We have all been warned to keep our social networking profiles clean from any incriminating evidence. But even the strongest of privacy settings may not be able to protect you from employer’s newest strategy: directly asking for the login information.
Now, the majority of applicants would balk at this idea. An employer asking to invade my personal domain? How could it get worse? But, if you look at it from the business side of it the idea does not seem so extreme.
Let me start of by saying I am playing devil’s advocate on this issue. Yes I agree that it is a major invasion of privacy but what it enables employers to do is find who is telling the truth. Anyone who has ever been through an interview knows that the person we present is not necessarily the person we intend to be. The majority of interviewees put in a certain facade (complete with padded resumes) in hopes of catching the eyes of potential employers. Employers gaining access to their Facebook profiles may have that façade crumbling down.
For me, the new proposition poses no issue. There is nothing on my Facebook that I feel needs to be hidden (even the large amount of nerdiness my profile contains). Sure, I would prefer that my employer did not see the personal details of my life but if it cannot be helped, then so be it.
This willingness to allow my future employer access to my Facebook may be the reason for a potential hire. While other applicants would recoil in horror I would be excited to tour my future employer through my page, photos and even the depths of my timeline. The fact that I have nothing to hide would prove to my employer that I am a genuine employee and would instill confidence that I would bring an honest work ethic.
Yes, it is an invasion of privacy, but it is not as if this is the only tool employers have at their disposable. A simple Google search is enough to find anything incriminating posted to the Internet and the majority of information can be bought online. Facebook profiling puts more of the control in your own hands.
You can now decide what type of image you wish to present to your employer. You can clean up your profile and make Facebook more of a work network than a social network. If this does become common practice it is not as if society could not adjust. Making a second, more “official”-looking Facebook would become common practice. This would actually be beneficial to many applicants because it can store only the most important and presentable information.
This method of using your Facebook to work for you turns Facebook profiling against the employer. But checking for potential applicants is not the only benefit this Facebook profiling could bring. The majority of us (especially those who have worked before) know that adding your manager or supervisor is not a common practice. Because everything is timestamped, your manager seeing your posts could get you in a lot of trouble. We have all heard the horror stories of the worker who calls in sick and then posts pictures of him/her out on the town. Again, the second profile would be a quick fix in this situation.
Having access to your employee’s Facebook while at work would also be beneficial. I know I spent some time on Facebook while I worked on my internship last summer, and my manager himself would check his messages many times throughout the day. Facebook presents so much time wasting opportunity and future employers know that they have to do something to put a stop to it, even something as drastic as getting login information.
The good news is, for any worried applicants, the chances are a practice like this would not pass. We have seen the power that the Internet holds as a social tool and if Facebook profiling were to become acceptable it is quite likely that millions of people would stand against it.
Sara Naor is a second-year film and media studies major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.