Posted by & filed under Digital Policy, ethics, FaceBook, Human Resources, social impacts, Social Media.

Description: California is attempting to pass a law that would completely remove social media from the hiring process. This includes denying employers the right to ask candidates for their social media logins and removing social media as a source of determining whether or not a person is “unfit or competent” to fill a position.


Date: April 23 2012

You had a great job interview, but the next thing you know, the company has rejected your application. Why? They saw something they didn’t like on your Facebook page or saw a tweet that didn’t jibe with “the corporate view.” Following February’s outcry over a Maryland man who was required to hand over his social media login and password during an interview, California has moved to ban employers in the state from that practice and others. Read Rest of Story

Questions for discussion:

1. What is Campos’ argument against sharing social media information with potential employers? Why are privacy issues like this a concern for job candidates?

10 Responses to “Why California Is Banning Social Media from the Hiring Process”

  1. Mr. White

    Campos does not believe that employers should be allowed to view peoples’ information on social media websites like Facebook or Twitter, because it is private and personal, and should be separate from work.

    I agree with Campos. Without a doubt, an employer may choose to access your Facebook page if it is publically available; however, an employer should not have any right to demand a user name and password. I believe that in a country that is supposed to be free and democratic, every citizen should have a right to their individual privacy. The United States in particular was a country that was founded on the principles of individual rights and freedoms, so it is good to see that there is some action being taken in California to prevent employers from participating in this questionable practice.

    Privacy issues are a concern for job candidates because employers are beginning to access private information from websites like Facebook, and using it to weed out candidates which they deem unfit for the position. The problem with this goes beyond violation of privacy; it will enable employers to discriminate against people based on personal information. For example, you might be an extremely competent and hardworking person, well versed in the position you are applying for, but because the employer accessed your Facebook and disagreed with a status update, your application is rejected on the premise that you will not fit in with the corporate culture.

    Employers demanding access to private information is unwarranted, and should be illegal.

  2. Rod white quills

    there is a certain line that empolyees shouldn’t be allowed to cross. that is why they have job interveiws. there is more than enough information in the interveiwing process that should be able to tell employers how the prospective worker might fit into the company. it should be up to the employers in the human resource department to say weather or not somebody would be a good fit for the company. using the tool of social media is going to far and invades to much of the privacy of the potential employee.if companies are allowed to use this how far will they go and eventually job interveiws will become a thing of the passed. this will also eliminate the human element of the hiring process. this is the main reason that interviews are done is to give the employers the opportunity to feel out if the prospective employee is right for the company and will fit into the company. for me i’m still of the mind that people still posses all the right tools and can still gage weather or not a person will be the right fit for a certain job. social media is just a way people are able to vent on different topics it may not reflect if they will be good or bad for the company

  3. Ali Almasoud

    I think once personal information are posted on social media ,it will be no longer private. Money Facebook friends are not really close friends or you might have met them once only, so what’s the big deal if I allow my potential employer to have a look at my profile as my friends do. As I am representing myself in my social media profile whether appropriately inappropriately, some day, I might wear the prospective employers’ uniform and represent the organization in a way that the organization does not want to be represented. suppose you decided to open not for profit organization that help smokers to quit smoking and drinking, and you are looking for workers who does not smoke as a part of the mission statement, social media might help to find the kind of people you are looking for , especially if the characteristics you are looking for does not have to do with qualification. I think if there is a high self confidence, people should not worry about that because this is the way they are. However, employers must be fair when making judgments on candidates based on social media profile, they must not be biased. Social media help but should not be considered as an official source of others. If “they saw something that they do’t like” it should be just a “hint” for them but not a final decision.

  4. Salma H.

    Campos’ argument against sharing social media information focuses on looking too in depth of personal entities. Basing the final hiring decision on whether or not ones Facebook or Twitter account is consistent with the company’s orientation takes the screening process a step too far. These social media accounts are used solely for personal purposes and would not be fair to take them out of context, in a professional sense. When candidates apply for a certain job, they do not expect to be asked for their log in information, leaving them caught off guard with a sense of invasion of privacy. I most definitely agree with Campos stand and the bill that is in discussion. It is one thing to check someone’s account from a public view, and it is a completely different issue when expecting to obtain their password to be able to look at the personal aspects in more detail. This can be an issue for job candidates for several reasons. The main one being the problem of possible discriminatory actions. While looking within their personal documents, the company may find certain things that they feel are not fit with the overall objectives, but at the same time are considered to be discriminatory and unfair judgements. Another reason is that candidates will feel as if there is no trust or sense of privacy within the corporation.

  5. Veronica

    I understand Campos’ argument of having a personal and professional life and keeping those separate because we’ve never had to offer family photos in an interview before. I think that these privacy issues can be a concern for a lot of people because we are always advocates for our rights as individuals to have our freedom, etc. and also the possibility of certain information (which really shouldn’t be on a social networking site) to get into the wrong hands. This is why I do my best to protect myself online so that I don’t get caught in a compromising position because I know how simple it is to access absolutely anyone on Facebook or other social networking sites.

    I live by this motto when I’m online, “don’t put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want your mother to hear.” If you don’t put information out into the universe (which is basically what the web is); that you don’t want people to use, then it can’t be used against you. Once it’s out there, anyone can read it and do what they want with it – including perspective employers.

    I’m on the fence with this situation, I agree that we shouldn’t be required to offer family pictures to be determined if we’re an appropriate candidate. We all have personal and professional lives that should be separate and I shouldn’t be forced to share my weekend plans because they have nothing to do with my professional life. I understand protecting my privacy and the risk associated with giving up my personal information but it can happen with or without my knowledge so I’d prefer being ready for it.

    On the other hand, employers take risk when attempting to hire an appropriate candidate. But this “candidate” isn’t just an employee, they become representation of the company once hired. Who do you want representing your company? When I attended the College, I had some student roles such as the Board of Governors Student Rep, student tutor, and a student blogger. I was requested to ensure that I had privacy setting set up on my Facebook because people could simply look me up on Facebook because my first and last name was on the College website which everyone has access to. I already had this set up because I know from experience that employers, law enforcement, and strangers are checking out what we’re doing online so it’s important to protect ourselves.

  6. Andrew D.

    Campos’ argument is that checking a candidates facebook page is a breach of privacy because it contains personal things and isn’t really any of the company’s business. I actually completely agree with this. Being professional at work and being yourself on the weekend are two completely different things. Privacy issues such as this are a concern for prospective employees because almost all things posted on Facebook and Twitter are meant to be funny and meant to be just for your friends. Taking them out of context and then using them to determine whether the person who said them is a good person or not is silly and unreasonable.

  7. Mattie E

    Campos’ argument is that employers should not have access to such a personal part of a potential employees’ personal life. She argues that an employer would never ask to see pictures of an applicant’s family or friends during a job interview, so what is the difference in asking for a Facebook password?

    I have to say that I fully agree with her stance on this issue. I believe that since employees are expected to keep their work and personal lives separate, so too should the employer see their employee in this way. His or her personal life should remain private if they wish it to be so. I personally have my Facebook set to “private” so only my friends can see my page, and my Tweets are also private, so only my followers can view them. That being said, I take care to keep my social media appropriate and free from anything that might offend someone. When I applied for co-op jobs in Calgary this year, I changed my Facebook and Twitter names to be sure that nobody would find my pages. My boyfriend also did the same thing when he applied to medical school a few months ago. It worried us that a potential employer/school official would find us online and deny our applications because of a stupid photo taken in high school, etc.

    Another thing that concerns me about employers asking for social media passwords is the possibility for my page to be compromised. Who is to say that my password won’t be given to a third party, or left in some database where anyone could access it? I think this law should be passed, denying employers the right to MY personal information.

  8. Brani

    Any information put on the web is not considered private. An individual decides to share verbal words, or images on the internet they are allowing anyone who looks up there name to see a piece of their life out in the open. Campos argues that current or future employers should no be able to use social media as a hiring tool simply for the fact that who a person is professionally may or may not be socially. For as long as anyone can remember there have been hiring standards in place for numerous companies which didn’t entail opening up a current prospects personal life. Yes you need to keep in mind times have changed, people have changed towards current affairs. In our current society, these privacy issues should be given a thought because do to our current economy troubles, there are more people looking for jobs then jobs available. Depending on the job a person is applying, for example: Police officer, you need to have a perfect past. If applying to be a greeter at Walmart i highly doubt your past would play a vital role in getting the job. People should be more conscious about their “play time” when thinking about future job prospects. Whether it is right or wrong for a company to ask for your facebook login information, you should keep in mind of your competition and think twice about your next drunken photo on facebook!

  9. jf.andrus

    While I disagree with the standard practice of social media log-in sharing, social media is a forum for personal expression and political views.

    Campos argues that certain organizations should not allow certain information to be available. That is absolutely true. But to make it a black out law, especially to certain areas that need to access that information (lawyers, higher level executives) would be a travesty.


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