I wonder if I can bother my potential employer to update my status for me while they’re snooping around my account. In all seriousness, anyone participating in social media should expect companies to examine all available public sources of information when making a hiring decision. Asking directly for someone’s password or looking over their shoulder as they are asked to click through their profile seems a bit over the top. It does depend on the security level or other factors relating to the individual position, as in this story’s mention of the Maryland Department of Corrections.
Still, I have to question whether looking at details on a potential hire such as their political leanings, religion and other attributes could expose HR managers’ internal biases. It was this point I tried to make in my MIS class where we discussed the article linked above. Companies who engage in examination of social media accounts to the extent of this article will need to be especially vigilant not to expose themselves to breaking any hiring laws in the process.
For the rest of us, all the usual rules still apply: if you aren’t comfortable with the world seeing it, don’t post it online. And my own Facebook profile? Pretty darn boring actually. Hope you like pictures of my latest weekend hikes and silly comments to old college friends.
Updated: the Maryland Department of Corrections story and others are really exploding now. Here are some others:
- Marketplace from APM radio story 3/20/2012
- The AP story related to above Marketplace piece
- Coverage at Forbes
I would love to hear even more opinions on the issue, because I think there are many angles to explore.
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