(MoneyWatch) The good news is that the job market is heating up (Admittedly that only takes it from stone-cold to tepid, but prospects are better than they’ve been in at least three years.) The bad news is that employers are increasingly asking job seekers for their Facebook and other social-media passwords as part of the process of vetting them.
While it’s unclear how widespread that practice is, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that it is happening with increasing frequency, as CBS MoneyWatch’s Suzanne Lucas details. You can, of course, refuse to give a job interviewer your passwords. But expect your employment application to hit the round file if you don’t cooperate.
“It’s important to understand that more and more employers are looking at whatever they can to inform them in the hiring decision,” says John Challenger, chief executive of global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray Christmas. “Whether it’s a photo from a college party posted on Facebook or an incendiary comment on Twitter, employers are looking for anything that reveals more than candidates typically share in interviews.”
Challenger expects the courts to eventually rule on whether employer access to your private information should be limited, particularly when you’re applying for a job that doesn’t require a security clearance. In the meantime, here are five things you should keep in mind about social media and work.