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Study: Facebook Predicts Job Performance

posted by – February 22nd, 2012

There’s a good chance that savvy human resources professionals look at job applicant’s Facebook pages before they interview them. Now, a study from three universities suggests the information gathered from someone’s Facebook page just might predict how they will fare on the job.

According to a report from the University of Evansville, researcher Peter A. Rosen, associate professor of management information, asserts that Facebook can be used to “reliably assess various personality traits, traits shown in existing literature to predict academic and job success and to be legally defensible for selection purposes.”

Rosen teamed up with professionals from Northern Illinois University and Auburn University for the study, reported The Wall Street Journal . In the experiment, three “raters” – including one professor and two students – were presented with the Facebook profiles of 56 students with jobs.

After looking at each profile for about 10 minutes, raters answered a series of personality-related questions based on what they found by perusing a subject’s photos, wall posts, comments, interests and education. Questions covered personality traits including openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

Six months later, the researchers matched the ratings against employee evaluations from the subjects’ supervisors. The researchers then found that job performance and the Facebook scores seemed be linked.

Mashable pointed out that any correlation is likely subjective, but suggested that “job seekers shouldn’t necessarily worry that they need to clean up their Facebook profile.” For example, party pictures – even those showing a person beer in hand – could show that someone is outgoing, extroverted and open to new experiences.