I’ll Show You Mine if You Show Me Yours
Yes, I’m a little late in the game, but it’s my frickin’ blog, and I’ll rant if I want to. Two weeks ago, the online world went batshit over the story of Roberts Collins being asked for his Facebook password during a reinstatement interview. Some articles suggest that it’s not cool, but it rarely happens, so calm down. Don’t tell ME to calm down (side note: does telling an angry person to calm down EVER work? I’m pretty sure it just adds jerk fuel to the rage fire).
First, if you want to get up in my business, then hand over your passwords, too. I mean, I should know who I’m going to be working for, right? Don’t want to choose an employer with undesirable political views or a fondness for American beer.
Second, this guy was getting reinstated after a leave of absence. I’m not sure I get the need for an interview (retraining, I would understand). How much could this guy have changed?
Third, his employer wanted to make sure he had no gang affiliations. Isn’t that what a criminal background check is for? I don’t know much about Maryland, but based on a recent study there’s several thousand gang members in the area. That means, that even a generous estimate would claim 1 out 650 people are a gang member. Based on my experience, there’s a much higher chance of being a misogynist, micromanager, or an energy vampire, all of which are sadly, rarely screened for. Dare I say (YES I DO!) that if he was a nerdy white girl, the same reasoning would not have been offered.
Fourth, I don’t need a job that bad (o.k., I do) but many people a) can’t afford to walk away from an interview and b) don’t know they can say no to this kind of thing. It’s exploitation. Period. The idea that an employer would and could not hire you because of what they find on your Facebook (or Twitter or WordPress) opens up a huge can of HR worms.
Last, as Jen and Tonic recently pointed out, Facebook may not be an accurate reflection of a person. My hatred of Nickelback does not reveal much about my multitasking abilities. I may love Hyperbole and a Half and Robot Chicken, but I promise it doesn’t affect my ability to write good copy or resist stealing other people’s luches from the office kitchen. My support for the Occupy Movement doesn’t mean I can’t do my job. But if you think it does, then I don’t want to work for you, and I certainly don’t think we should be Facebook friends.