GOOD READS

Employers Aren't Likely to Ask for Your Facebook Password

Everyone just calm down.

Despite what you may have heard in the past couple of weeks, most employers aren't asking job candidates to hand off their Facebook passwords.

This is not a trend. In fact, it's extremely rare. The article that started the near-pandemonium about this so-called trend cited a single case at an unnamed company, with the rest of its evidence coming from hiring practices at law enforcement and government agencies, which have always conducted thorough background checks. And those examples weren't even recent; one of the two agencies cited had already changed its policy last year after people complained.

Yet the news has been full of frenzied reports of this "growing trend" and "widespread practice"--when in reality, it's anything but.

You're highly unlikely to ever have an employer ask you for your Facebook password. It's about as likely as an interviewer asking to look in your purse--some oddball interviewer might request it, but it's hardly a common question or a growing trend. If it does happen, you can simply say, "I don't give out my password because it violates the site's terms of service, although I'd be happy to send you the link to view my profile."

That said, there are plenty of invasions of privacy in hiring, and it would make far more sense for the outrage to be focused there instead:

--Credit checks for positions where they're not relevant

--Requirements to provide a Social Security number just to submit an initial application

--Demands for your salary history

The credit check problem, at least, is beginning to get a bit of attention. Seven states have now restricted the use of credit checks in hiring, and there are pending bills that would do the same in several more states. There's also a bill in Congress--the Equal Employment for All Act--that would restrict the use of credit checks in hiring. And the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed a class-action discrimination lawsuit against a large company, alleging that its use of credit reports in hiring decisions disproportionately excludes male, African-American, and Latino candidates.

But employers continue to run amok over job candidates' privacy, regularly insisting on information that they have no business asking about. And they'll continue to do so--even ramping up these privacy violations--until people stand up and say that it's wrong and should stop.

The outrage that's been directed toward the Facebook passwords story should be directed toward the very real privacy invasions happening in interviewers' offices and online application systems every day. That's the real scandal, not a made-up trend that most people will never encounter.

Alison Green writes the popular Ask a Manager blog, where she dispenses advice on career, job search, and management issues. She's also the author of Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Leader's Guide to Getting Results and former chief of staff of a successful nonprofit organization, where she oversaw day-to-day staff management, hiring, firing, and employee development.



More From US News & World Report

Quiz: How well do you know India's economy?

Question 1

Which of these products is India the world's largest producer of?

Poll Choice Options
  • Wheat
  • Rice
  • Milk
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Latest News

  • Apple lifts Nasdaq; Ukraine drags on broader market

    The Nasdaq rose modestly in choppy trade on Thursday as Apple's shares rallied a day after the iPad maker's strong results, though tensions in Ukraine held back the broader market. Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) shares jumped nearly 2 percent and helped limit the Dow’s loss after the world's largest maker of earth-moving machinery reported earnings that exceeded Wall Street's expectations. The three major U.S. stock indexes had opened sharply higher, with the Nasdaq initially climbing more than 1 …

  • Austin Modern With Replica Cadillac Showroom Asks $1.6M

    Have a nomination for a jaw-dropping listing that would make a mighty fine House of the Day? Get thee to the tipline and send us your suggestions. We'd love to see what you've got. Click here to view the full... …

  • Met office sees below-average monsoon in 2014
    Met office sees below-average monsoon in 2014

    India is likely to have below-average monsoon rainfall in 2014, raising the possibility that drought could stoke inflation and hit a sluggish economy dependent on the elements because half the country's farmland lacks irrigation. To cut dependence on rains, India plans to expand irrigated farmland by at least a tenth by 2017. The Indian Meteorological Department's (IMD) first monsoon forecast on Thursday was in line with the outlook of the World Meteorological Organisation that predicted …

  • Japan's NTT Docomo to exit Indian market - Nikkei

    REUTERS - Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc will unload its 26 percent stake in its loss-making Indian mobile phone joint venture, Tata Teleservices Ltd, and withdraw from the country, the Nikkei newspaper reported. ... …

  • Tour the Arresting Interiors of the World's Top Meeting Rooms

    The Federal Parliament Building in Bern, Switzerland. Photo by Luca Zanier/Wired How much did the outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis depend on the decor of the Situation Room? An open question, to be sure, but Swiss photographer Luca Zanier... …

IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS & INTERVIEWS

  • Too good to be true?

    Developers are offering lucrative buyback schemes. But such promises may not be always kept. …

  • Leaderspeak with Vikram Limaye

    Vikram Limaye MD & CEO, IDFC Ltd shares many firsts from his life. …

  • The Greening of the House of Tatas

    How a dedicated team converted a 90-year-old heritage structure into a benchmark for environment-friendly buildings. …

  • Appy Voting

    Mobile and online apps, seeking to inform or influence voters, have been more active than ever before in this election. …

  • In the crosshairs

    Why the future of FDI in multi-brand retail looks bleak after the polls. …

  • Deserving the honour

    How do the winners of the two new banking licences - microfinance lender Bandhan Financial Services and infra institution IDFC Ltd - measure up to the challenges of operating as full-fledged banks? …

  • A Samurai from Chandigarh

    Advertising veteran Sandeep Goyal is disarmingly frank as he recounts his years with Dentsu. …

MARKET MOVERS

  • Most Actives
    Most Actives
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    16.52-0.33-1.96%
    UNITECH.BO
    14.31-0.27-1.85%
    SUZLON.BO
    120.40+7.00+6.17%
    FRL.BO
    66.05+4.10+6.62%
    MANGCHEM.BO
    54.40+1.65+3.13%
    HCLINFO.BO
  • Price % Gainers
    Price % Gainers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    16.20+2.70+20.00%
    JAGSONPH.BO
    53.50+8.90+19.96%
    RUSHIL.BO
    40.45+6.45+18.97%
    RCIIND.BO
    63.95+8.90+16.17%
    MRPL.BO
    24.00+3.10+14.83%
    NELCAST.BO
  • Price % Losers
    Price % Losers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    10.95-10.95-100.00%
    4THGEN.BO
    17.30-17.30-100.00%
    ALFAICA.BO
    16.81-16.81-100.00%
    AMAL.BO
    11.73-11.73-100.00%
    BORAX.BO
    29.95-29.95-100.00%
    BRADYM.BO
  •  
    Recent Quotes
    Symbol Price Change % ChgChart 
    Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
    You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
  • Recent Quotes News

    •  
      Sign-in to view quotes in your portfolios.