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Does your Facebook profile accurately predict your job performance?

by Mhairi Kerr

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The role Facebook plays in the employment market for both job seekers and those looking to hire new staff, is an increasingly common topic of debate.

This has been further fuelled by a recent study conducted by three United States' universities, that demonstrated a strong correlation between job performance and the Facebook scores for traits such as conscientiousness, agreeability and intellectual curiosity.

The experiment was detailed in a recent article in the WSJ:

The study involved three "raters" -- comprising one university professor and two students -- analysing the Facebook profiles of 56 college students with jobs.

After spending roughly 10 minutes perusing each profile, including photos, wall posts, comments, education and hobbies, the raters answered a series of personality-related questions, such as "Is this person dependable?" and "How emotionally stable is this person?". Favourable scores were generally given to those who traveled, had more friends and showed a wide range of hobbies and interests.

Six months later, the researchers matched the ratings against employee evaluations from each of the students' supervisors, and the results illustrated a strong link between job performance and the scores.

This raises the question of whether or not Facebook could be, or should be, used as a screening tool during a recruitment process.

Given the information is in the public domain, all Facebook users are aware that (depending on their privacy settings) their information is accessible to all. However, this does not mean it is a reliable means of assessing an individual's personality.

What do you think?