Posts Tagged Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Facebook Can Tell You If A Person Is Worth Hiring
Don Kluemper of Northern Illinois University helped conduct a study that suggests a person’s Facebook page can predict job performance and academic success (Image via NIU Today)
Employers already know it’s a good idea to check job candidates’ Facebook pages to make sure there aren’t any horrible red flags there. The reddest flags for most employers seem to be drugs, drinking, badmouthing former employers, and lying about one’s qualifications. But there’s another good reason for checking out a candidate’s Facebook page before inviting them in for an interview: it may be a fairly accurate reflection of how good they’ll be at the job.
That’s the conclusion in a study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology last month. The researchers hired HR types to rate hundreds of college students’ Facebook pages according to how employable they seemed.
“We asked them to form impressions of a candidate based solely on their Facebook page,” says one of the study author’s, Don Kluemper, of Northern Illinois University. This involved looking at what was publicly available on those pages (photos, status updates, and conversations with friends) and then assigning each person a score for a number of qualities important to being a good employee, such as their degree of emotionally stability, conscientiousness, extroversion, intellectual curiosity and agreeableness. (In other words, will they flip out on you, care about completing tasks, be fun to work with, be creative in problem solving, and be willing to kiss up when necessary?) The review took about five to ten minutes per profile.
Six months later, the researchers got in touch with their guinea pigs’ employers to ask about their job performances. Unfortunately, of the over 500 guinea pigs, just 56 of the employers responded. So the sample is small, but the researchers found a strong correlation between those employers’ reviews and the employability predictions they had made based on folks’ profile pages.
I asked Kluemper about the “personality red flags” that their reviewers looked for. He was a little vague but said that a person with obvious mood swings, who is overly emotional in their postings would not be an attractive candidate. Meanwhile, a person with a lot of Facebook friends who takes a lot of crazy photos would be rated as extroverted and friendly — which are attractive qualities in a candidate.
Key takeaway for hiring employers: The Facebook page is the first interview; if you don’t like a person there, you probably won’t like working with them. The bad news for employers, though, who are hoping to take the Facebook shortcut: “So many more profiles are restricted in what the public can access,” says Kluemper.
Given the small sample size for that first study, I was more impressed by the second. In the second study, the researchers did a similar assessment of students’ Facebook selves and also had the students take personality and IQ tests. Then, instead of following up with employers, they turned to students’ transcripts. “We were able to better predict a student’s academic success based on their Facebook page than on the cognitive tests,” says Kluemper.
(Most universities claim they don’t stalk applicants on social networking sites during the admissions process. Maybe they should?)
Of course, there are some legal questions to think about before jumping into someone’s Facebook page. Employers can discriminate against potential employees who seem like bummers based on their Wall postings and interests, but will get into trouble if what the Facebook user has said about their religious views affects the hiring process.
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- Are People Who Don’t Use Facebook Psychopaths? (fox4kc.com)
- Not on Facebook? You’re probably a psychopath (theweek.co.uk)
- Beware, Tech Abandoners. People Without Facebook Accounts Are ‘Suspicious.’ (forbes.com)
- Not Joining Facebook is Now “Suspicious Behavior” (bungalowbillscw.blogspot.com)
- Some employers and psychologists say staying away from social media is ‘suspicious’ (ConservativeActionAlerts.com)
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- Is not joining Facebook a sign you’re a psychopath? Some employers and psychologists say staying away from social media is ‘suspicious’ (engineeringevil.com)
LYING IS MORE COMMON WHEN WE EMAIL
A new study by University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers finds that communication using computers for instant messaging and e-mail increases lying compared to face-to-face conversations, and that e-mail messages are most likely to contain lies. The findings, by Robert S. Feldman, professor of psychology and dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Mattityahu Zimbler, a graduate student, are published in the October issue of the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.
The research paper, titled “Liar, Liar, Hard Drive on Fire: How Media Context Affects Lying Behavior,” looked at 110 same-sex pairs of college students who engaged in 15 minute conversations either face-to-face, using e-mail, or using instant messaging. The results were then analyzed for inaccuracies.
What Feldman and Zimbler found was that while there is some degree of deception present in all three forms of communication, it was increased in both instant messaging and e-mail, with e-mail messages the most likely to contain lies. Underlying this was the concept of deindividualization, where as people grow psychologically and physically further from the person they are in communication with, there is a higher likelihood of lying, they say.
In addition to the distance one person is from the other, e-mail communication has the added component of being asynchronous, not as connected in real time as instant messaging or face-to-face conversation. Feldman and Zimbler conclude, “It seems likely that the asynchronicity of e-mail makes the users feel even more disconnected from the respondent in that a reply to their queries is not expected immediately, but rather is delayed until some future point in time.”
“Ultimately, the findings show how easy it is to lie when online, and that we are more likely to be the recipient of deceptive statements in online communication than when interacting with others face-to-face,” says Feldman.
“In exploring the practical implications of this research, the results indicate that the Internet allows people to feel more free, psychologically speaking, to use deception, at least when meeting new people,” Feldman and Zimbler say. “Given the public attention to incidents of Internet predation, this research suggests that the deindividualization created by communicating from behind a computer screen may facilitate the process of portraying a disingenuous self.”
Feldman, who has been the dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UMass Amherst since 2009, is an expert on lying and author of the book “The Liar in Your Life,” published in 2009.
He is a frequent commentator in the media on issues related to lying. Feldman joined the faculty of the UMass Amherst psychology department in 1977 after teaching for three years at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has been a visiting professor at Mount Holyoke College and Wesleyan University and was a Fulbright lecturer and research scholar at Ewha University in Seoul, South Korea in 1977.
- Lying is more common when we email (scienceblog.com)
- Online Chat Boosts Lying and Email Has the Most Lies (tricitypsychology.com)
- Online communication boosts lying and E-mail is the medium that contains the most lies: study (physorg.com)
- Majority of online lies happen in emails (news.bioscholar.com)
- Lying online? Most of it happens in emails. (inquisitr.com)
- Lying Is More Common When We Email (tech.slashdot.org)
- Falling Backwards: A Graduate Student to Postdoc Story (gssvoice.wordpress.com)
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- Why We Lie So Much (time.com)
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