In Episode 31 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in The Happywork Agreement, the work code of conduct I’ve written to help bring happiness to the sorriest workplaces.
And this one is a doozy. It goes like this: “I will not ask prospective or current employees for their social media passwords, nor will I force them to show me what they’ve posted on their private social media accounts. This is a level of privacy invasion that is completely unacceptable. (Yes, this has happened.)”
And can you believe it? Yes, this happens! In fact, as late as early 2013, Illinois became only the second state to ban these employer requests.
As someone who’s had a few jobs in his day, I understand exactly what is going on here. The hiring process is a crapshoot for both sides. Employers look at resumes and interview candidates, trying to find the most qualified person. However, people lie on resumes all the time. Job applicants are largely an unknown quantity to employers. On the other side, job seekers, when afforded the time and opportunity, try to pick the best place to work using the very limited information at their fingertips. You don’t really know what it’s going to be like to work at an organization until you work there.
Crapshoots involve risk, and smart people work hard to mitigate risk.
How can both sides learn more about each other? The Internet!
Companies would do well to have all sorts of pertinent information out on their website and social channels for job applicants to chew on. If there is competition for great candidates, you want to be “talking” to those candidates while they’re doing their job search due diligence. If you’re a company showing them you have nothing to hide, and the other company is tight-lipped, who do you think most conscientious people are going to go with?
Well, what do companies have to work with, short of hiring a private detective to tail you for a couple weeks? Your musings on social media! HR departments are veritable sleuths now, scoping out anything and everything they can on a candidate. They’re looking for anything that will tip the scales one way or the other.
When they can’t find anything, apparently they sometimes turn to some ballsy tactics. They ask job applicants for their social media passwords, so they can log in and take a close look at what’s being posted. Or, and this would seemingly be even worse (for some reason), they’ll have the candidate sit at a chair and make them log in to their accounts while company personnel stand over their shoulders.
If this ever happens to you, get out of there. You don’t want that job. Draw a line in the sand and say, “Stay out of my personal life.” True, we’re putting more personal shit on social media than ever before, and some of those postings could reveal a strong character with proper judgement, or just the opposite.
But if I have my social media accounts locked down, or you just can’t find them because your Googling skills suck, then you’re just going to have to interview me again. No, you cannot have private access to my social media accounts!
— — — — —
— — — — —
Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Thank you!