As social media use continues to grow, so does the trend among employers asking for Facebook passwords during the job interview. It's a controversial issue that doesn't have guidelines yet because social media has never been so popular, until now.
Employers are hoping to dig a little deeper when they ask for passwords, or request the applicant to log in during the interview.
"That'd be kind of tough," said Brandon Catt, who is applying for jobs. "It's like, I want the job, but they don't really need to know all that information, so I don't know. I don't know if I'd do it."
Many large employers in Bend said they don't go as far as asking for a password, but many do check an applicant's social media use. And one risque post or picture could knock someone out of the running for that job.
"Would I show them my Facebook page?" asked Shannon Taylor, who is unemployed. "I probably wouldn't have a problem with it."
"I'd say no," said Patricia Modugno, who also is on the job hunt. "You go by my resume, my experience, my previous performances. And that's what they're supposed to do anyway."
But what employers are "supposed" to do hasn't really been outlined yet.
Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Charles Schumer of New York are calling for a federal investigation into job hunters' online privacy rights.
"We believe employers have no right to ask their job applicants for many things," Schumer said. "For their house keys, for their diaries. Why should they be able to ask them to do the electronic version of the same thing and get their Facebook passwords?"
In Bend, many major employers like St. Charles Medical Center and the city don't use Facebook as a reference point. But Bend-La Pine Schools do.
"Everything we can do to find out information on the people we're considering, that's what we do," said Assistant Human Resources Director Debbie Watkins. "It's available, and it wouldn't be wise if we didn't use that information."
The human resources office doesn't ask for passwords, but they will look at what's available online, and something simple could weed an applicant out. For one job opening, they see hundreds of applicants -- and Watkins says in the competitive market, they have to consider everything.
"If you've got a lot of different qualified people that you're looking at, you're going to try and pick the best person that's going to fit," Watkins said. "With the best character that's going to be, for us particularly, in front of our students. We have to make sure that these are the right people that we're putting there."
It can be more than just Facebook. Officials say any blog post, Twitter mention or social media use could come back to haunt someone.
Several people applying for jobs say it's just another hurdle in a tough economy.
"It's kind of hard -- a lot of people aren't even hiring," Catt said. "It's hard to sometimes even get in there."
"If you do things like partying a lot, they would probably tend to lean away from you," said Taylor.
It's a new world, where what someone says or posts online, today, yesterday, months or years ago, may well be used against them. And if someone does not get that job interview, he or she may never even know why.
Do you think employers should be allowedto ask (or demand) a job applicant's Facebook password? Vote in our new KTVZ.COM Poll, halfway down the right side of the home page.