Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Facebook and Job Interviews

Before I go off on my rant, feast your eyes on this:

In case it's too small for you to see, that's 568 points for me and 303 for Carl. Victory is mine!
I get a little too excited when I top my WWF high scores, and last night this game made history as my personal best. Such a proud moment, made even better by the fact that it was in a game against Carl.

Anyways, this morning I was listening to an interview with the head of a social media consulting firm- yes, those exist now apparently- when they started to talk about this article run by the Post and Courier today. Admittedly, I'm not normally one to keep up with current events. I understand the tremendous value of being an in-the-know citizen and I've tried everything possible to force feed the news to myself but nothing seems to work. I get notifications from both CNN and local news on my phone but they usually just get in the way of far more important things (like Words With Friends with Carl, obviously). I've tried setting my home page on my computer to various news organizations but again, I inevitably breeze right past them to check my email or bank account without reading a single headline. I don't know if it's just a matter of not wanting to depress myself by reading about the latest natural or political disaster, or if I've become one of those self-absorbed idiots that doesn't even know the name of our vice president but can name Lady Gaga's last 5 releases in order of decreasing popularity, but I just cannot keep up with the news to save my life. The latter can't be true because I don't regularly listen to Lady Gaga (and I know all about Joe Biden, thank you very much), so it has to be some sort of subliminal aversion to things that are going to put a damper on my day, and the news normally fits the bill for that. Today, however, I took particular interest in the aforementioned news story, which hit really close to home for me. My generation is unique in that you can find out anything you want to know about somebody without having to actually ever converse with that person, or even leave your house for that matter. It's sometimes scary to think about the amount of information that can be dug up about me with very little effort. I think that ability gets taken to an extreme when it comes to job searching and the interview process. I can understand a potential employer being reluctant to hire a candidate whose profile picture on Facebook is of them bonging a beer or making out with two girls at once- obviously this person not only demonstrated poor judgment, but they decided to advertise it to all of their friends and family. That one's a no-brainer. I think there needs to be a line drawn at some point, though. Asking an interviewee to provide their Facebook login information so that their profile can be picked over with a fine-tooth comb seems an invasion of privacy, particularly when that person has opted to take advantage of security features that keep their profile hidden from the general public. If the employer can't find the profile, then what business is it of theirs to know what's on it if it's not publicly accessible information? It doesn't seem fair to turn down a candidate for a job based on private information, and I side with Mr. Kerr who says, "it's akin to requiring somebody's house keys." As somebody who will more than likely have a job interview before Facebook comes to an end I find it disheartening to know that what I choose to put on my private page could compromise my chance at a job. I'm interested to see if anything pans out with this "proposed legislation" in Illinois and Maryland, and it's comforting to know that our lawmakers are at least questioning the practice. I'd also love to hear others' opinions on this so feel free to chime in!

1 comment:

  1. I recently read about that, too. It's an invasion of privacy and goes against many federal privacy laws. I really don't think anything that requires you to give out password information is going to happen anytime soon.

    Also, there's a number of things employers cannot legally ask you/you don't have to answer:

    Obviously, each article needs to be taken with a critical thinking approach, but at least it's nice to know the world isn't totally against you.