Journal of Applied Social Psychology says yes it can - in fact, even better than tests that human resource departments are used to running.Can a potential employer judge your potential work performance based on a Facebook profile? A new study forthcoming in the
In this experiment, three "raters" were presented Facebook profiles of 56 college students who already had jobs. They spent about 10 minutes checking out the profiles, including the user's wall posts, photos, comments, education and hobbies, and then answered personality-related questions about this person. They were most curious about these two questions: Is this person dependable? Is this person emotionally stable? In showing up for any job, those are two of the most important traits.
Donald Kluemper, a management professor at Northern Illinois University, first released this study to the Chicago Tribune.
"Hiring specialists were just trying to eliminate someone who was doing something inappropriate," Kluemper told the Tribune. "What we did is try to assess the personality traits in a similar way that they might be assessed by a standardized test."
Who received the highest scores? Raters favored students who traveled, had more friends and showed interest in many hobbies. In other words, raters favored the well-rounded users. And those "partying" photos didn't count against the user - rather, raters believed that users who socialized were more likely to be extroverted and friendly.
Job recruiters are already using Facebook as a tool. Whereas LinkedIn is a professional-focused space where everyone puts on their "best", Facebook is a catch all, an odd mix of personal and professional. Many are already using their Facebook profile in more professional ways. Facebook Timeline users can receive custom-made MOO business cards. For those Facebook users who would like a bit more privacy, there's an option to create lists and share information only with certain groups of Facebook friends.
But should we really be judged by how we present ourselves on social networks, particularly Facebook? Because there is no real context to our social networked personas, it can be difficult to glean real meaning from an obtuse status update, a sad love song or a meme that you felt compelled to share in the moment. The banal details of our lives are uninteresting and not worth reading into. What social networks do give us a peek into is the personality of a user, and how that fits into the potential job opening. After all, your Facebook personality is quite like the real you.