Researchers from Northern Illinois University, the University of Evansville and Auburn University, have found that Facebook profiles could be used to determine a job seeker’s personality traits and suggest to potential employers how they would perform and what useful skills they have. The researchers believe that social networks “may provide useful information for potential use in organizational research and practice, taking into consideration various legal and ethical issues.”
In one study, 56 Facebook profiles were evaluated and graded according to the ‘Big Five’ personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. These users were contacted for a follow-up survey 6 months later and responses about their job performance (i.e. task performance, organizational citizenship toward individuals, organizational citizenship toward the organization) were obtained from their supervisors.
When these results were compared, there was found to be a significant correlation between the Big Five traits and the “hirability ratings” for agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, extraversion, and openness to experience. This suggests that personality traits obtained from a person’s profile can function as indicators of behavioral tendencies in the workplace.