For SBN’s first official post, we’re going to dive right into the good stuff!
There has been a lot of chatter recently over the trend of employers asking for the Facebook profile passwords of their potential employees. Some pundits say its fair game while Facebook has come out against the practice. Our take is that you should NEVER give out any of your personal passwords, but that you should be prepared for the question and be able to explain why you don’t want to share that information. To handle this situation you need to Be Smart, Be Prepared, and Be Principled.
Be Smart- Own Your Online Brand
Regardless of employers asking for your password, the following Social Media basics will serve you well. The goal here is to ensure that no one has a reason or a question to what you might be doing in the privacy of your profile. If they Google you ahead of time, you will be squeaky clean!
Use Privacy Settings- You have determine your own level of comfort with different privacy settings. Be sure you understand and use these features on the sites you participate in.
Monitor what you post- I don’t care how strong your privacy settings are. Once it’s online, it’s going to be on a server FOREVER. If you don’t want it to come back to haunt you, don’t put it online.
Be Prepared- Share your Brand In The Interview
Be ready to answer questions about your online activity and what you are interested in. If you’ve taken ownership of your online brand, everything should be positive! The goal here is to show your future employer that your engagement in social media is not only a good thing, it also increases the likelihood that you can make them money because you are in the know!
Show Off Your LinkedIn Profile- Your LinkedIn profile should be all business, all the time. Highlight it as the main hub of your professional online brand.
Print Out Your Twitter Stream- Take a screenshot of your Twitter stream and print it out. Tell your future employer how you began following some of the folks you interact with. Give them an example of an article you’ve shared that’s related to their business.
Tell Them About Your Interests- If they want to talk about social media, then talk about social media! This is a great time to talk about your interests, hobbies, and goals and how you interact and collaborate on various topics online.
Be Principled- Follow Your Values
If the employer still isn’t satisfied and they still request your Facebook profile password, only YOU can decide if that’s something you are willing to do for the opportunity. Here’s some options you have:
Just Give It Up- This is not the SBN recommended solution, but it’s definitely an option. If your Facebook is clean, you don’t care about folks having your password, and this is the job of a lifetime then just suck it up and hand it over. The worst that could happen… that recruiter adds that guy from elementary school who still has a crush on you…
Offer An Alternative- SBN Recommended Solution: If you REALLLY want the job, but don’t want to give up your password, you could offer an alternative such as cruising the innards of your profile with the recruiter, or adding the recruiter as a Facebook friend so they can see it all like your friends would. Finding middle ground is a good skill to have in the workplace, and they just might hire you for it.
Walk Away- If giving away your password just doesn’t jive with you, it’s OK to walk away from the opportunity. If they want to know that much of your personal information before you even work there, what will it be like when you are a mid-level manager? If this is your choice, tell them that you politely decline their request, and wish them good luck in finding a suitable candidate. Just be prepared in case they want to continue the interview because they are impressed with your candor.
These types of situations are only going to become more common as we move more and more of our lives online. Be Smart, Be Prepared, and Be Principled in order to achieve the success you are looking for!