Facebook could predict career success, study finds
Posted February 29, 2012 at 11:09 pm in News
Facebook could successfully be used as a tool in determining a personâs potential career and academic success, according to a study released in Februaryâs Journal of Applied Social Psychology.
âSocial Networking Websites, Personality Ratings and the Organizational Context: More Than Meets the Eye?â, released by Northern Illinois University, the University of Evansville and Auburn University, claims word use, attire and photographs found on any Facebook profile could be used to evaluate personality information.
Analyzing the Big Five personality traits â neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness â is one suggested method used to evaluate the potential success of prospective employees, the study said.
Jay Tucker, associate director of strategic marketing and communications at the Marshall Institute for Communication Technology Management, said using the Big Five is one of several ways employers assess potential employees.
âWhen it comes to hiring, there are a number of theories regarding how best to identify a great hire, but many of them identify three basic kinds of attributes: work experience, skills and talents, and personality or disposition,â Tucker said. âThere are a number of ways to assess a personâs personality profile, but the study shows that you could use a personâs social media footprint to paint a personality picture.â
Karen North, program director of the Annenberg Program on Online Communities, said an issue with using social media to evaluate prospective employees is that it assumes potential employees are technologically literate.
â[The study] assumes that the real self isnât a social self, overlooking the fact that whether or not you are receptive to social cues depicts who you are,â North said. âIdentity is constructed; we are seeing the âthemâ they choose to present. Itâs like plastic. It can be changed instantly.â
Estelle Berger, a freshman majoring in international relations, said her Facebook does not necessarily reflect her personality.
âJust by being able to untag or tag yourself in pictures gives you complete control over how people perceive you,â Berger said. âI definitely take part in creating a very contrived self-portrait that might not necessarily reflect all of the aspects of my character.â
Michael Peha, a senior majoring in music industry, said though he does not customize his Facebook profile, it accurately depicts his characteristics.
âI love theater, music and most avenues of entertainment and that is usually what shows up on my profile in Facebook,â Peha said. âIâve never thought of customizing my Facebook to tailor to a specific aspect of my personality.â
Though Tucker said few companies attempt to access potential employeesâ secured Facebook accounts, students should always be conscious about what material is privately and publicly available on their account.
âWhile I donât think that many companies would try to hack a personâs Facebook account, much of the information we think is private on social networks is actually readily available for people who are willing to spend the time to find it,â Tucker said.