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Is Facebook an Employment Crystal Ball?

Posted on: February 29th, 2012 | Category: hiring process, NetSourcing, Our Blog

A recent article posted on line by the Wall Street Journal suggests that your Facebook profile might be very telling to potential employers about your future job performance. The article reports on a new study from Northern Illinois University, the University of Evansville and Auburn University where a professor and two students were presented with the Facebook profiles of 56 college students who had jobs. The three “raters” were then asked to rate the subjects. Could Facebook potentially be used as a reliable job-screening tool? According to the article:

After spending roughly 10 minutes perusing each profile, including photos, wall posts, comments, education and hobbies, the raters answered a series of personality-related questions, such as “Is this person dependable?” and “How emotionally stable is this person?”

Six months later, the researchers matched the ratings against employee evaluations from each of the students’ supervisors. They found a strong correlation between job performance and the Facebook scores for traits such as conscientiousness, agreeability and intellectual curiosity.

So what can we learn from this? “People are more likely to portray their truer selves in front of their friends, which in today’s world includes their posts and comments on Facebook,” says Bonnie Levitt, MSW, PHR, Director of Hiring Management for hireVision Group. “We’ve found that a person’s social media presence is really a part of who they are, and if you know what to look for, you can glean a lot of valuable insight from what he or she posts there.”

Levitt also notes that the legal issues and limits surrounding the use of social media outlets to screen job applicants are still being played out in courtrooms right now, so employers need to be cautious, especially in regards to discrimination. That said, social media also offers a great opportunity for companies to specifically target individuals in certain areas of interest and invite them to consider their available positions. This “passive recruiting” is what our new service NetSourcing is all about. It’s the next generation of talent mining.

For more information about NetSourcing or any of our other Hiring Process Management or HR Partnering Services , please contact us at 610.443.0119 or email us.

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