facebookpicHas this happened to you – an interviewer asking for your Facebook password during the interview? It’s more common than you might think. It’s known as Shoulder Surfing.   This is actually a violation in Facebook’s privacy policy says Lori Andrews, a law professor specializing in Internet privacy.

Did you know that in May 2011 the FTC made a ruling that companies can use social media information as part of a background check? The catch here is that this information must be available from public databases. So if a company asks interviewees for their Facebook passwords, it could be considered illegal.

Some people may require a deeper background check such as those working in law enforcement or defense, and in those cases the employer may find it necessary to gain access to private data from social media, as it would directly effect a job seeker’s qualifications. In those instances, it would be more appropriate.

For the general job seeker, I wouldn’t recommend giving your Facebook password to anyone.

Here are some suggested responses from Joshua Waldman, Author of “Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies” in case you are asked to give your Facebook password at an interview):

  1. “I take my agreements very seriously. And it is against Facebook’s user policy to share my password with anyone else. I’m going to have to respectfully decline your request.
  2. I’m sure your firm has a social media policy. Well, it is my own social media policy to use Facebook for personal reasons. I mean no offense, but I’m going to have to decline.
  3. Privacy is a very serious matter for me. Should I be employed with your organization, I would honor private company information just as seriously as I honor my own. Even if this means losing a great opportunity for me, I must refuse your request. And know that if I were presented with a similar situation with your private information, I would respond in the same way.
  4. I wouldn’t want to jeopardize your organization’s standing with OFCCP’s regulations about asking about kids or other protected private matters in the course of an employment decision. Therefore, if you don’t mind, I’d prefer to keep my Facebook profile private. However, should you and I become friendly after my employment, I would have no problem having you in my network.”

Stay true to yourself and don’t let a company bully you into giving up your privacy. If a company is adamant about tapping into your private social media posts and information, will they be the best fit as your next potential employer?

[photo courtesy of freedigitaldownloads.net]