Although it’s not part of the formal interview process, I admit that over the last five years or so, every time EBN gives a job candidate serious consideration, the staff Googles that person to find everything we can—old writing clips, college photos, LinkedIn profile and of course, their Facebook page. Facebook is the mother lode of candidate snooping, since it’s a public window into someone’s private life. While we’ve never qualified or disqualified someone from working here because of their Facebook page, it definitely gives us an idea of what a person would be like to work with.
Who knew all that snooping could be considered scientific?
According to study findings published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, researchers asked HR professionals to rate college students’ employability based on the students’ Facebook pages, drawing conclusions about their degree of emotionally stability, conscientiousness, extroversion, intellectual curiosity and agreeableness.
Six months later, Forbes reports, the researchers contacted 56 of the 500 students’ employers and asked about their job performance. A small sample, to be sure, but the researchers still found the employer reviews and the employability predictions using Facebook had a strong correlation.
Thus, Forbes concludes that the “key takeaway for hiring employers [is] the Facebook page is the first interview; if you don’t like a person there, you probably won’t like working with them.”
What do you think? Clearly, there are legal issues that can arise when using Facebook as a deciding factor in hiring, but can a little snooping — ahem, researching — help or hurt in terms of rating candidates’ employability? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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