First there were accusations of age discrimination from older workers
when, in reality, their kids have far higher rates of unemployment.
Then there was the question of whether it's illegal or not to ask
discriminatory questions in a job interview. Now there's the whole
Facebook password controversy.
With all the over-the-top
political correctness, everybody and the ACLU ready to sue employers for
asking a simple question, and all the flat-out bad advice from people
who have no idea what they're talking about, I've never been more
thrilled to be out of the line of fire.
Still, I feel the need to set the record straight on some of this
crazy controversy, if only so 30-year-old kids don't have to sleep in
their childhood beds with pop star posters hanging on the walls and
their parents demanding they "turn it down."
I may not be an HR
person or a Gen Y personal branding guru, but let's just say I know a
little bit more than I'd like about employment law, interviewing and
being interviewed. Here's some no-nonsense advice you can use.
Can employers ask for your Facebook password?
they can, and a congressional amendment to block the practice was shot
down recently. That said, Facebook doesn't think companies should ask
for your username and password, and I agree. It's creepy and I don't
think you're going to find reputable companies like Microsoft (MSFT) or Apple (AAPL)
doing it. Still, it's a free country. Interviewers can ask, but you
don't have to give it to them. If it bugs you, politely decline and find
a job elsewhere. Save your outrage for later that night and a beer. If
you're desperate for a job, clean up your account and give it to them.
It's your choice how to answer, just as it is their choice to ask.
What is and isn't discrimination?
can ask just about any question they want, including your age, race and
gender. It's dumb, but it is legal to ask. As Evil HR Lady Suzanne Lucas
recently wrote, the interviewer can pretty much tell all that just by
looking at you and your resume. And while it is illegal for them to use
that information in making a hiring decision, it's very hard to prove
that they've done so. For example, older workers are usually more
expensive than their younger counterparts. Unfortunately, there's no law
against basing a hiring decision on compensation.
Should you interview the interviewer?
lot of people suggest you should prepare a boatload of questions to
find out more about the company and the hiring manager so you know what
you're getting yourself into. A question or two is great, but I think
overdoing it is very risky, especially in this job market. You're single
goal in the interview process is to get an offer. Once you get an
offer, you can always follow up with more questions. Also, I don't care
how good your questions are, you won't know what you're getting yourself
into until you've been there a while. That's just the way it is,
whether you're a worker or a CEO. Really.
What exactly do interviewers look for?
than anything, they're looking for a fit, someone with the knowledge
and experience to do the job and fit in with the company culture. The
job specification will detail what they're looking for. If there's no
spec or they won't give you one, then read up on the company and its
Based on what you do know, think about a
particular experience to show them you can successfully do what they
need done. That's the main thing. Then just look and act the part and
try to relax. Since you can't predict the future and you don't know what
they're going to ask, just be as open and present as possible. Anything
else will only detract from the main thing: you. So be you. That's who
they're hiring, right?
Does personal branding help? As I explained in 7 career advice myths,
the short answer is no, personal branding does not help. Sure, you
should look and behave professionally in person and online. Clean up
your social media presence
by keeping your public profile professional and your personal stuff
password protected between family and friends, for example. The company
is interviewing you to see if you can do the job and fit in. The best
way to stand out is to show you can do that with minimal drama
By: Steve Tobak