Have employers gone too far?

March 29, 2012
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Sonya Khanna

Business Editor



Several cases have surfaced recently reporting the increasing popularity of invasive hiring practices adopted by companies. Recent outrage surrounding these unorthodox hiring practices raises the issue as to whether employers have pushed the boundaries, engaging in a seemingly unethical means of acquiring information. Facebook has become a crucial component to the hiring process, with many companies freely looking into open applicant profiles to gain a broader understanding of applicants.

Much to the concern of job candidates, these request have gained popularity with many large firms. In the quest to gain a broader spectrum of information on applicants, many employers have sought to use forms of social media to look into personality characteristics of applicants. Social media, including Facebook, provide insight into your overall character, delving into personal interests, social life and analyzing how you engage in social interaction. The problem arises when firms take advantage of the vulnerability of job candidates.

According to a report by the Boston Globe, when statistician Justin Bassett interviewed for a job in New York, he was prompted to answer basic interview questions; however, was taken aback when the interviewer requested for his Facebook login information. Bassett refused and withdrew his application. By opting out of this viagra online unorthodox request applicants will make it apparent that this is a blatant breach of privacy, an aspect to one’s personal life that need not be dissected by strangers.

It's unnerving to think about how this may impact future job seekers. A dry job market coupled with these shrewd business practices, seem to back applicants into a corner. Picture this ill-fated scenario: after endless job hunting, the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and you’ve secured your first big job interview. You eagerly put your best game face on, ready to tackle any questions that may come your way. Then the walls around you come crashing down, as you are bombarded with one question that throws you off – ‘can you please hand over your Facebook password’.

“I don’t think that this will succeed because the majority of individuals will not be keen to give their Facebook password,” says McMaster University student, Sheena Khaper. “I wouldn’t give my FB password, but then again if I really wanted to get the job, it would be difficult to turn down the request, especially if I didn’t have any other job prospects.”

This method of applicant screening raises questions surrounding the ethical nature of the practices. Recent outrange has spawned discussion for a legislation to be implemented in Illinois and Maryland, prohibiting companies from requesting such personal information.

As social media becomes an increasingly influential component of society, iffy hiring practices may continue to dissolve previous Human Resources regulations, with firms establishing new norms deemed acceptable, though potentially invasive. With a lack of job opportunities, applicants may bite the bullet and comply with said requests. However, rather than catering to corporate ‘Nazis’, individuals can follow other methods to comply with these practices. There’s always the option of creating a decoy Facebook profile chock-full of PG photographs, appropriate for watchful employers.

This will allow you to demonstrate what makes you a compelling candidate without shining the spotlight on irrelevant photos of youthful tomfoolery from years past - employers need not be enlightened on your keg stand abilities, as impressive as they may be. Although, this isn’t to say that your original profile should contain a slew of scantily clad photos of yourself. If this method seems to cumbersome of a task, you always have the right to refuse. While these requests may be gaining popularity, many employers still haven't adopted this method and continued backlash may erupt if these highly unethical practices continue in the years to come.





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