On the off chance that you’ve been hiding under a rock, there’s been a stack of news stories about organizations (both private and governmental) demanding people’s Facebook passwords as part of the process of applying for jobs, with much associated hand-wringing.
In “I hereby Resign“, Raganwald discusses the downside to employers of demanding to look through people’s Facebook profiles:
I got her out of the room as quickly as possible. The next few interviews were a blur, I was shaken. And then it happened again. This time, I found myself talking to a young man fresh out of University about a development position. After allowing me to surf his Facebook, he asked me how I felt about parenting. As a parent, it was easy to say I liked the idea. Then he dropped the bombshell.
His partner was expecting, and shortly after being hired he would be taking six months of parental leave as required by Ontario law. I told him that he should not have discussed this matter with me. “Oh normally I wouldn’t, but since you’re looking through my Facebook, you know that already. Now of course, you would never refuse to hire someone because they plan to exercise their legal right to parental leave, would you?”
I think it’s a fascinating bit of chaotic blowback, and one that employers and applicants will be exposed to more and more as “social network background check” services help focus what search engines or marketers can already tell us.
In other words, be careful what you ask for, you might just get it.
For the first time in a long time, I’m tempted to set up a Facebook account.