Study: No, you can’t tell if someone is a good hire from their Facebook profile

By George Chidi
Sunday, January 5, 2014 20:13 EDT
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Facebook (AFP)
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The conventional management wisdom for the last 18 months — based on earlier studies — has held that a job candidate’s social media profile can tell a smart personnel manager which person will be a good employee and which will not.

Well … not so fast.

Researchers at three universities and a consulting firm put headhunters through their paces, testing their ability to predict the future job performance of a group of college seniors after looking at their Facebook profiles. The results contradict a 2012 study by Donald Kluemper of the University of Northern Illinois, published by the Journal of Applied Psychology, which indicated some value in using Facebook to form impressions before hiring.

However, the recent research showed almost exactly the opposite. There was no statistical correlation between hiring managers’ impressions and the actual rated performance of the students a year into their first jobs.

Instead, the study revealed that recruiters gave low marks to candidates with Facebook profiles that “had traditionally non-White names or were clearly non-White.” Men in general fared poorer as well.

“The overall results suggest that organizations should be very cautious about using social media information such as Facebook to assess job applicants,” the authors wrote.

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