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    Should Women Business Leaders Ask Potential Employees for Social Media Account Information?

    Social Media has taken communications and information sharing to a whole new level. It has advanced the way we communicate and share ideas — which has greatly enhanced our knowledge base and access to information. But should we as a culture use social media as a tool to extract personal information from those we may want to work with … and then use this information to form potentially biased opinions (whether we think they are or not)?

    Here are some potential pros and cons to “social media profiling” compiled by HR executive Tresha Moreland. As women business leaders, we should consider these issues carefully before requiring job seekers to divulge their social media account information in the interview process:

    Pros:

    • This will enable police, correctional and military agencies to tell if prospective candidates are engaged in unlawful activity, not yet caught.
    • It allows employers to see if a candidate has the propensity to bad mouth customers and/or workplaces.
    • It is easier to keep up-to-date records when people automatically update their social network profiles.

    Cons:

    • Social networking profiles may include information that is unlawful to ask about during an employment screening process, such as gender, age, national origin, and so on.
    • It is no different then asking for someone’s house keys. It could be considered violating an individual’s privacy.
    • A good and legal screening process such as background and reference checks, already in place, is meant to uncover unsavory activity and most importantly convictions.

    On a very personal note: I fled from South Africa in the early 1980s, motivated by my lack of individual privacy and my personal feelings that people should not be judged by the color of their skin. So to me, asking employees for access to their personal Facebook information reeks of “big brother” tactics, and I find this most distasteful.

    What do you think about this?  Should employers ask job seekers for their social network user passwords and account information as a requirement for applying for a job?

    One Response to “Should Women Business Leaders Ask Potential Employees for Social Media Account Information?”

    1. I feel that social media is for friends and family, not potential employers. The young folks are on to this and use “pseudo” names on FB for example. I also think it’s an invasion of privacy. Next thing you know they’ll be tapping our phones!

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