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Study: Don’t Judge A Job Candidate By Their Facebook Page

(Credit: Aaron Tam/AFP/ Getty Images)

(Credit: Aaron Tam/AFP/ Getty Images)

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By Chelsea Karnash

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s no secret that employers often scan candidates’ social media pages when hiring. But before you go into panic mode and frantically de-tag all incriminating photos, you might want to consider the results of a new study.

According to researchers from Florida State University, Old Dominion University, Clemson University and Accenture, perceptions of a job candidate’s Facebook page had no correlation with that candidate’s actual job performance once hired.

To conduct the study, researchers apparently captured Facebook profiles of college students who were applying for jobs then asked recruiters to evaluate those candidates based on their social media info. Later, the researchers followed up with the applicants in their new jobs.

What they found was that recruiter ratings of job candidates’ Facebook pages didn’t match up to performance ratings from those candidates’ supervisors once they were hired – at all.

“Recruiter ratings of applicants’ Facebook information were unrelated to supervisor ratings of job performance,” the study’s authors write. “Facebook ratings do not provide incremental prediction of these criteria beyond more established predictors, including cognitive ability, personality, self-efficacy, CSE, and GPA.”

Of course, it’s not all good news. Researchers say they also found evidence of race and gender bias during their research.

“There was evidence of subgroup difference in Facebook ratings that tended to favor female and White applicants,” researchers say, before adding that females were ranked higher in terms of conscientiousness, while whites tended to receive higher marks for perceived intelligence and writing ability — perceptions that, again, appear to have no bearing on actual job performance.

“The overall results suggest that organizations should be very cautious about using social media information such as Facebook to assess job applicants,” the study concludes. “We strongly encourage organizations to refrain from using SM (e.g., Facebook) and other Internet information (e.g., Google searches) until methods for collecting and evaluating such information are shown to be reliable and valid.”

Whether or not employers take that advice remains to be seen. In other words, deleting those pictures of sophomore year’s Spring Break might still be a good idea.

To see the full study, click here.