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Study Claims Link Between Facebook Profile and Job Performance

The aim of psychometric tests used in recruitment is to get a clearer understanding of someone and how they will perform in a job. Interviews are one way of predicting how well a potential employee might get on, but interviews are notoriously hit-and-miss and occasionally bordering on useless as a job performance indicator. Step up psychometrics: a more objective, fair, reliable measure of future job performance.

So it is with great interest that we heard about a study claiming to use people’s Facebook profile to build a personality profile of applicants. The study has been compiled by the Northern Illinois University, the University of Evansville and Auburn University. The study used human resource professionals to analyse the Facebook profiles of 56 people.

The best way to build a personality profile is to ask the respondent a series of questions, with scales of how well they agree or disagree with each statement. This new study claims to be able to grade people on the ‘Big Five’ personality scale not through questionnaires but through looking at their Facebook profile for around 10 minutes. The personality factors measured are often referred to as: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

Ten minutes? Facebook profile? Interesting idea but we’re back to bordering on useless. In fact, the results of any attempt to map a Facebook profile to someone’s Big Five personality traits might be worse than useless; they’re probably misleading. Careers and employment are issues to be taken seriously and are to be given thorough consideration on the part of both the employer and employee.

We welcome all attempts to predict future job performance of applicants, but this idea should remain in the ‘work in progress’ pile.

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