New Study Indicates Employers Exclude Viable Candidates by Scanning Facebook Profiles

This just in…if employers think scanning Facebook profiles to screen job applicants is a good idea, they may want to reconsider.

According to a new study from North Carolina State University, companies may have a misunderstanding of online behavior and may be eliminating viable job seekers.

Researchers tested 175 participants to examine personality traits employers seek such as conscientiousness, agreeableness and extraversion. Essentially researchers looked at subjects’ Facebook behavior to see which actions were associated with certain personality traits. 

Dr. Lori Foster Thompson, co-author of a paper describing the study and psychology professor at NC State explained in the press release, “Companies often scan a job applicant’s Facebook profile to see whether there is evidence of drug or alcohol use, believing that such behavior means the applicant is not ‘conscientious,’ or responsible and self-disciplined.”

Interestingly enough, researchers discovered a lack of correlation between conscientiousness and someone’s willingness to post a photo of themselves guzzling a beer. Researchers concluded companies eliminate conscientious job seekers based on assumptions employers make surrounding social media behavior.

In addition, companies looking to hire sales or marketing professionals with a coveted extrovert personality may be thwarting their hiring attempts even further.

The study showed that extroverts were more likely to post about alcohol or drugs on Facebook and as a result, companies ruled them out to significantly reduce their pipeline of qualified candidates.