Published on February 21st, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Facebook Beats Personality Tests in Job Performance Prediction, Study Finds
If you’ve taken a standardized personality test to screen for a job and thought that it’s kind of bollocks, a new study reveals that it mainly is- at least compared to Facebook.
Facebook and other social networks have long been pegged as opportunity-killing machines- leaking embarrassing information, drunk pictures, emotionally charged status updates and now, questionable Pinterest pins and Spotify listens to our friends and random browsing parties. But as many in the social media realm have also posited, the services can act as a sort of personal brand reinforcer, creating a steady and discernable viewable track record of your personality when viewed by potential employers attempting to get a feel for your fit in a certain workplace culture.
The Orlando Sentinel obtained some data from a soon to be published piece in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, concerning the use of Facebook profiles to predict job performance. What the study found is that Facebook profiles are better indicators of how a potential employee will perform in the workplace than those frustrating and somewhat unsettling tests often given as part of the application process. And as the paper points out, the results of the study really are quite fascinating in regards to the impact of our social networking and its real life counterpart.
Management professor and one of the study’s lead authors, Donald Kluemper, said the research was inspired by all those horror tales of hiring companies being put off by social media. He explained:
“Hiring specialists were just trying to eliminate someone who was doing something inappropriate… What we did is try to assess the personality traits in a similar way that they might be assessed by a standardized test.”
Two hundred and seventy-four profiles were reviewed for five to ten minutes each after a two hour training session, and the study explains how the results illustrated far more for the hiring staff participating in the study than standard self-assessment tests, which carry known prejudice from faulty data given by test takers:
“Those high in agreeableness are trusting and get along well with others, which may be represented in the extensiveness of personal information posted. Openness to experience is related to intellectual curiosity and creativity, which could be revealed by the variety of books, favorite quotations or other posts showing the user engaged in new activities and creative endeavors. Extroverts more frequently interact with others, which could be represented by the number of SNW (social networking websites) friends a user has.”
Kluemper explains why Facebook could be more reliable than standard self-evaluations and IQ tests:
“I think one of the differences is that you change the frame of reference,” …You’re asking the rater, ‘Is this person a hard worker?’ On a personality test, the employee would be asked, ‘How hard a worker are you?’ One of the criticisms of self-reporting personality testing is that it can be faked. On a Facebook page, that’s a lot harder to do.”
Interestingly, in the end, the Facebook evaluations proved more accurate in predicting performance success in the candidates hired after six months on the job. Do you think opening your Facebook profile to a potential employer would help or hurt your chances of getting the job?