Employer demands you give them your social network info

What is your company’s policy on collecting job applicant personal information as part of a background check? If you are an HR professional, how do you make use of the new web to determine the suitability of job candidates?

Is the following an invasion of personal privacy or an acceptable component of the recruitment, screening and hiring process?

Until recently the Bozeman, Montana municipal government demanded that job applicants disclose any and all of their involvement on social networking sites like Facebook , Myspace and YouTube as part of a background check. This included login names and passwords. The following excerpt is from a city waiver form, applicants are asked to sign:

“Please list any and all, current personal or business Web sites, Web pages or memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo, YouTube.com, MySpace, etc.,”

City manager Chris Kuluski said, “The City of Bozeman believes we have a responsibility to ensure candidates hired for positions of public trust are subject to a thorough background check.”. This requirement for disclosure did not apply to current employees or elected officials. Following the public opposition ranging from news sources, privacy rights groups and bloggers, the City of Bozeman has ended this requirement.

As always, we look forward to your comments . . .

Dean

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