An explosive news article circulated the Internet last week informing people of what human resource personnel have been practicing at job interviews: Asking for your social media profile passwords and logins.
The first reaction I heard was “This has got to be illegal.”
Surprisingly, this request is perfectly legal, however unethical it may be. For example, during an interview, the interviewer is not allowed to ask anything about your sexual orientation, religious views or other aspects pertaining to your personal life.
The request for your profile login and password allows them access to this information, even if the public’s view of your profile wouldn’t normally show this information.
Discrimination of candidates based on their personal beliefs or sexual orientation constitutes as a threshold violation and makes it possible for persons damaged by discrimination to file suit with the EEOC against the company in question if they meet the required “threshold issues.” By giving up your information, there is almost no way to prove you were not hired because of your Facebook, Twitter or MySpace.
The fourth amendment is made to protect persons from unreasonable search and seizure; however, this has been interpreted time and time again to pertain mostly to government entities, and usually when warrants are involved or the cops are pulling you over.
These companies in the practice of asking for your social media information do not violate the fourth amendment because they are asking for the information, not demanding it. You can say no. But giving out your login information is against most social media policies. The remedy is the social media site deleting your profile at their discretion.
The easiest and most simple solution is saying “no” to the interviewer. You can tell someone you don’t agree with their practice. The next solution is the rude option of saying “As soon as you hand over yours.” Both of these options probably won’t net you the job you’re looking for, but would you really want to work for a company that would ask for this information in the first place? Think of all your options, and ask yourself “Just how desperate am I?”
Straight up deleting your profile will just look suspicious. Nearly 75 percent of America has a Facebook profile. It’s simply unrealistic if you’re not one of them.
My suggestion is to create a shadow profile, one that is you, but isn’t you. It’s the “face” Facebook. The pseudo profile will have your full name, is easily found and shows all the good things and none of the bad. This means no spring break pictures, just vague orientation information and no mention of political or religious views. When you are asked for your social media password, you can just hand it over, no problems. The same can be said for a lot of aspects in life. Do you really think my name is Jax?