Facebook Privacy: Taking a Stance the Professional Way

by Kristy Amburgey

There has been much publicity lately about employers asking job candidates to hand over their Facebook login information in order for the employers to dig into their job candidates’ accounts.  This practice is concerning to most people, more so for the actual job candidates and their Facebook friends.  While several articles made this violation sound commonplace, additional reporting has shown that it is not a typical request made by most employers.  As a job seeker, though, you should know that this practice exists.  As a savvy job seeker, you should understand the policies about any Facebook privacy violation and be able to react to any request for this type of information in the most positive way possible.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the leading organization for college career centers, has released a statement about Facebook privacy.  NACE specifically states that an “employer should not require or request that job candidates provide password/login information to their personal social network accounts as a condition of employment or as a condition of consideration for employment.” Facebook also took a stance by making it a “violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password.”

If you are ever faced with this request, you should have an understanding of the policies and common practices, and you should have a statement prepared that shows you are cooperative and willing to provide details of your professional persona but that you don’t want to break the rules.   Here is example wording that you could customize for your situation.

I am certainly willing to answer any questions you may have about my candidacy.  I have accomplished X, Y and Z as related to the job, and I belong to multiple professional organizations to which I devote much of my time.  I understand that it is against Facebook’s policies to share any password information, but I am more than willing to connect with you via LinkedIn if you would like to send me a connection request.

As our job search and professional development intersect with all these great online tools, you need to protect yourself and those with whom you are connected.  Ensure you are up-to-date on general social media policies and how employers are using these tools.   You have a choice in these matters of privacy, and you should be well-informed before making any decisions.  Once you take a stance,  you should treat employer interactions and requests for private information, where it might be illegal or even makes you a bit wary, in the most professional manner.  Offer to provide them details, via your resume, e-portfolio, portfolio, interview, phone conversation, website, LinkedIn profile and more, that prove your value as a candidate.

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department.  She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for approximately 10 years and with Career Services for nine years.

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