So, there are reports from the US of employers requesting job applicants’ social networking passwords as part of their vetting process. This is one of those stories which really makes us want to bang heads together!

Assuming that it’s true, we are pretty doubtful that it’s as widespread as some quarters of  the media is suggesting; after all, there are plenty of employers out there who still have no real idea what Facebook is or what it does, let alone why they might be interested in its contents from a recruitment point of view.  And, the implicit suggestion that Facebook users are getting a bit more savvy about locking down their privacy settings (otherwise the password wouldn’t be needed) is slightly encouraging.

However, the idea of anyone being required to hand over their passwords is pretty horrifying, and another example of how “new” technology is being treated far more aggressively than its older equivalents.

It’s a bit like the calls for Twitter to be blacked out during periods of civil unrest:  the telephone isn’t coming in for the same criticism, and yet phones are also crucial in planning and coordinating crimes, whilst also being much less easy to monitor!

No employer would dream of asking for phone transcripts of all their conversations with their friends and family, or the contents of the desk drawer where personal letters are kept.

Or, for that matter, their bank statements or any other records which are generally deemed by sane people to be a component of an individual’s private life. So how are Facebook and Twitter different?

We really hope that this is just over-reporting, and that anyone faced with such an intrusive request would politely explain why it’s inappropriate, and decline.

What do you think about this? Would you give your social media passwords away in order to land a job?