A new study claims that your Facebook profile can reveal what kind of employee you’ll be – to an even greater degree than an IQ test.
The paper, published in the latest Journal of Applied Social Psychology, consists of two studies conducted by researchers at three universities. Six people with human resources experience were asked to rate the personality traits of 500 people using only the sample group’s Facebook profiles.
The HR experts judged their targets on the “Big Five” personality traits: extroversion, conscientiousness, emotional stability, agreeableness and openness to new experiences. They spent five to 10 minutes with each person’s Facebook page, dedicating 90 minutes a day to the project to avoid fatigue.
High scores on these traits are generally accepted by human resources managers as an indication of future good job performance.
Meanwhile, the sample herd were told to complete IQ tests and complete a self-evaluation form, rating their own personality traits. Researchers then contacted the employers of people in the sample group six months after the personality traits had been graded, and asked questions about job performance.
Apparently, Facebook ratings were a more accurate method of estimating an individual’s job performance than the IQ test.
Does this mean employers should head to Facebook first in future? Perhaps, but there are hurdles. Lead researcher on the study Donald Kluemper had this to say:
“This was an effort to provide some evidence that checking on a person’s Facebook page might be valuable and might be useful. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that one study should be used as a reason to start using Facebook in hiring. Any other selection tool that is out there has been studied hundreds of thousands of times. Basically, there needs to be a lot more work done in this area.”
One slight bugbear I have with this: the paper argues that wiping your Facebook clean of potentially damaging material means you’d be rated poorly on extroversion. Yet could it not also mean you’re just not that into Facebook? Is it too much to assume that some extroverts out there signed up for FB accounts in 2007, but can’t be bothered with the site?