Saturday, June 20, 2009

Turn off qualified applicants in one easy step

Looking for a way to turn off qualified applicants in one easy step? The City of Bozeman, MT may have put its finger on it.

Turns out they have had--for several years--a requirement that all applicants seeking a position with the City must, after a conditional job offer that required a background check, turn over their ID and passwords for all social networks they're on, including Facebook and Twitter. After a firestorm of criticism, they decided to suspend the policy pending "a more comprehensive evaluation."

With all due respect to city officials...what were they thinking?

Put aside for the moment the potential problems of violating the terms and conditions of the social networking sites (which generally prohibit sharing passwords), and the potential legal issues inherent in finding information you shouldn't, what high-potential applicant worth her/his salt is going to give over their password information? Its akin to asking someone for their diary--and about as valid and relevant to job performance.

According to the City Manager, "choosing not to disclose log-in information did not hurt candidates’ chances of getting the job." Somehow I find that hard to believe.

I can appreciate wanting to perform your due diligence as part of the hiring process, and gathering as much information as you can, but there are tried and true methods of doing this, including detailed reference checks for every hire.

Maybe the proximity to great fishing interfered with judgment making.

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