Besides asking about applicants’ educational history and employment background, the City of Bozeman, Montana is also asking job applicants for their usernames and passwords for social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace. Click here to read the full story from ABCnews.com.
It has become increasingly common over the last few years for employers to research job applicants through social networking sites. In fact, the Delaware Employment Law Blog has some very interesting results from a study on employers’ use of social networking sites to screen job applicants. Employers are rejecting job candidates based on postings on drug and alcohol use, inappropriate pictures, and even inappropriate screen names.
But is researching applicants through Facebook, MySpace and Twitter always such a good idea? The conventional interviewing wisdom is to avoid personal questions that could make the hiring process appear biased. Interview questions like "are you married?" or "do you have children?" are generally avoided, as they might make the interview appear to be making decisions based on marital status or family composition. Social networking sites often contain the same information that a good HR person wouldn’t dream of asking in a million years. To be safer, employers might want to make reviewing Facebook part of a post-offer background check.
Speaking of social networking, the Stoel Rives World of Employment is there. Click here to follow us on Facebook; click here to follow us on Twitter. Please just ignore those pictures of us from last year’s office New Year’s party.