more competitive, applicants might feel pressured to disclose personal information.

It’s understandable that employers want to hire people who are not only well qualified for a position, but will also represent their company in a positive light. As a result, many companies scan social media sites to gain insight into what qualities candidates for employment possess.

But a blatant invasion of privacy, such as asking for passwords, not only affects the job applicant, it may also put companies in a legal bind. Employers that search through personal social media accounts may find information that they are not lawfully able to use due to anti-discrimination laws.  Even if employers keep discriminatory questions off an application or refrain from using them in interviews, accessing a person’s Facebook account can reveal information such as sexual orientation, race, age, gender identity and national origin.

If employers discover personal details that identify an applicant as a member of a protected group, they can set themselves up for accusations of discrimination in hiring practice. Companies that collect Facebook passwords from their job candidates are grappling with a double-edged sword.

In addition, companies that collect the Facebook passwords of their applicants may be violating other regulations. Facebook has responded to these cases by referring the media to the network’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which makes it a violation for users to distribute login information and to access other users’ accounts.

An employer does not need information about what someone does during personal time through non-company-related social media. The information that an employer needs to know—work ethic, honesty or other ethics—can be properly discovered through references, background checks, and information that is displayed publicly on the web.

Although actions by Facebook (and by politicians) may stop employers from collecting passwords from job applicants, ultimately, people must protect their own right to privacy. A job applicant can choose to disclose social media login information to a prying company. However, should you come across such an employer, you should instead take a stand for privacy rights and take your skills to another company that will respect your personal life.

Looking for more tips on how to handle the interview process? Contact ZDA Partners today, or browse our supply chain job openings today!

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