In a recent study from Northern Illinois University, researchers found that Facebook profiles can help predict job performance and academic success. A small group of HR professionals and students were asked to review students’ Facebook profiles, grade them according to the Big Five personality traits (conscientiousness, agreeableness, extroversion, emotional stability and openness) and then rate their hirability. Six months later, researchers matched these ratings against employee evaluations from the students’ supervisors and found a strong correlation between the two.
“In five or 10 minutes, our raters could look at the tone of a subject’s wall post, note the number of friends they have, peruse their photos to see how social they were and assess their tastes in books and music. It’s a very rich source of information,” says Don Kluemper, lead researcher of the study.
Other major takeaways of the study include:
- Facebook scores were a better predictor of future academic success (based upon grade point averages) than personality and IQ scores combined.
- Facebook profiles are more authentic than personality profiles questionnaires.
- Emotional extremes displayed on Facebook can translate to “emotionally unstable.”
What can I do to make sure my profile is the best reflection of my personality?
Reppler helps you monitor your Facebook profile, and generates an “Image Score” to evaluate the tone of the language on your wall (positive, neutral or negative). Our “Common Word” widget keeps record of the words used most often by you and your connections. Like to “vent” on Facebook? Chances are your score will indicate a higher level of emotional instability (not exactly something a potential employer wants to see). When it doubt, choose something positive to post.
Interestingly enough, however, social pictures on your profile are not always a bad thing. They indicate extroversion and friendliness. Does this mean anything goes? Certainly not. Some pictures, and you know which ones, should remain for your eyes only.
Whether we like it or not, Facebook is being used as a reliable job-screening tool. It is important to ensure that your profile is consistent with how you would like to be perceived by others, personally and professionally.