There’s been a lot of chatter online recently about employers asking employees for their Facebook passwords during the interview process. Most came out vehemently opposed to that as an unnecessary invasion of privacy. However, when the request switched to just “friending” candidates on Facebook, the consensus shifted and support split down the middle.
The argument in favor of becoming Facebook friends with employment candidates is that it will give you greater insight into the person. It tells you about out their interests and values. It tells more about their affiliations and types of things they support. It can also tell you if the person has any associations or tendencies that may be in conflict or problematic with the employer’s goals. And it may reveal a connection to a mutual acquaintance to serve as an additional reference that will tip the scales … At least according to THIS article recently published on the Huffington Post written by someone who admits he is “no HR expert.”
Well, I kinda am an HR expert. And I think that’s a bunch of crap and I want no parts of it — as a manager, consultant or potential applicant. The liability caused by the ambiguity and subjectivity of it is just too great. I want to stay far, far, far away from it for a long, long, long, long time to allow time for more research to be done and standards established.
And you should too. Here’s why:
I’ve got more than enough employee relations issues to deal with because watching too much Judge Judy and reruns of The Practice has them thinking they can and should sue for everything that doesn’t go their way so they can make millions, never have to work again or end up owning the organization … Sorry. That was jaded. But true. I have more than my share of mess to sort through and I don’t want to add more.
Instead of friending candidates on Facebook to assist in hiring decisions, invest in developing hiring managers to conduct thorough behavioral interviews and identify red flags. Instead of using the acceptance of a friend request to tip the scales, invest in some proven professional skills and personality testing. And if you want to check out an online profile, connect on Linked In where professional networking is appropriate — then judge THAT profile based on how complete it is and who the candidate is linked with and what groups the candidate belongs to.
But unless part of the job is to manage the organization’s social media presence, don’t go friending or following employment candidates online.
And use caution even after they’re hired.