I’ve been blogging now for a little under a year and one of the first people to reach out to me was Chris Fields from CostofWork.com. We’ve talked HR, north vs. south (O-H-I-O) and for the most part we tend to agree but recently we found an issue to disagree with. So after throwing down on the hot topic of Social Media background checks we decided blogging was better then another Civil War. And thus was born The Dirty South HR Mashup. Check out Chris’s opinion here then click on over to Cost of Work for my opinion.
It’s Blows But You’ve Gotta Do It!
Welp, it seems that some employers are asking for your Facebook user id and passwords while making a hiring decision. Many people are pissed off about it, HR people too. We really don’t want to do it but we’ve been burned.
I happen to have mixed feelings on the subject. Go figure a subjective answer from HR. SHOCKER! But yeah, I‘m torn, let me explain.
On the one hand, I don’t think anyone should have you user and id and password to anything. That includes Facebook and Twitter. It’s too intrusive. Save me the analogy on how it’s comparable to asking for a key to your house, come on seriously? It’s only Facebook folks. However, I do think that HR has to include social networks as part of the background check. Just like we use personal and professional references to help determine character, we need to look at your social identity.
In my region (Memphis and the Mid-South) we deal with messy unprofessional people all too often. Sorry it’s true. Gold teeth, (yes they still do that) face tattoos, saggy pants, too much jewelry, club clothes and country grammar.
When we make a hiring selection, we’re making a costly decision that often times becomes risky. When I say that we should look at the social identity, I’m not looking for your age, sex, race, family situation, disability. I’m looking for your behavior.
Let me give you 2 quick true examples that support my opinion.
#1. During an interview, the candidate claims to be the best of the best, top performer, highly professional, confident and able. She says she has no weakness. When asked if she uses Facebook, she then stutters; stammers, and reluctantly say “yes.” Using her name we did a little Facebook search (we did not ask for login information), her avatar was a picture of herself with a gun in one hand and the other hand flipping the bird.
Harmless you say, means nothing…maybe and maybe not, until she comes to work and brandishes her gun and shows a pertinacity to violence, aggression and disrespectful behavior, then what?
#2nd example. All male boarding school for trouble teens between the ages of 12-18, hires a young attractive lady named Cinnamon as their guidance counselor; within a year she’s accused of having an affair with a 17 year old student. The local news discovered that on her Facebook and MySpace pages she had topless photos posted. Embarrassment and civil laws could have been averted.
Remember this; HR does not want to add more work to its already full plate. When new rules or processes are created it’s because there have been so many COSTLY examples of failure that we now have to pay attention. People are so messy and bold. They use social media to share their dirty habits. And dirty habits at home have a way of filtering into your work life, and that’s why HR must be proactive instead of reactive.
Check out my rebuttal post: Your Facebook page is not my business over at CostofWork.com