How Facebook Can Influence Whether You Get A Job (Backed By Data)

In a previous blog post, I examined the research on personality assessment using LinkedIn. This week I present the data on Facebook. What do our profiles actually reveal about us? And how accurate are others’ judgments of us based on these profiles? According to the research, pretty accurate.

boss-reaction-facebook-postOur personal and professional identities are becoming more and more intertwined these days, as evident in our social network profiles like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This interconnection means our online presence is increasingly being used as a tool for hiring managers to screen and assess job candidates. A 2011 survey by the Society of Human Resource Management found that 56% of organizations used social media to identify potential job candidates. And remember—that was 2011!

The Research

In 2012 a study examining the profiles of 274 Facebook users found that complete strangers were able to accurately assess the users’ Big Five personality traits (i.e., Agreeableness, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, and Openness to Experience) based on a 5-minute perusal of their Facebook profiles (Kluemper, Rosen, & Mossholder, 2012) [Tweet This!].

Source: Kluemper, D. H., Rosen, P. A., & Mossholder, K. W. (2012). Social networking websites, personality ratings, and the organizational context: More than meets the eye? Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42(5), 1143–1172.
Source: Kluemper, D. H., Rosen, P. A., & Mossholder, K. W. (2012). Social networking websites, personality ratings, and the organizational context: More than meets the eye? Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42(5), 1143–1172.

Furthermore, these personality traits – specifically, Emotional Stability and Agreeableness – were related to job performance ratings in a subsample of 56 users. Similar results on using Facebook profiles to predict job performance were recently found by Cavanaugh and Landers (2014). As Landers states, “Because the information from social media is so unique and new, it’s not recommended that employers replace self-tests – they are more useful together and complement one another.”

The data suggests that people’s online presence depicts a realistic portrayal of themselves.

What does this mean for job seekers?

Make sure your public social network profiles are up-to-date, active, and reflect the real you. They might just help you land that dream job.

Read this next: How to Get Hired for a Job in Sales Without Experience

Will this knowledge impact the way you apply for jobs? What else are you interested in knowing? Let me know in the comments or send me a tweet @ji_amin

 

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Ji-A Min

Ji-A Min

Head Data Scientist at Ideal
Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal. With a Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Ji-A promotes best practices and data-based recruitment. She writes about trends and research in talent acquisition, HR tech, and people analytics.
Ji-A Min

Comments

  • Daniel Badre

    Great post Ji-A! Hope all is well. Next time I’m in town I will drop you a line.

    Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks for your nice feedback, Dan.

      It would be amazing to catch up and have a great weekend too!