Most Facebook profiles are set to private. It has become a common practice for prospective employers to log in and check up on job candidates’ public pages. Now, they are asking to see more, by asking job candidates to hand over their passwords. Laura Nettik has seen it. "Give me your password. Do I have access to give your information, to do a post by itself. No you don’t"
Like many people on social networking sites, Laura has personal information shared among family and friends. It is not information she would share with her employer. “I just don't like the fact that they can get in to see my son, or to see me.”
Companies are also asking applicants to “friend” human resource managers, or log in to a company computer while in an interview. Orion Vietrell is among many who say it's an outright, and unnecessary, invasion of privacy. "It just seems like if you are able to go to work, and be a good employee, why do they need to look into your private life and try to exploit whatever it is that they want to find out.”
But job applicants may never find out the company was looking. Because there are apps that draw information from your friend list. Nettik says she wouldn't want to work for a company that does such things, but Vietrell says in the current economy, some may not have a choice. "I would like to say that I could find another job, but unfortunately there are a lot of people out there that aren't in that position."
There are laws pending in Maryland and Illinois that would make it illegal for public employers to access personal information. Some say that law should be extended across the U.S. to protect all employees.