There are news reports of some employers asking for the facebook log-in information from prospective employees. Why is this causing such a controversy?

I’ve seen this same story about two years ago. This time around, the story is no different, except the company’s are now asking directly for facebook log-in information. Before they were just spying from behind the hedges.

The obvious controversy is that people don’t want others prying into their personal lives. For them it is a privacy issue. They believe that their work-life and their home-life are two different things, and that the companies have no business crossing over into their personal lives.

Home Life, Work Life?

Is it really true that there are two separate lives of an individual? Is there a home-life, and is there a separate work-life?

I want you to put aside your privacy fears for just a second, and think about this objectively and logically. I want you to think about this from the company’s perspective. No emotions for now, just dry, sterile facts…

Why would a company be interested in your personal life? Here is the simple answer: “Character.”

The company is interested in your character, and the only way to find out this is to observe you when you are alone or under stress. These are where your real character is exposed. And since they can’t put you under stress, the next best thing is to find out what you are like when you think that no one is looking.

Why is your character so important? This sound such like a stupid question, because you already know the answer. But I’ll say it anyway.

Your character is important, because once you are an employee of the company, you become the face of the company to everyone you meet.

The company is worried that you will project negatively to their customers, and drive them away.

For example, let’s look at Penn State University, since it was in the news a few months ago. I didn’t follow the story too deeply, so my facts may be a little off, but here is what I recall:

In the story, the Football department hired an assistant coach, and that coach ran a summer football camp. Allegedly he sexually abused some of the young boys. And this went on for several years.

Rumors of that abuse started to surface, and people said that the legendary head football coach, Joe Paterno, even knew about the allegations. But he did nothing.

When the story leaked out, a lot of people got fired, including Joe Paterno and the university’s president.

Why? Why such a huge reaction to this scandal by the university? To understand why they were fired, you have to see who the customers of the school are.

You’re right. It is the parents of the students (you didn’t think it was just the students, did you?). It is the parents, in a large portion, that are paying for the school’s services. What is the fear of the parents? That their child will be abused at the school.

Therefore, the university has a major problem. Their customers are thinking that the school is OK with students being abused, because the football program is more important. Right? In the end, the university is worried that the parents will send their students to some other school.

They have to get rid of this notion immediately, like it is breast cancer. They have to remove it immediately, even cutting away good tissue.

Additionally, they are now faced with lawsuits of the alleged victims of the coach’s actions. It is going to cost them millions of dollars.

The Company Is Taking A Risk Hiring You

There is no such thing as separate lives. Companies know this. When the company-life spills over into the personal life, the company is obligated to pay you. This is called “overtime pay.” Right?

But what happens when your personal life spills over into the company’s life? What compensation does the company get? What did Penn State University get out of the deal?

Or for example, say you go out partying, and you get a DUI on the way home. You don’t think this doesn’t spills into the company life, do you? Sure it does. You’re going to miss several days of work—at least. And your mind is not going to be on your work for a long time, because of the worry that is going to be consuming you. So the company is going to have to scramble to find other people to pick up the slack because of your lost productivity. And the state may even require them to garnish your wages, which pretty much prohibits them from firing your butt. They are then stuck with you.

Similar things happen when you go through a break-up with your lover. You lose time at work because of all the emotional issues that are involved. And it also spills over on how you treat the customers that you come into contact with.

Character Matters – It is VITAL to Your Potential Employer

What you do in private does spill over into your work life. Drill that concept into your head. It is a truth that is indisputable from the company’s perspective.

Character is probably the most important criteria a company is looking for in a potential new-hire. It is the same thing that a customer looks for when she is deciding which company to take her business to.

And the higher up you go in salary and in job responsibility, the more important it becomes. Why? Because not only do you have to consider all of what I previously mentioned, but when you become a well-paid manager, you are also a role model to everyone under you. So if you habitually come in late for work, or if you arrive to work sleepy because you stayed out until 3 a.m. to be at the midnight-premier of the Hunger Games movie, it means that everyone under you will assume that it is OK to do the same thing.

You are a role model if you are a manager. You set the example for what everyone else around you expects that they can do too. And productivity and customer satisfaction suffers. You also put the company at risk of being sued.

Your FaceBook Account Matters Too

Why are companies so interested in your Facebook account? Because it allows them to see your real character when your guard is down.

For example, job candidates are well trained in how to handle an interview. There are web sites that you can click on that will show you how to answer all of the typical job interview questions. There might even be advertisements here on this web page, which means it is pretty common.

Ask yourself: “Do you think the companies don’t know this?” I’ve been saying this same thing for years:

The interview process is a battle – the job candidate is doing their best to hide their personal life (which is a reflection of their personal character), and the company is trying their best to expose it.

A Facebook account lays it all bare. Even if you don’t post much on your account, the people you select as your friends tells a lot about your own character. Isn’t that what your parents told you when you were young? If you hang out with a bunch of dopes, it isn’t a far stretch for the company to assume that you’re a dope too.

That owners of Facebook fear this. They are even threatening lawsuits against companies that look at a job candidate’s Facebook account. They are worried that people will stop coming to Facebook all together, and then their ad revenue will drop.

How To Get A Job Without Giving Up Your Facebook Password?

One of my favorite sayings my mentor used a lot is: “You can’t hide the odor of a skunk.”

What this means is that by your works, you shall be known. In other words, “the word gets around about you.”

If you are a lousy employee, other employers will get wind of your performance and character attributes. But it works the other way too: if you are a GREAT employee, word will spread about that as well.

Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank. Proverbs 22:29 (NIV)

How does this apply to you? Right now you may be out of a job, looking to get hired. You may not be in a position to be seen by officials of high rank within a company. Here is my suggestion:

Step 1: Go right now to a temporary employment agency. Tell them EXACTLY what you are going to do. You need to be up-front about this. The reason is that they will be DELIGHTED to help you, because it helps them out too. They are chosen by employers based on the quality of candidates they send out. You’re going to be helping them build this reputation so that they get more companies coming to them for employees.

Tell the employment agency that you are trying to quickly build up a reputation about your work ethic and character values. Tell them that you want to work as a very short term temp at at least three different employers. A week at a time.

Step 2: Here’s the kicker, which I guarantee will get you a those three jobs nearly immediately. Tell the staff person that you’ll be willing to give them all your money that you make during those three weeks. You’re paying them to find you three temporary jobs for you! You’ve been out of work for over three months, so what is another three weeks worth of pay checks…

Is this worth it? Think long-term. At the end of three weeks, you’re going to have work experience at three different companies.

Step 3: When you go to these companies, tell the boss the naked truth. “I know you’re probably not want to keep me on full time. But while I’m here, I’m going to bust my ass off for you. And at the end of the week, I’d like for you to write a character and work recommendation letter for me. Is that fair?”

Of course it is fair. As an employer myself, I’d jump at the chance to take on this type of employee. This is someone that is willing to invest in themselves. This shows a MASSIVE amount of personal character. I’d be tempted to hire them full-time right there on the spot.

Landing Your Dream Job

Step 4: At the end of the three-week period, you’re going to have “in your hand,” three little pieces of paper, that are literally worth a minimum of 10 times their weight in gold. Those recommendation letters are actually priceless.

They are your ticket to a dream job that you’ll have no problem landing. Here’s why: I haven’t come across a job applicant in the last five years that has ever had a letter of recommendation from a previous employer. And you’re going to have three of them!

As an employer, those three pieces of paper are concrete evidence that you are a person worth hiring. So what? So what, that they are only for an employment history of the last three weeks. Just the fact that you asked someone else to put their credibility on the line for you makes you vastly different from every other person that has applied for the job. The letters say: “You are different.”

That is enough for me. I’d be excited to hire a person like that, because everyone else I see is: “same-old, same-old.”

Let your pleasant odor be known. It is how to make money, God’s way.


Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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