May 16, 2013

How do you respond to a job interviewer that asks to see your social media activity?

Just to be clear, no one asked for a password. I have my Facebook and Google+ settings to ensure maximum privacy, so that anyone looking for me on either actually can have a hard time even finding me. The interviewer expressed concern that they weren't getting the "whole picture" because my privacy settings wouldn't let them see the "real" me. I told him that once we had been friends for 10 years like the people who have access now, I would add him, but until then private means private. We continued the interview, but I doubt very seriously I will be getting a call back.

How do you handle a request like this? I don't regret my response, in fact, I can think of a number of ways I could have responded that were less politic. Do you think that companies have a legitimate interest in your social media presence, even when you have taken steps to place limits on that presence?


It’s pretty common for Facebook posts to cause people not to get hired, so frankly I think everyone looking for a job should make everything private on social media before sending out the first resume. A recent study by on-device research shows that almost 10% of people in their survey were rejected from jobs because of their social media profiles. A little less in the US, a little more in China.


Your responce was appropriate. You might also have added that your social media activity cannot reveal the "real you" as after all it is the "virtual you".

I'd thank them for their interest, then I'd wish them a good day. Then I'd leave.

Who wants to work for a nosey company like that? Thanks, but I'll pass. It's their loss, and perhaps it will get them to reexamine their intrusive policy.
Companies can have a legitimate concern about a potential employee's social media presence. A civil rights organization, for instance, probably wouldn't want to hire someone that constantly posted racist material on Facebook. But when the social media presence is already hidden from the public, there is no legitimate basis for seeking access into someone's private life, and by extension the private lives of their friends. If you don't get a job offer over refusing their request, I think you should consider yourself fortunate to have avoided working for a company with so little respect for their employees.
What's next, your tax forms? A list of people you've slept with? Your voting record? I agree with you -- private means private. If an interviewer can't get an idea of whether you'd be a good fit through an interview and reference checks, someone else should be doing the interviewing. Companies don't own you.
Answer this