I have heard - and read - enough about social media to understand I shouldn't post anything, anywhere, unless I would in fact be willing to share it with the whole world. But share my Facebook password with a recruiter or HR person during a job interview? No thank you.

An Associated Press story picked up by the Boston Globe, among others, details the story of a New York statistician who was taken aback when asked by a job interviewer for his Facebook user name and password.

That particular candidate withdrew his application, saying he didn't want to work for a company that would ask for such information.

Robert Collins of Baltimore returned to a Maryland Department of Public Safety security job following a leave of absence, and was asked to furnish his Facebook login and password, purportedly to check for "gang affilitiations" he was told.

Then I read a line in this InformationWeek blog saying, "It's common practice for companies to check out job candidates' social media presence as part of the vetting process (hence, all those recommendations about not posting compromising photos, inflammatory comments, and the like), but as more and more people utilize Facebook's privacy controls to lock down their profiles, companies are apparently asking job candidates to give up the keys to their Facebook kingdoms."

If you read through the preceding paragraph several times you will notice a nuanced leap that the author makes.

Yes, we all know that some basic due diligence of job candidates is being done via social media. Got that. And yes I have duly warned my kids not to put anything on Facebook that they wouldn't want a future employer to find.

But the blogger contends that because we are all getting more privacy savvy, companies are now asking job candidates to open up their Facebook accounts. Since this last part finished the sentence that begins with it's common practice...those two thoughts seem kind of linked. Maybe she's just sayin.'

Now I'm just askin'...my question to all you recruiters and HR pros and staffing agencies and hiring experts...is it even close to common practice? Have you ever done it? Even once? Would you? Why? Why Not?

To me this just feels like a clear invasion of privacy, akin to letting you in my house, snooping through desk drawers, cabinets, examining what I eat, read, and so on.

In the blog I cited they quote Bruce Hurwitz, president and CEO of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing, who says the fact that companies feel they can even ask for this information is a sign that we're still in an employer's market. "They think that in this market, they can do whatever they want," he said. "They don't need the candidates; the candidates need them. They think they can get away with it."

"They think that in this market, they can do whatever they want. They don't need the candidates; the candidates need them. They think they can get away with it."

If you were asked by an interviewer, what would your response be?

What if a person does decide to give up their FB password (or any social network account access), and in the process exposes friends and relatives to privacy invasion and scrutiny, without their permission or authorization?

I mean you may employers long ago began doing background checks on some candidates, but always with authorization of the person being checked, right?

One commenter to the blog said this is the response a candidate should give when asked for their Facebook login and password.

The correct response is for the candidate to ask the interviewer to reciprocate by giving the candidate a password to the CEO's email inbox and stored correspondence so that the candidate could check out what kind of character the leadership of the company has. Fair enough?

Now it's your turn. Let the comments begin.

Tags: Facebook, Social Media, News, Job candidates, Hiring, Interviewing, Privacy, Privacy invasion