Would you give up your Facebook password for the shot at a job?

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - It's no secret employers want to see job seekers online activity; Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn profiles, but now some employers want your password too.

That idea has some people saying employers are going too far.

"As far as passwords go, no, I would very likely forgo that position," said job seeker Aaron Smothers.

It's a question more and more job seekers are faced with, turn over your Facebook password or not.

"You know that's mine, it's private," said Smothers.

Smothers is currently looking for work. He says he couldn't believe when he heard more employers nationwide are asking for Facebook passwords to vet potential employees.

"If it goes to that level of I want your password, instead of that happening, I would much prefer, we don't want to you have Facebook," Smothers said.

Robin Strop with the Division of Workforce Development in Cape Girardeau says she has not seen or heard of employers in the Heartland asking for passwords, but that doesn't necessarily mean they won't.

"There's so many things that I think employers look at now cause there are so many candidates," said Strop.

Strop says companies have numerous ways to check potential employees.

"The Googling, the background checks, of course that's been done for a long time, the drug screening, physicals, credit checks," said Strop.

"My first reaction was, you know they can't ask for that, that's not legal," said Smothers.

Attorney Diane Howard with The Limbaugh Firm says for private companies it is legal, but she still doesn't recommend it.

"It's an area where you're starting out the relationship on a bad foot, and you're not getting anything out of it," said Howard. "So I tell an employer, stay away from it."

Howard says public employers have another set of guidelines.

"A public employer should be concerned to not get into areas that possibly would violate a privacy right, under the first amendment," said Howard.

Even so, Smothers says he carefully monitors what he posts online.

"Certain things, I always keep in mind you know my grandma could potentially look at it," said Smothers.

"Employers tell me that they feel like what potential employees or current employees post on social media is a better indication of who their employees really are, than what they see during the interview," said Howard.

But Smothers says the idea of identity theft concerns him.

"The password, you can log in as that person, and then put information in, and delete information, or whatever that is," said Smothers. "I can imagine where there are some positions that would want to do that, but if it's a job like that, they could just ask their employees not to have Facebook."

According to AP reports, a group of employers using this tactic is law enforcement. It says they want to scan to make sure job candidates are not engaging in illegal activity.

Cape Girardeau Police Officer Darin Hickey says the Cape Girardeau Police Department has never asked a candidate for his or her password, but says they do extensive background checks.

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