Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Danger: Facebook

We have written on the subject of online networking sites before, but here is a new twist. On its application for a post-graduate position, an employer, a state government agency, asks for the names of the online social networking sites to which the applicant belongs. Fair enough. More and more employers are conducting online research of job applicants and this request simply asks the applicant to do part of the research for them. Lazy, but not out of the ordinary.

But the application continues by claiming that the employer expects access to the applicant's networking sites. Excuse me? Access? In fact, the precise words on the application are "We demand access." It appears as though the employer will demand of the applicant the email and password used by the applicant to access his or her site, so that the employer can conduct its due diligence on the applicant unfettered by any potential privacy concerns.

Is this the wave of the future? Who knows. Of course, the applicant could give the employer an expletive-laden retort to such a request. But if the applicant really, really, really wants to work for that employer, he or she may have no choice but to turn over the goods.

What this disturbing example of employer hubris provides students and alums is one more reason to conduct oneself appropriately (however that is measured) online.

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