There’s been some buzz lately about this article, which discusses a trend in employers requesting login information to candidates’ Facebook profiles. The controversy is easy to understand – Facebook profiles are commonly used to manage one’s personal life, and while many profiles are publicly available, individual users reserve the right to make that information available to friends only. But what if a private profile isn’t enough for employers? What if they want to see the information you only make available to friends? Not exactly the easiest question to deal with in an interview.
There are many ways to deal with a request for login information, but the challenge is doing so in a way that is polite and professional. Some sample responses could include:
- “I apologize, but I use Facebook for non-work activities. Therefore, the information in my profile would not be valuable in evaluating my professional skills”
- “I do not feel comfortable connecting on Facebook, as I use it to interact with friends and family only. However, I would love the opportunity to share my LinkedIn profile to connect professionally.”
As last resort, you can always walk away. You are not legally obligated to share private social media information with any organization. The only penalty in walking away is not getting the job. And if the interview makes you feel that uncomfortable, this probably isn’t the right job for you anyway.
In response to the original article, Facebook has stated its position against employers requesting login information. But the process of finding and taking action against these employers is long, and Facebook’s involvement may not stop employers from asking for login information now. Only time will tell whether Facebook’s actions can influence this trend. The best advice is to understand your rights as a social media user, and have an appropriate response planned ahead of time should the issue arise in an interview.
Although this particular question is not featured in our Interview tool, we have an entire category of inappropriate questions similar to this. This category features questions which are either illegal or just plain awkward to deal with. If you’re setting up a new interview, select the “Inappropriate Questions” category to get started. This is one of my personal favorite categories because it prepares me for the worst case scenario in an interview. After all, if you aren’t prepared for the worst, you won’t be able to perform your best.