New Report Says Facebook Isn’t Reliable to Judge Potential Stellar Employees

fb logoIf employers want to do their due diligence on potential new hires, they should just scope out your Facebook page, right?

Um, not quite. Per Forbes, rsearchers at Florida State University, Old Dominion University, Clemson University and Accenture got 416 college students involved in their study. The students were applying for full-time employment and agreed to participate which meant researchers captured screenshots of their Facebook walls, info pages, photos and interests.

Next, the researchers asked 86 recruiters in attendance at the school’s career fair to review the Facebook pages and judge the job seekers’ personality traits. Oh yeah, they also had to rate how employable the candidates seemed. Keep in mind judgments were based on Facebook alone; resumes and transcripts were not included. A year later researchers followed up with the graduates who had landed jobs. Actually, the researchers asked the grads’ supervisors to review job performance. Although only 34 percent of supervisors from the original job pool got involved, the small number isn’t as significant as the findings.

One of the researchers wrote, “Recruiter ratings of Facebook profiles correlate essentially zero with job performance.”

Low ratings at the job fair were doled out to profiles with profanity, odd profile pictures, religious quotes and sexual references.  Women were rated more favorably than men as prospective new hires and white individuals were rated higher than African American and Hispanic candidates but judgments did not matter. Ratings were not solid predictors of performance on the job.

Clemson researcher Philip Roth stated, “Our results suggest that Blacks and Hispanics might be adversely impacted by use of Facebook ratings.”

The result? Although there’s an allure on relying on Facebook as a recruiting tool to sort through potential hazardous employees, Roth advised against it. “I wouldn’t want to use a Facebook assessment until I had evidence it worked for my organization. There needs to be a track record of this working before you use it. I don’t think the track record is there yet.”