It's not personal...

With mounting legal, financial and corporate pressures for employers to hire the right person for the right job, the distinction between an employee's work and personal life just got a lot more uncertain with news last week that employers are now requesting passwords to prospective employees' Facebook pages as part of the "modern interview process". 

The practise has reportedly grown more commonplace as companies increasingly regard social media profiles as windows into a prospective employee's character. Is this a step too far or is it just another hyped example of how much social media and the world's obsession with living life online has crossed over into the real world?

Last Friday, Facebook's Chief Privacy Officer posted a note warning that the social media networking giant could "initiate legal action" against employers that demand Facebook passwords. Facebook's outspoken stance on the issue is out of character and I can't help thinking that their response was just a clever PR exercise to deflect attention away from Facebook's own repeated bungling of privacy issues over the years - especially when it comes to changing its own privacy settings.

PR stunt or not, if you opt to live out a substantial part of your life online then you need to accept that privacy does not exist in today's online world. More and more online facilitators such as Facebook - under pressure to generate profits for shareholders - will continue to seek innovative ways to push the boundaries between what is not acceptable in the offline word and what will become the norm in the online world of today's Facebook generation. 

This is more a case of today's HR Managers simply using all of the tools available to them to select the right candidate. Don't forget, the candidate can always say no!