As social media is becoming a more integral part of everyday life, employers are increasingly targeting these sites to screen job candidates, and some have recently been under fire when they asked prospective employees for their social media passwords. While these employers may have good intentions and just want to verify information given to them by job applicants, there could be negative repercussions, says Duncan Ferguson, managing director of leadership development at BPI Group, a global management and human resources consulting firm.

"Most employers are looking at character issues and thinking about whether that individual would be good fit into the organization," Ferguson says. "Employers are trying to see what they can find out about job seekers and if there's anything that could potentially cause them some embarrassment. They want to double check what their job candidates have said about themselves and find out if all the information is truthful."

In a time when many employers are citing difficulty recruiting employees, crossing privacy boundaries by requesting a job prospect's password just makes the task that much more difficult. Job candidates see it as a sign that the employer doesn't trust its employees, which could make that candidate question whether that is a desirable work environment, Ferguson says. If this news makes it around the office, it could also impact current employees' morale and make them question whether they want to stay at a company that doesn't trust its work force, especially as the job market appears to be growing.

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