Social Media for Hire (Blocking) – Yes, it’s still an issue

Here’s a question that’s plagued so many HR managers and potential hires alike: Is it still acceptable to ask for a potential hire’s social media pages for their background check? Or, in some cases, a current employee’s to see if they’re talking about the company?

So many firms still say yes.

Now, as a social media consultant myself, I am 100% against this. I understand that you can garner a lot about who a person is-and whether they’re a good fit or not-based on this practice, but under no circumstances is it ethical.

And here’s why I think so: If you need someone’s login to view their SM profiles, then that means their page is private and none of your business.

It’s like asking someone what they do on their own at home. And then demanding they let you into their house to view their personal habits. Would you, as an HR manager, actually do that? Of course not. It’s ludicrous to even think of it.

But that’s how it is if someone’s Facebook page is set to private. They don’t want the outside world viewing their life, and you shouldn’t be trying to do it yourself.

Oh, I’m not opposed to asking for their social media handles, and viewing that way. There are even sites that don’t have privacy lockdowns, so you can snoop away if someone has, say, a Tumblr page, or if you want to view someone’s Instagram profile. Instagram can only be set to private from the app. You can view whatever you want from a computer.

For the sake of argument, though, I’ll play Devil’s Advocate for a minute. This is the person you’ll be handing over sensitive company to, and expect them to act in the best interest of a firm you’ve worked hard for. What if they’re the type of person who has no compunction about giving away secrets? What if, say, you find in their chats that they repeatedly gossip to friends about things that someone else has entrusted to them? Chances are, they won’t care about sharing your information as well. You may not find that out until it’s too late, and logging in could head that off at the pass.

Now some states, like Washington for example, have gone so far as to make it illegal for your boss to ask for your login. Legislatures are seeing the potential disaster in asking for information that’s essentially private, and have taken to protecting potential-hires (and current employees) from having to fork over their logins. It’s a bold move, but one that’s gaining traction.

So what about you? Do YOU think it’s acceptable to ask for login information? Have you actually done it? Sound off in the comments!

Posted by Stephanie Cole

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