Why Would You Want An Applicant’s Facebook Password?

Meredith Soleau Bad HR, Candidate Pool, Meredith Soleau, Uncategorized

There is a new trend in recruiting.

Find out everything we can, and weed people out for jobs from there.


That’s nothing new.

That’s what we do.

  • I’ve been known to Google someone everyone before I make a job offer.
  • I recruit on Facebook and Twitter.
  • I make assumptions about people based on what I see.
  • I’ve tossed applicants in the “no” pile for listing “smokesweed420@gmail.com” as an email address.

It’s human nature to be judgy.  I get it.  I do it, too.

But I think we’re starting to go too far in our quest to know everything we can about an applicant.

A former co-worker of mine told me she was asked for her Facebook password, and she asked me what I thought about it. I was concerned. I asked her how badly she wanted to work for a company that allows her no privacy whatsoever.

Ask yourself this, Recruiters & HR Pros, would YOU share your log in information?

I wouldn’t share mine with you. You don’t NEED to read my private messages.

But if you did, here is what you would find with just my last 10 messages:

  • My mother is recovering from knee surgery.  She has arthritis, and they had to scrape it out. It’s very graphic.
  • My HR friend does not like her company.
  • We’re planning a family vacation.
  • I have a homosexual friend who has found his true love, and he is getting ready to propose.  I am helping decide on the most awesome proposal.
  • My husband and I were invited to go out for drinks with another couple.
  • I’m having a hilarious political debate.
  • I’m courting an applicant and scheduling an interview.
  • My friend has cancer.
  • I’m giving lots of HR advice to a reader.
  • My cousin wants me to know she is cool with my decision to leave the church and find a new one.

These are the big no-no’s you found out about me:

  • My family medical history is all over the place.
  • I support gay marriage.
  • I support my HR friends when they hate their jobs, and I help them find new jobs.
  • I think Ron Paul is sexy in a smart way, and I loathe the thought of Nationalized Healthcare.
  • I’m a Christian who is church shopping.
  • I have a million children (okay, three, but it feels like a million when I think about them on an airplane).
  • I like alcohol.  In particular, I like a new shot that we all tried a few weeks ago (Chocolate Covered Pretzel).

If I had a private profile (which I do), and if I didn’t want you to know these things about me (I couldn’t really care less, but that’s just me, I tend to overshare), YOU WOULD TOTALLY KNOW THEM!

I wondered if a lot of employers are doing this, or if she applied at some rare unicorn magic manifestation factory that doesn’t understand the legal implications that could result from knowing so much.  After all, when you work somewhere that makes unicorn magic, employment law isn’t really that big of a deal.

I turned to Google.

employers asking for facebook password - Google Search

employers asking for facebook password - Google Search-1

Wow! A lot of places are doing this, and they don’t even have unicorn magic at their disposal to keep applicants from suing them!

I know what you’re going to say, “They put it all out there on Facebook anyway.” Yes, some people do.  But some people don’t.  And really, should we even connect with people who don’t desire to make our friendship Facebook official?

I don’t Friend Request an employee or applicant.  If they ask me, I happily accept.  But if they don’t want to share, fine by me.  I’m certainly not taking my ball and going home over it.

I would say I know more HR Pros who refuse to even accept a Friend Request from an applicant or employee because they a) don’t want to know too much about the employees’ personal lives and b) they don’t want the applicant/employee to know too much about their personal lives.

Asking for Facebook passwords is a serious invasion of privacy.

What’s next?  Visiting their homes and opening their kitchen cupboards?

photo (1)

That door stays closed for a reason.  It’s messy in there!

Are you with me or against me on this?  If you’re against me, prove me wrong in the comments.  I’m seriously interested in why this is happening, and I am begging you to explain it to me.

*If you’re with me, I like your shoes and your hair looks pretty today.*

What do you think?  Where is the unicorn-magic-privacy line drawn?