Login requests a ‘big time’ privacy issue

By Paul Suarez, Columbian freelance

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Job seekers getting asked for Facebook passwords

Clark County employers are probably looking at potential employees’ Facebook pages but aren’t asking for login credentials, according to Kathy Condon, a Vancouver networking coach.

Condon said she hasn’t heard of any cases of employers asking for access to private accounts. That’s a “big time” infringement on privacy, she said.

That doesn’t mean it won’t happen or that employers aren’t looking at public accounts.

Social media sites are checked for practically anybody getting a

job anywhere, Condon said. That hasn’t happened in the past because that kind of tool wasn’t available, she said.

Condon recommends people keep their LinkedIn accounts up to date and post regular updates. Those updates should reflect what you’ve learned or what makes you smile -- with the caveat that it should be something that wouldn’t offend your grandparents or potential employers.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites should be used in a similar manner, Condon advised.

Local public agencies offered mixed responses about looking up Facebook accounts of job applicants.

Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency doesn’t request access to prospective employees’ accounts. In fact, it doesn’t ask if they’re even on social media, said Karen Johnson, human resources manager.

“We really try to respect the fact that not everything in somebody’s history is relevant to them doing a job,” she said.

Hiring managers wouldn’t ask someone to bring up their account or for login credentials, Johnson said. Rather, hiring managers are discouraged from searching for applicants on Google or social media sites.

Sgt. Fred Neiman, spokesman for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, said background investigators will look at social media before hiring new employees or accepting volunteers. He isn’t sure if they ask for access to private accounts.

“When you hire on here at the sheriff’s office you sign a piece of paper that says we’re allowed to get information from previous employers,” and from other sources, he said.