Employers demand Facebook passwords from potential hires

Reports seem to indicate that more and more employers are requiring potential hires to turn over Facebook passwords – if they wish to be considered for open positions.

Why, you ask? Well, supposedly an employer can learn more about a potential employee from his or her Facebook account than an official resume or application.

The obvious problem?

For most people, forcing job applicants to turn over passwords is perceived as a gross invasion of privacy, although as Reuters points out, the practice isn’t technically illegal. So, yes, employers can, in fact, ask for passwords and access.

Personally, I wonder if it is illegal for an employer to pass over an applicant just because he or she refused to hand over a password.

Then again, I could see an employer asking to friend a potential applicant, which, while somewhat creepy in certain cases, is probably more appropriate than demanding a Facebook password.

Indeed, Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. and writer for FindLaw, suggests that companies hire an employee on a trial basis and friend them via Facebook. If the employer later finds posts deemed objectionable, the hire can be be terminated with little or no warning or reason.

This is yet another reason why social networking users should watch what they do and say on sites like Facebook, as it can literally cost you your job. Remember, employers can already run background checks, and analyze full credit histories – so cruising social networks is simply one more way the suits, ties and bean counters of corporate America are weeding through the masses of applicants.