by Mike Arsenault - Director of Candidate Services
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Bradley-Morris answers questions from transitioning military job seekers.
Q: Can a potential employer require me to give them my social media passwords in order to view my pages?
A: I’m sure a lot of people reading this now think that your question is absurd, but unfortunately, there have been cases where hiring managers have asked to be given access to a job applicant’s social media accounts.
The answer is NO. The issue has become so tense that state legislators are taking action. In May, Washington became the fifth state this year to institute legal protections against such a practice. An employer also cannot ask you to friend him or her in order to gain access to your accounts.
However, how do you handle this type of question if it IS asked of you in an interview? Some good advice comes from an article entitled “How to Handle Illegal Interview Questions” on Yahoo Hot Jobs by Todd Anten. An option Anten mentions is, “Don’t answer the question, but answer the intent behind the question. This is usually the best option, since it allows you to provide a tactful answer without sacrificing your rights. To answer the intent behind the question, try to figure out what the interviewer REALLY wants to know.”
So the way you might answer the Facebook password question is, “If you are asking if what I do outside of work hours will impact my job performance, the answer is ‘No’. I’m excited about this opportunity and will give 110% to this position.” If they continue to press the issue, you can choose not to answer on privacy grounds. It might impact your job candidacy, but at this point, you would have to ask yourself if you really wanted to work for an employer that would be that invasive into your private affairs.
Q: I’m extremely proud of my time in the military, but I am finding that being a veteran is becoming the sole focus of my job interviews and not my skills. How can I steer the conversation back to how my military skills are a fit for the civilian job and demonstrate my desire for the position without appearing to negate my time in the armed forces?
A: Hiring veterans is an ongoing initiative in businesses across the country and the hiring climate overall for those who have served is positive. There is a good chance your military experiences and training are the reason you’re a fit for the position. However, one way to open another line of questions as it relates to your skills is to discuss the company itself.
You could mention that you’ve done extensive research on the company. Bring up some items, initiatives or facts that have impressed you. Once you’ve laid that foundation, you can ask some open-ended questions about the position and use the answers for follow-up responses that showcase your depth of knowledge in the position.
Mike Arsenault is Director of Candidate Services at Military Recruiter Bradley-Morris, Inc. He can be reached at (800) 330-4950 ext. 2105 or by email at marsenault (at) bradley-morris.com.
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