This employer’s taken the concept of online background checks to a new level.
Candidates applying for jobs with the city of Bozeman, Montana, are asked to list “any and all” Web sites, chat rooms and social networking groups they use (“including but not limited to Facebook, Google, Yahoo, YouTube.com, MySpace, etc.”) — along with their usernames and passwords.
Many hiring managers Google applicants’ names or look for them on Facebook, but actually logging in to their personal profiles is something new entirely.
Why does Bozeman want that access? According to city attorney Greg Sullivan, it’s “to make sure the people that we hire have the highest moral character and are a good fit for the city,” The Consumerist reports.
Sullivan also said the city doesn’t look at “the things that the federal Constitution lists as protected things” (whatever that means).
The story drew a lot of attention and outcry from the media, potential Bozeman employees and HR pros. That’s not surprising, considering there’s a debate going on about whether hiring managers should even look at candidates’ profiles, let alone obtain log-in information.
Apparently all the press got the city rethinking that part of the application. In a recent press release, Bozeman announced it will “suspend its practice of reviewing candidates’ password protected internet information until the City conducts a more comprehensive evaluation of the practice.”
What do you think? Did the public overreact to Bozeman’s hiring practice, or was the negative response justified?
Should social networking profiles play any role in the background check process at all?
Let us know what you think in the comments section below.