Author Topic: Employers asking about FB  (Read 4331 times)

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Danika

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Employers asking about FB
« on: October 07, 2012, 07:31:31 PM »
I have several friends who are looking for jobs. Some have mentioned that employers have asked them about their Facebook use. They were asked if they had Facebook accounts. The ones who told me about this don't have Facebook accounts and so the discussions went no further.

I'm wondering what these employers would want if my friends did in fact have Facebook accounts. Do the employers even have a right to ask about this? Would they then try to ask for passwords? Do they just want the direct link to the profile so they can see if the interviewee does anything or has friends or political leanings that they don't like?

I am not looking for a job, and I don't have anything on Facebook that I would be embarrassed by, but to me, it's still personal. I wouldn't want an employer to see photos of my small children, or learn that I love chocolate and dislike cantaloupe. Those things are personal and I don't think it's any of their business.

Do any of you have experience with this? What's the best way to answer questions about personal things like this if you're in a job interview? I would want to say something like "My Facebook use is personal and has no relevance to my job" but I wonder if that's too harsh.

Shoo

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Re: Employers asking about FB
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2012, 07:34:22 PM »

Do any of you have experience with this? What's the best way to answer questions about personal things like this if you're in a job interview? I would want to say something like "My Facebook use is personal and has no relevance to my job" but I wonder if that's too harsh.
That's exactly what I would say, too.  If that wasn't good enough for this prospective employer, then I'd seriously reconsider working for them.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Employers asking about FB
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2012, 07:44:52 PM »
A lot of companies are checking for whether or not the potential employee has pics showing excessive partying, etc.  I remember watching that show about casting the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and one of the girls was cut because of drunk pics on Facebook.

I was reading an article a while back that indicated lack of presence on social media sites for 20 to 30 somethings was 'suspicious'.  Was the profile deleted because they had incriminating photos on there, for instance.

I'm not on Facebook so I could answer truthfully, anyway, but if I was?  I'd probably ask, 'Why do you want to know?'  And depending on their answer, I'd give an answer from using it to keep in touch with friends and family to it's personal.  And if they asked for access?  I'd refuse.  And if I didn't get the job, so be it.
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kareng57

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Re: Employers asking about FB
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2012, 08:26:47 PM »
A lot of companies are checking for whether or not the potential employee has pics showing excessive partying, etc.  I remember watching that show about casting the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and one of the girls was cut because of drunk pics on Facebook.

I was reading an article a while back that indicated lack of presence on social media sites for 20 to 30 somethings was 'suspicious'.  Was the profile deleted because they had incriminating photos on there, for instance.

I'm not on Facebook so I could answer truthfully, anyway, but if I was?  I'd probably ask, 'Why do you want to know?'  And depending on their answer, I'd give an answer from using it to keep in touch with friends and family to it's personal.  And if they asked for access?  I'd refuse.  And if I didn't get the job, so be it.


I'm not on Facebook either - and I'm job-hunting right now.  However, I'm over 50 and would hope that it would count against me at my age.

While we don't want to get legal here, depending on the jurisdiction it can be considered the norm to ask candidates about their Facebook access.  According to DS #2, even if the candidate is not shown doing anything in the least bit questionable, sometimes it can show employers things like what you're currently reading.  And if it's something like "What To Expect When You're Expecting".........you get the idea.

I do agree that a reply such as "is there a reason why you need this information" might be the best bet.

Only me

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Re: Employers asking about FB
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2012, 08:36:11 PM »
Hi

I read an article over a year ago about employers asking to have the people they might higher, to give them their password, or to at least sign in as themselves and let the employer poke around or to be accepted as a friend on person's profile to poke around. Some people are actually desperate enough to do this.

there was a lot of legal discussion in the article also.

I get it that someone might be desperate for a job, but there is a reason facebook has privacy settings. I hope no one ever has to go through it.

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Venus193

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Re: Employers asking about FB
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2012, 08:47:30 PM »
Agreeing with most of the above except for one thing:  It's not personal anymore once it's as public as Facebook is.  That doesn't mean I think it's at all OK for prospective employers to snoop this way but whether it's legal for them to do so or not, they will.

Asking for passwords is a big red flag because nobody needs your password to see your FB stuff unless you have it locked down tight.  I only have a few FB friends and only they can post on my page.  If that looks suspicious to anyone, tough noogies. 

If your password is in someone else's hands they can change things on your page and post under your identity.  That is unacceptable.

If anyone were to ask for my password I would terminate the interview because I couldn't work for anyone who felt s/he was entitled to make this demand.

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Re: Employers asking about FB
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2012, 09:39:34 PM »
hoo boy!  I plan seminars on this very topic and it is a biggie depending on the state that you live in. I have no experience in non US locations or for non educational employers

Employers have the right to ask you (so far) and you have the right to deflect the question.

From what I have found, in most states you can tell a prospective employer that you are not comfortable giving them that information and they CANNOT push you on it.  That being said.  they have your first name, possibly middle name, last name, date of birth, college, possibly high school, and email address.  If your profile is not completely locked down, you will be found.

If you tell your employer that you do not have Facebook and they find out that you do and are posting about your students or the district, you may (depending on where you are) be fired with cause and denied unemployment.

Social Media is a HUGE gray area and school districts at every level are working their way through the legal aspects of everything.  Based on previous court cases, you always have the right to decline to provide social media information.  But you never know if losing out on a job is because of your declination to provide your social media passwords.
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Joeschmo

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Re: Employers asking about FB
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2012, 09:55:06 PM »
Some jobs may want you to have a fb presence and understand the value of it.  I know of one person who works as Social Media *fancy title* for a company so her knowledge of fb was part of her job.  It could be a sign of a boss without boundaries or they may want to know if you'll manage the company fb page.

kherbert05

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Re: Employers asking about FB
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2012, 10:40:22 PM »
Last year my school district tried to say you could not friend/have social media contact with any student in the district.


My district is made up of several small towns. Their was a huge outcry, and threats of lawsuits because people want to friend


  • Their kids (I know 2 parents that were threatened with write ups/dismissal because they refused to defriend their kids)
  • Their minor relatives (These can be very convoluted extended families.There are 2 extended families that include most of the staff of my school as in my 3rd cousin married her 4th cousin)
  • Their kids' friends
  • Are 'required' to friend kids in various youth groups that run for their churches
  • Are strongly encouraged to join on line groups for their children's sports teams especially elite ones that can lead to scholarships. Sometimes the social sites are the only way to get information about games and tournaments.
The district revised its policy. You cannot friend/have social media contact with students, unless you have a previous relationship through an outside group.
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wheeitsme

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Re: Employers asking about FB
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2012, 10:56:33 PM »
I can see of different sides of the story.  I think it's okay if employers ask if you have an account.  I think how someone answers might be informative.  I could see where an employer wouldn't want someone addicted to farmville, or who posted inappropriately, etc.   But I think it's completely inappropriate for an employer to request any passwords or even access to see your page if you are discrete enough to keep it private from them.

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Re: Employers asking about FB
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2012, 11:34:01 PM »
I think it can be a a mindfield. I don't have anything I care if other people read on my facebook. You might discover I have a really high interest in cute animal pictures and that I generally have a boring life - nothing i post couldn't be published on the front page of the New York Times - but it would be too boring to make the cut! :-) on the other hand once someone gets your private info then you can make a discrimination case against them if they don't hire you. Say you are a woman and have another woman listed as "in a relationship with" on your page - if you don't get hired you can say it is because they found out about your sexual orientation and therefore are discriminating against you. Now it is on them to prove otherwise (okay Id on't know if sexual orientation is a protected class but you get my drift). I would stay away from asking for FB info in an interview if I was an employer. I think it is legal right now but I also think it is a bad idea on all sides.

lady_disdain

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Re: Employers asking about FB
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2012, 11:52:44 PM »
I actually think it is a pretty good question for the candidate.

Today, going into an interview, I would assume that HR had done a basic online check - google, facebook, linkedin. All of this is public information and I wouldn't consider checking these as invasive. This question gives the candidate an opportunity to answer "yes, but it is strictly private" (points for a candidate that won't, in the future, embarrass the company), "No, I do not use social media" (except for a few positions, this would be a neutral answer) or "Yes, but under a different name. It seems that someone with my name has a pretty colorful life, though" (aka, the Cancun pictures are not of me, I just have a common name). It also allows candidates to talk about how they use social media to develop a network (if applicable).

However, I would decline to friend them (unless I gave the networking answer, of course!). If asked for my password, I would walk out. Yes, I feel that strongly about it.

CakeBeret

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Re: Employers asking about FB
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2012, 12:20:34 AM »
I keep my FB locked down. You can search for me and see my profile photo, but you can't see much beyond that.

That said, my page is entirely G-rated. It's mostly about my kid, to be honest. I post pictures of him, funny things he says, jokes about parenting. I occasionally post something lighthearted about myself, such as "you know you're a nerd when..." jokes or funny photos like "How to Kill an Introvert". There is nothing on my page that I would object to being posted on a billboard, although I would be displeased to see my fat butt displayed on a billboard. :P

I would *not* give a potential employer my password. Oh heck no. I would consider letting them look at my page, because really, there's nothing to hide. But I don't feel that it's any of their business, and I would be uncomfortable being asked about it.

Now, I do have a super secret Twitter account. I can't tell anyone I have it because they'll want to follow me on Twitter, and then I will have to keep it G-rated just like my Facebook. ::) I use my Twitter acct to follow rock bands and humor blogs, enjoy off-color jokes, that sort of thing. I don't use my real name and there's no way to link it to me (can't be found by searching my email address). If asked, I would probably tell the employer that I don't have a a Twitter acct at all.
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greencat

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Re: Employers asking about FB
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2012, 01:56:36 AM »
There is some information that people commonly have on Facebook, that, although not socially objectionable in any way, could be used as the basis of discriminatory hiring decisions on the part of an employer.  There are many "protected categories" that are revealed by the basic demographic questions on Facebook, which are somewhat difficult to prevent it from displaying.

Fortunately, no job interview that I've had in the last several months has asked me this, and I've now found a job so I'm not going to have to...but unless the job I was getting needed a social media presence and my knowledge and possession of a Facebook account was actually relevant to my job duties, I wouldn't want to take a job where the interviewer asked me that - and if it was a large enough company, I'd be writing someone higher up than the interviewer an e-mail expressing my concerns over the interviewer's attempt to access potentially discriminatory information.

Mopsy428

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Re: Employers asking about FB
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2012, 02:10:00 AM »
If my employer wants to know if I have a Facebook account, he can search me on Facebook himself and find out. The public can see my picture and network, and that's about it. There's a reason that it's private. Who I am dating, what religion I practice, and what my political beliefs are are none of my employer's business.