Study: Facebook profiles can predict job performance

Managers often check out potential hires’ social networking profiles before they’re hired. But should those profiles be given any weight when trying to decide who will be the best employee? 

Social networking profiles can help predict job performance, at least according to two studies recently conducted by Northern Illinois University, the University of Evansville and Auburn University.

In one study, a group of four HR professionals looked at 56 Facebook profiles and graded the users on certain traits based solely on what they learned from looking at those profiles for 10 minutes. Six months later, those grades were compared to evaluations from the Facebook users’ work supervisors.

The results: The HR pros’ opinions were very similar to the supervisor evaluations when it came to traits such as intellectual curiosity, agreeability and conscientiousness.

In the other study, evaluators tried to predict GPAs by looking at students’ Facebook profiles. Those predictions were also fairly accurate when compared to the students’ actual GPAs, according to the report.

Does this mean IT managers should put a lot of stock in applicants’ Facebook profiles when making hiring decisions? Not necessarily — one of the study’s authors warned against drawing too many conclusions from two small studies.

However, most hiring managers already do research candidates on social networks, regardless of how much they actually factor into decisions.

  • Marlon F.

    It’s articles like this about strangers reviewing other people’s Facebook profiles to gather information about them makes me glad I don’t have one.