Full disclosure: this has absolutely nothing to do with my current place of work. I’m speaking out because young people and those re-entering the workforce need to know their rights in regards to privacy.
Why would you ever consent to giving someone your Facebook/Twitter/Google +/??Social Media Site passwords during a job interview? Unless you need a security clearance for something ie building a government facility, or entering the police force, DON’T DO IT.
Here is why:
In Canada and the USA there are certain things that a potential employer is NEVER allowed to ask you. They are not entitled to know information such as your marital status, your age (with the exception of determining if you are of legal working age,) your religion, if you have children etc. By asking for your social media passwords you are effectively allowing them to access that information, and that is illegal. Don’t think for one moment that it is okay for them to ‘Friend Request’ you, either. Do yourself a favour and lock up your Facebook account to the maximum privacy settings – Only Friends for everything. Otherwise they won’t even have to ask for the information, it’s there for the taking.
What business do potential employers have peering into the way you interact with your friends and family? The last time I checked it was just an applicant applying for a job, not their dumbass friends and family applying as a group package. Would you allow a potential employer to have access to your personal email? Text messages? The way you talk to your spouse/partner in a private message or the way you interact with your buddies should have absolutely no standing when applying for a job. Sometimes I’m a fucking hooligan on the weekends, and yet on Monday morning I’m in dress clothes, bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to kick off that meeting BECAUSE I AM A PROFESSIONAL. Monday-Friday, 9-5 I am a professional and I get it done, and I do it well. If you looked at my Facebook profile or my Twitter feed you might not get the same picture because professional Ro and the rest of the time Ro are two different people. Should your boss care what you do in your free time? Not unless it has an impact at work, and then only things pertaining to work need to be discussed.
Let’s face it, when you’re at the office you’re probably not cracking brewskis or bangin babes in the coat closet. If you are, well, you deserve to be fired (unless it’s office-sanctioned Beer Club Fridays, then you’re fine, but sexual harassment is still sexual harassment.) I think you can say no in a firm, but professional way. Let them know that your accounts contain personal information regarding marital status, your age, and your religion that you don’t need to disclose. Assure them that your personal life has absolutely no bearing on your professional life, and your qualifications, references and demeanour speak for themselves. You need to practice saying these things now and be confident about saying them. It is illegal for a potential employer to turn you down for not surrendering your passwords, that would be discrimination because what they are asking for is illegal in it’s nature.
1. Lock that shit up!
2. Just say no.
3. Don’t be intimidated, respect yourself and stand your ground.
4. You are a professional, so act like one.
In the end, would you really want to work for a company who needed to pry into your personal life? I wouldn’t.