Should you take into account your candidates’ facebook profiles for hiring decisions ? How valuable is this kind of information? This is one of the most discussed topics among HR managers, especially with regards to Facebook.
For the first time, a study shows what candidate information drawn from Facebook profiles really says about the candidates’ future success at their job : absolutely nothing !
How valuable is information on Facebook?
Companies have career pages on Facebook, post jobs there and give potential applicants the opportunity to get in touch directly with their HR department. Those activities help them strengthen their employer brand and become more desirable for potential candidates.
However, the question if information from Facebook profiles can be used in selection processes, is highly controversial. Facebook is used primarily for private reasons. Professional networking platform LinkedIn, on the other hand, has been expressively designed to support business relationships and sourcing activities.
Whether Facebook should be used as a source of information certainly depends on how relevant candidate Facebook information really is for the prediction of a candidate’s job fit. A research team led by Chad van Iddekinge examined this matter, publishing their study very recently in the prestigious Journal of Management.
Facebook profiles don’t reveal ANY information about future job performance
The research team showed hiring managers to screen the Facebook profiles of people who were currently looking for a job, the applicants giving their permission beforehand.These profiles have been rated by the recruiters with regard to the job seekers’ suitability on several job-relevant dimensions such as (presumed) cognitive ability, conscientiousness, or general fit . In addition, job seekers participated in a series of standardised tests.
Thus, the research team was able to see if the assessment based on the Facebook profiles was coherent with the assessment based on standardised scientific tests.
After the former candidates had been working for an average of 14 months, their superiors were contacted and asked to evaluate the professional performance of these employees on standardised scales. The result: the assessment of future work performance that recruiters draw by judging facebook profiles did not correspond to the actual job performance.
Also, there was very little connection between the recruiters’ assessment based on Facebook and the self-assessment of the job seekers, obtained by established test procedures. In addition, the study shows that the evaluation of women, based on their Facebook profiles, was more positive and the evaluation of minorities more negative (especially in terms of cognitive abilities).
Conclusion : Stay away from Facebook
The study by van Iddekinge and colleagues shows that candidate information, obtained by Facebook, does not indicate any statement about the future professional performance. In addition, screening Facebook profiles leads to distorted assessment of certain applicant groups – which makes a fair selection process impossible and sustainably thwarts any diversity goals. As a conclusion, the authors strongly recommend to NOT use Facebook for candidate assessment and to NOT google candidates either.
The study’s authors, however, raise the question of how reliable and valuable candidate information on professional social networks is.
Do you want to know how you really gain valuable information about whether a candidate is a fit for the job? We have developed an innovative and automated video interviewing software, the interview suite, that enables you to efficiently identify the most qualified candidates early in the process.
Van Iddekinge, C. H., Lanivich, S. E., Roth, P. H., & Junco, E. (2013). Social media for selection? Validity and adverse impacz potential of a facebook-based assessment. Journal of Management. Published online 16 December 2013.