The article mentions it, but it’s worth pointing out again that this is hardly a new thing. I’ve seen stories through the years of various companies and agencies asking for this type of information. It’s troubling that employers think that this is ok in any way, and it’s sad that people are in such need that they feel they have no other choice but to comply with what can only be seen as an unreasonable request.
And to those who think it is reasonable, I ask you this: Would you let a job interviewer rifle through your purse, wallet, backpack, briefcase, pockets, car, house, safe or anything else you can think of? You’d probably think it would be insane to allow that, and you’d be right. So, how is this any different? If the profile is private, that basically means what goes on there is none of anybody’s damn business aside from those it’s been shared with, just like what goes on behind the closed doors of a person’s home.
I understand a company wanting to know as much about an employee as possible, but too bad. You can’t bug a person’s home, and you can’t stalk their private life online if it’s locked down. All that matters is what kind of a worker you’re getting on the clock. If I’m a criminal, I’ll be discovered. We have police forces who do a mostly mighty fine job at doing that kind of thing.
The only way anybody should even think about agreeing to fork over passwords is if the company first agrees in writing to pay you your hourly wage 24/7, 365. If they want to essentially be your boss around the clock and make you their representative at all times, then they should be paying for your services like they do when you’re at the office.
The internet is a great tool, and employers should definitely be using it. If there’s public info out there on a person you want to hire, by all means, have at it. Plenty of people leave their social network profiles open for the world to see. But if my virtual window is closed and the shades are drawn, it’s your duty to respect that. Nobody should respect or want to work for any company that can’t or won’t understand this.