Feeds

The Facebook test: Why social Big Data is important

Your online presence could get you that second interview

Build a business case: developing custom apps

HPC blog A study published by the Journal of Applied Social Psychology says that analysing applicant social network pages is a good predictor of how well the newbie might (or might not) fit into your organization.

They’re not talking about the obvious stuff, like status updates about looting stuff from work or faking exotic illnesses in order to get more hangover recovery time. The researchers wanted to know whether posts and interactions on the social nets can accurately assess how job candidates score on the “Big Five” personality traits.

So what are the Big Five? Glad you asked. They are:

1) Openness to experience
2) Conscientiousness
3) Extroversion
4) Agreeableness
5) Neuroticism

How someone scores on these measures determines their fit for particular jobs. For example, if someone skews towards the easy-going/careless side of the ‘conscientiousness’ scale, they’re probably not the best choice to fill an air traffic controller opening. The better the match between the Big Five scores and the requirements of the job, the better employees typically perform.

Researchers analysed Facebook posts from 500+ subjects and found that they were able to reliably indicate how job candidates scored on the Big Five factors above. It wasn’t flawless, and these are subjective measures anyway, but it compared favourably with subject testing and with the opinions of others about the subjects.

If social network activity can predict the kind of person you are, and the kind of person you are can predict just how well you’ll do in a particular job, then why shouldn’t big employers use Facebook as the first screen in your interview process – perhaps before they’ve even talked to you?

A Forbes magazine article on the study quoted one of the researchers saying that Facebook access restrictions make it difficult for employers and the public at large to see a potential applicant’s entire profile.

So the only thing standing between efficiency-minded employers using Facebook as a means of weeding through thousands or millions of potential employees is Facebook’s privacy policy? Now that’s something that should give us all pause. Take a moment for that.

Of course, maybe I’m looking at this from the wrong perspective. Maybe it’s better for companies to be able to qualify/disqualify applicants based on the look and feel of their Facebook pages. It could be that this will prevent employer/employee mismatches, and the resulting unhappiness and occasional gunplay. Who am I to say?

All I know is that we should prepare for a wave of HR consultants pointing to this study and looking for automated tools designed to analyse every aspect of a person’s online identity in order to figure out whether they have what it takes to man the drive-up window next summer. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
VVOL update: Are any vendors NOT leaping into bed with VMware?
It's not yet been released but everyone thinks it's the dog's danglies
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.