Today, one article did the rounds on all of the networks (well, technically 2, but Samantha Bricks is too pretty to be featured on this blog). Thàt story of Reginald Scott Braithwaite resigning from his director of software development job in the white house. The reason? He couldn’t accept the new guidelines from HR where potential employees were asked to log-in to Facebook during their job interviews. Like many others, I huffed and puffed and cried outrage about this practice and strongly backed Braithwaite in his courageous decision. Turns out the letter is fictional and non of the events actually occurred.
Or at least not in the White House.
It’s not like we have never heard of cases where applicants are actually asked for their log-ins which I find a scary evolution. Yes, they are solutions to this problem, one is setting your entire profile to private, another is trying to avoid putting embarrassing stuff on there. Personally, I have option 2. My profile is mostly public, friends of friends can interact with me and the general public can subscribe and read my blogs. Do I have embarrassing stuff on there? Sure. There’s the odd picture of me looking three sheets to the wind or being silly in general (which is the case with and without alcohol). There’s the drugsrelated and nude pictures I put on there to annoy parents who forced me to befriend their children. There’s the rants again companies and politics. In my mind, nothing that makes me not-hiring worthy.
But… for me to provide a recruiter with my password is just one step too far. Google me, sure, fine, no problems. All the bloggy stuff comes up first, so no worries from my part there (minus one online dating profile on a “cheat on your husband” website, which isn’t actually me). I have nothing to hide in fairness but there are limits to my privacy. And to be fair, I care very little about my online privacy as it has become so tied in with “life”.
It also leaves the questions that are addressed in the original letter. As recruiters aren’t allowed to ask for sexual orientation, race, religion etc., how much of this information can be found by googling a potential candidate? If they notice, say, that I put up an echo of my (fictitious) baby, will they hire me knowing I’ll be going on maternity leave 5 months later? It does open a dangerous road which is riddles with potential lawsuits and discrimination cases.
It does make me wonder which way HR and recruitment are going… will asking for passwords ever become mainstream and accepted as part of an application process? Will our online life’s be scrutinized down to the dirtiest little detail? Where do you see this going?