According to this article on StarTribune by Manuel Valdes and Shannon McFarland, there is a growing trend of employers asking job-seekers for their Facebook username and password in order to learn more about them.
Since the rise of social networking, it has become common for managers to review publically available Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and other sites to learn more about job candidates. But many users, especially on Facebook, have their profiles set to private, making them available only to selected people or certain networks.
Companies that don't ask for passwords have taken other steps -- such as asking applicants to friend human resource managers or to log in to a company computer during an interview. Once employed, some workers have been required to sign nondisparagement agreements that ban them from talking negatively about an employer on social media.
Asking for a candidate's password is more prevalent among public agencies, especially those seeking to fill law enforcement positions such as police officers or 911 dispatchers.
The legitimacy of asking for this level of information does make sense to me -- but only if you're looking for work in a sensitive government workplace. I can't, however, justify the same need from a place like Sears.
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