How can Facebook affect your job search?


by Jennifer McLogan / CBS

Posted on March 14, 2012 at 8:27 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 14 at 8:29 AM

LONG ISLAND, Ny. - When it comes to your Facebook page, you probably think of it as a way to keep up with friends. But how could what's on your page impact your job search?

Are employers going too far when it comes to checking up on you online?

College senior Farhan Husain went on the offensive, with word that potential employers may be demanding Facebook passwords from job seekers as part of the screening process.

"That is a serious invasion of privacy. I can't believe employers would go that far," Husain said.

Husain and some of his friends are reacting by setting up a public Facebook fan page and then a second private one, using a pseudonym.

Gerry Laytin is a Facebook user and worries if job hunters will begin concealing their true identities out of concern that their behavior, thoughts and photos would be controversial.

"It's insanity. I don't know where this is headed," Laytin said, "This becomes a whole First Amendment, freedom of speech issue. It reminds me of Jews in Nazi Germany hiding the fact they were Jewish to avoid persecution."

After one Maryland company admitted it is now asking applicants for their Facebook passwords, Rassmussen Reports conducted a poll:

  • 70 percent say no company should have access to your password
  • 35 percent say it should be illegal to use Facebook as hiring criteria
  • 33 percent think it's okay to fire an employee for an inappropriate post

Lately, Facebook users have been fired or disciplined for instances such as:

  • an employee bashing a boss calling him "a complete tool"
  • a teacher commenting on gay rights, "homosexuality is a perverted spirit"
  • A doctor commenting on a trauma patient, "operated on her brain...risky and bleak."

Attorney Paul Rubell, a social media expert, said, "Marital status. Sexual orientation. Race. Minority status. And now we are talking about Facebook status."

Rubell says Facebook scrutiny has reached an excessive and illegal level of invasiveness.