Editorial: Job interviews shouldn’t require Facebook login

Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist
Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist

As class of 2012 members prepare to graduate and find a job, they may expect certain personal questions to be asked of them in job interviews, but “What is your Facebook username and password?” is probably not one of them.

Recently, an emerging trend among employers has surfaced as they desire more information about prospective employees, but many question if the practice is legal.

From asking for login information, to asking applicants to login during an interview, to simply asking them to friend an HR representative, employers are trying to find out as much as they can about candidates before they make a hiring decision.

The line is thin, however, as they delve into the privacy of others.

Moreover, many candidates, while uncomfortable with the practice, feel cornered into giving their information out of fear of unemployment.

Two senators, Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) are drafting legislation to outlaw the practice and asking the federal government to look into the legality of the issue.

The senators said they are concerned the practice breaks anti-discrimination laws as it gives employers access to information they are not allowed to ask in interview such as religion, marital status, or whether or not the candidate is pregnant.

Not only does the practice potentially violate anti-discrimination laws, it also violates social networks’ terms of use policies.

The senators are right to stop this practice. Jobseekers desperate for jobs are willing to share information they wouldn’t otherwise because they need the work. The ACLU has stepped in to stop this coercion at some organizations before, but the policy needs to be stopped all together.

It is reasonable to ask candidates to friend HR representatives, but login information gives companies access to far too personal information.

Even asking applicants to login a company computer while in an interview so the interviewer can look around is too far.

While it is important for organizations to know whom they are hiring, there has to be a better way.

Once hired, employees are regularly asked to sign documents agreeing not to post any negative material about the organization.

This practice is also reasonable, but does not give the company any reason to believe it should be able to control any other aspect of their employees or applicants’ social media use.

Those about to graduate need to find where they stand on this issue.

Although they may face the choice to give over personal information or lose a job, a stance must be made, hopefully one that favors self-respect.

Employers need to be told there is a line between work-life and private-life. If the time comes to make the choice between privacy and a job, chose an employer that respects you enough to give you your privacy.

You shouldn’t have to give up your privacy to get a job, or feel forced into doing so.

Remember, you are more than an employee or an applicant, you’re a person and you have the right to keep certain information to yourself.