Boorman: Facebook passwords at interview fears a ‘storm in a teacup’

In the wake of concerns about employers asking job applicants for Facebook passwords at interview, social media guru and founder of #Tru events, Bill Boorman, tells Recruiter that such cases are still rare.

Tues, 27 March 2012

In the wake of concerns about employers asking job applicants for Facebook passwords at interview, social media guru and founder of #Tru events, Bill Boorman, tells Recruiter that such cases are still rare.

Despite all the “buzz” around recent stories of the practice which have come to light recently, most prominently in the Telegraph, Boorman says “the first thing is not to take it out of context”.

 

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He has only heard of two cases of jobseekers being denied a job specifically due to social media history, and has only heard of “two or three” US companies who ask for passwords at interview.

He adds that these firms are involved in the handling and transport of prisoners, meaning that checking for gang connections is important and says that in this situation “you could kind of see the logic, even if you don’t agree”

Speaking to Recruiter, Boorman (right) adds two pieces of advice for jobseekers. “You never know when a story or an image is going to come up… always assume everything is public”, and a second suggestion effectively doubles as a piece of advice for recruitment departments, suggesting that candidates ask themselves if they would ever want to work for a company that ask that they reveal their social media password.

Jane Caven, who heads outsourced HR practice Sagegreen, agrees: “Employers might also discount otherwise talented reputable candidates because their private persona does not fit the perceived wisdom as to the standard person for the role.

“There are plenty of techniques to reduce risk available to the employer that do not unduly invade the privacy of the applicant and will not damage trust so early on.”

Sheila Fahy, senior counsel at law firm Allen & Overy, also warns that employers “would be well advised” not to practise this particular technique, again agreeing that jobseekers would be better advised to “work for an employer who has proper recruitment practices in place and respects a person’s dignity at work and play”.

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