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What to do if a potential employer asks for your Facebook password ?

Recently we covered a story which reported that employers have now began asking for Facebook password in the interview just to know more about you. You can read the story here. After all the media drama it seems to have given more employers that this is a good idea. Mashable has published an article on what to when you asked for your Facebook password and don’t want to ruin your chances of getting the job.

The reason why companies are asking for your Facebook password is to get better insight into who you really are. They will strategically ask you to look at Facebook with them — right there, on the spot. You would think there would be some type of HR regulation in place to prohibit this type of conduct during an interview, but currently there is not — although the state of Maryland is starting to take action in a case regarding the Facebook profiles of student athletes.

With that in mind, what about job applicants in all the other states? Maryland is the first to do anything about this (and it’s currently concerned with student protections), so how long will it take for the job applicant process to be evaluated? Will asking for social networking account passwords be prohibited? The answer is, “There is no answer.” But you do not have to give the information as a condition of employment.

Let’s go over some things you can do to protect yourself on a job interview. Don’t forget: You have the right to a personal life and your privacy!

1. Put it Eloquently

If you are asked for your password, here are some things you can say, in an eloquent and respectful manner, to show you will stand your ground:

  •      “I am very careful with my personal, private online persona and do not feel comfortable giving out any passwords. But you can feel free to look at my profile as it appears to you as a company right now, if you would like.”
  •      “I would never participate in social media on the organization’s time and ask that the organization will respect my personal social media rights outside of work.”
  •      “My LinkedIn network is a great place for you to review my professional experience and see the professional connections that I have that may be of benefit to your organization.”
  •      “Is that something that is required to move forward with this job interview?”

If you don’t like the prospective employer’s answer to the last question (or any of the statements above), you can decide if you would not like to move forward with the interview. It is your profile and your privacy, and you have the right to protect it. So, take control and make it your decision.

2. Evaluate the Situation

You may feel obligated to provide your password, but is it really worth it to you to have a job where you will be watched all the time?

The answer is probably “no.” It would be extremely stressful to feel like your personal life has the potential to be picked apart by your employers at any time. It will already be enough that they will monitor you while at work in other ways.

3. Take Steps to Protect Your Personal Life

If you plan carefully and strategically, you can separate business and pleasure. Set up your social media profiles to be only obtainable or known by your friends and family. Here are some things you can do:

  • Disable a public web search on your Facebook profile. The default setting allows search engines like Google to pick up your Facebook profile.
  • Change your name and go by a nickname that only your friends and family would recognize.
  • Take advantage of the new Facebook Timeline to illustrate the personal brand you want to project as a job seeker.

Once you have a job, you should be careful not to jeopardize it by putting ill-willed comments up for all to see. What you say could get you fired if it sheds a bad light on your company. You represent your company, so keep your personal social networking about you and not about work.

Now you know it is okay to take a stand and say “no” when asked for your social networking passwords. It is ultimately up to you to decide what you are comfortable with.

What would you do if your interviewer asked for your password? Let us know in the comments.


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