Now Please Give Me Your Facebook Password…

You are at a job interview.  They’ve been asking you the usual questions, and so far it has gone well.  The interviewer then turns to her computer, finds your profile on Facebook, and asks you to sign in so that she can browse your profile.  What do you do?

Here are some of your options:

You can say yes:  If you feel comfortable with the employer looking through your Facebook profile, then sign in and let them browse.  The employer will definitely appreciate your willingness to be so open.  However, it may be a good idea for you to change your password within a few days, otherwise you will have to stringently monitor what is posted on your profile. 

You can say no:  Any employer that is making this request is fully aware that it is controversial, and that it will make most applicants uncomfortable.  If you politely decline, the employer may or may not hold it against you.  You can let the employer know that it violates Facebook’s terms of service.  The employer might admire your willingness to stand up for yourself.  Of course, there is also a chance that they will remove you from consideration for the position.  But do you really want to work for an organization that pushes their employees’ boundaries in that way?

You can have a separate (private) Facebook account for your friends and family:  This allows you to use Facebook to connect with your friends and family, while still maintaining your privacy online.  You would need to create a professional public Facebook profile that looks legitimate; include photos and have at least 30 friends.  Create your own personal Facebook page under a nickname or make your settings private so that employers cannot see it.  While this may seem like a drastic step, it is actually a good idea to have a separate professional Facebook profile, as it allows you to use Facebook for networking.

With the onset of social networking sites, job seekers face challenges that they have never faced before.  However, if the job seeker is flexible and adapts to the new environment, they will have no problem.  It is also essential to remember the golden rule of social networking, “Never post anything online that you don’t want your current (or future) manager to read.”

 (Written by: Karen Bivand)

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