When Screening Applicants, Can I Ask for Access to Their Facebook Accounts?

A Kantola Learning Minute

A hiring manager wonders if he can ask to be given access to a job applicant's Facebook page. After all, he might find a treasure trove of valuable information about the applicant. Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with Lester S. Rosen, J.D., founder of Employment Screening Resources®.

Here's a great question from a listener: Can I ask to be given access to a candidate's Facebook page, or, presumably, the question would be access to any of the candidate's social media outlets. And the answer is, you shouldn't.

A lot of employers are looking at social media as a way to select employees, thinking they have found a treasure trove of information where they can look under the hood and see what a candidate is really like.

The problem is there's a number of state legislators who have made it illegal to actually ask a candidate to give you the password to get behind their privacy or password protected area and look at what they're saying on Facebook or social media. And, most of these laws also prohibit 'shoulder surfing'; that's the idea you ask a candidate to go on their Facebook or social media page while you're peering over their shoulder. And that's because there are privacy and discrimination and accuracy concerns when it comes to the use of social media.

So, before thinking about asking for a candidate's password, I would suggest you talk to your labor attorney first as it's probably not the best idea.

I hope that helps. Thanks for watching.

Watch More Learning Minutes