Employers Want Access To Your Facebook!

As employers become increasingly selective about whom they hire, it appears that some are taking the bold step of asking applicants for full access to their Facebook profiles, according to this article from the AP, which means handing over one’s username and password.  It is unclear how widespread this trend is, but one thing is clear: while social media has been a boon to job seekers’ ability to expand and utilize their network, there are many pitfalls associated with these sites that can derail a successful job search.  Job search authority John A. Challenger, CEOof global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., says employers should not have the right to ask for usernames and passwords and that candidates should refused to do so, but admits that not complying is likely to result in being eliminated from consideration.  That is, unless states enact laws to protect job applicants’ right to privacy.  “That being said, there are plenty of people out there who leave their social media profiles open for all to see.  It is important to understand that more and more employers are looking at whatever they can to inform the hiring decision.  Whether it is a photo from a college party posted on Facebook or incendiary comment on Twitter, employers are looking for anything that reveals more than candidates typically share in interviews.  Even a seemingly innocent remark on some social or political issue could put your candidacy at risk, if the hiring manager doesn’t happen to agree with your point of view.”  Should employers be allowed to ask for access to the non-public areas of one’s social media profile?  How should job seekers respond to such requests?  What can job seekers do to maximize the use of social media for the job search while minimizing the risk? 

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