Is asking a potential employee for their Facebook credentials a step too far?

Posted on 30/06/2016 by Shamal Kumal


There’s no denying that many employers often turn to social media to research potential candidates. And whilst the practice may be seen as potentially discriminatory by some, most job seekers are aware of this and are therefore careful about what information they put in the public domain. But with news that a US organisation has started asking candidates for their Facebook username and password during the interview process, we are left asking ourselves if this is simply a step too far?

Perhaps the most obvious observation is to question the legality of such a practice. However on a more personal level any business asking for such information is surely not only invading the privacy of a potential employee, but also risking damaging its own employer brand. After all news of bad interview experiences can travel fast, particularly through social media channels.

Another factor worth considering is the reality that in a tough job market, candidates are going above and beyond what is required of them just to secure employment. Therefore, if businesses do  demand log in details from their applicants, some individuals may be forced to hand these over simply because they fear that not doing so will jeopardise their chances of securing employment.

So what should you do if a prospective employer asks for your Facebook details, or you suspect your social media profiles are already being looked at?  Here’s some advice from the team:

  1. Always have in the back of your mind when putting something online – whether it is a blog post, a comment, a LinkedIn or Twitter update, or a picture – that it could potentially be found by a quick Google search. In other words think carefully before posting anything and be aware of your digital footprint.
  2. If you haven’t done so already, tighten up your privacy settings on Facebook.
  3. While the scenario is unlikely, if you are confronted with the decision of whether to hand over your log in details, perhaps the question to ask yourself is: Do I really want to work for an organisation that thinks it is ok to view what amounts to your private and personal correspondence?