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Facebook an unreliable way to judge future employees, study finds

The study found that a person’s Facebook profile had no bearing on their overall job performance.

Image: Martin Keene/ PA

THOSE USING FACEBOOK to decide whether someone is worth hiring may need to think twice before they use it, according to a new study.

The research, carried out by researchers at Florida State University, Old Dominion University, Clemson University and Accenture, found that the content on a person’s Facebook profiles has no bearing on their overall job performance.

The study looked at 416 college students who were applying for full-time jobs. The students agreed to let the researchers capture screenshots of their Facebook walls, info pages, photos and interests.

The researchers then asked 86 recruiters to view these pages, judge the personality of each student and rate how employable they appeared. Each one looked at five of the candidates and no further information about them was provided.

More than a year later, the researchers followed up with most of the former students’ supervisor and asked them to review their job performance. They were able to get information of 142 of the 292 participants and found that the Facebook profile ratings “correlated essentially zero with job performance.”

Those who got low scores either had profanity, photos of people at parties or drinking, strange profile pictures, religious quotes and sexual references.

The recruiters tended to rate women higher than men while white applicants rated higher than other demographics as well as those who had “traditionally non-white names and/or who were clearly non-white.”

The study recommends against recruiters using social media for recruitment until it’s proven that it’s a reliable indicator for job performance.

On the basis of these factors, we strongly encourage organizations to refrain from using SM (e.g., Facebook) and other Internet information (e.g., Google searches) until methods for collecting and evaluating such information are shown to be reliable and valid.

The report was published in Journal of Management, a bi-monthly research magazine.

Read: Facebook page of Limerick City of Culture is hacked >

Read: Facebook sued for allegedly using your private messages to tailor ads >

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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