Facebook Posts Can Predict Job Performance, Study Says

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Human resources executives who check Facebook posts of job applicants may be on to something.

Researchers have found a correlation between job evaluations and personality traits revealed in Facebook posts, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports.

Researchers asked three “raters” to read Facebook posts of more than 200 college students, and then to evaluate the students for dependability, emotional stability and other personality traits. Six months later, the ratings were matched to job evaluations for 56 students who were working.

The findings: There was a strong correlation between job performance and the raters’ evaluations for traits such as conscientiousness, agreeability and intellectual curiosity.

Don Kluemper, a management professor at Northern Illinois University, was the lead researcher. The study (PDF) was published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, according to NIU Today.

The study notes that there could be legal issues. “Although some employers might attempt to focus on job-related social networking information, there is also non-job relevant information that could be used inappropriately for evaluating applicants,” the study says.

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