Companies often resort to scanning a job applicant’s Facebook profile for evidence of drug or alcohol use, sometimes eliminating the most qualified applicants based on erroneous assumptions that these applicants are not responsible or ‘conscientious.’
Researchers at N.C. State University sought to test the validity of these employers’ snap judgments when using Facebook to screen job applicants, publishing their results in a paper titled, “Big Five Personality Traits Reflected in Job Applicants’ Social Media Postings.”
After testing 175 participants, researchers found that there is no significant correlation between conscientiousness and an individual’s willingness to publish content on Facebook pertaining to alcohol or drug use.
“This study takes a different twist,” said Dr. Lori Foster Thompson, the paper’s co-author. “This study is saying employers need to beware because by engaging in these practices and weeding out people, they might not know exactly who they’re weeding out.”
The researchers said extraversion and agreeableness were often the easiest traits to identify on Facebook.
“We found that people who were posting less about bad mouthing or made fewer references, employers and coworkers were found to be more agreeable,” said Will Stoughton, a Ph.D. student at N.C. State and lead author of the paper.
The research did not identify what employers thought of job applicants lacking a social-media presence altogether, though that’s arguably not doing those applicants any favors.
cross posted from the Business Journal