A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology shows a strong relationship between characteristics revealed on Facebook profiles and success on the job.Commentary
Researchers asked two students and a university professor to spend 10 minutes going through the Facebook profiles of employed college students. They looked at comments, photographs, friends and interests and then answered a series of personality-related questions about the student workers. (e.g., "Is this person dependable?" "How emotionally stable is this person?")
A large number of friends and a wide range of interests demonstrated agreeability. The researcher also found that photographs of employees partying were seen as positive because they showed the person was sociable and extroverted.
Six months later the researchers obtained supervisors' performance reviews of the students' work and compared them to the earlier Facebook evaluations. They found a strong correlation between high scores for traits including curiosity, agreeability and conscientiousness and successful performance at work. The researchers believe the Facebook evaluations proved to be more accurate than traditional personality tests that employers often use to gauge potential employees. "Your Facebook profile 'can help predict your job performance,'" www.economictimes.com (Feb. 23, 2012).
The study described in the source article was conducted by Dr. Peter A. Rosen, a professor at University of Evansville and Dr. Don Kluemper of Northern Illinois University. According to an article posted in Social Media News
, the two men decided to team up to do the research because Dr. Rosen's research was focused on social networking websites and Dr. Kluemper's research was centered on personality.
When Dr. Rosen was asked what job seekers should avoid on their Facebook profiles, he said, "While you might think that I am going to say avoid posting pictures of you and your friends enjoying an adult beverage, my answer is a little different. My personal peeve is the person that consistently posts negative status messages, which shows that they score low in the personality trait of emotional stability. There is something to be said about hiring a positive person in the workplace."
Based on the study, employers can glean both positive and negative attributes from applicants' social media posts. The best practice for employers is to check a job applicant's public social media profile as part of the background check process. They should look for qualities that may help the applicant in the job as well as positive, negative and detrimental posts.
Remember, few jobs require a negative attitude. In the end, happy employees are better employees.
For more information on using social media in the hiring process log on to read Social Media Background Checks - A New Tool or a New Source of Liability?
published on this Site.
This informational piece was published on April 3, 2012.
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