Keep Calm and Carry On

March 27, 2012 9:00 pm Published by Bill Boorman

The internet has been awash with indignation over the last 2 weeks. There’s panic afoot. I’ve been sent petitions to sign and been called by 3 separate journalists for a comment. The cause of the storm is a correctional facility (prison if you are in England), who asks candidates at interview for the password to their Facebook account. Facebook themselves have responded by issuing a statement in response, indicating that this practice, along with the practice of asking people to log in at interview and have a nose around, to be a breach of their rules on privacy.

My concern is that this is all out of proportion. All the stories I can find from trusted sources link to the same story. I don’t condone the practice by any means, but I can see where the recruiter was coming from. They have defended their position by stating that they were looking for evidence of gang affiliation, given the nature of the job. I can see the logic that Facebook is a good place to start looking for this. Each time there’s a gang related incident reported in the press, it’s usually the Facebook profile pictures that make it in to the papers.

The danger of all this coverage is that already nervous job seekers are thrown in to panic about Facebook, and it’s out of context. It’s not a common practice, and the way Facebook is evolving as a recruiter channel is built around applications, and applications don’t require you to become a friend or give access to your personal profile. There are no wall posts (unless you want them), or anything else.

The prison doing the hiring would need to run checks anyway in a variety of sources, and would require permissions at interview. They have obviously just added Facebook, don’t get scared away.

– Bill

This post was written by Bill Boorman