SOCIAL MEDIA / FEB. 04, 2014
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People Posting Boozy Pictures on Facebook Could Still be Good Employees

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Being a reveller who posts rowdy party pictures on Facebook does not necessarily mean you are not a professional or conscientious employee a study has found. Researchers at North Carolina State University tested the activity of 175 Facebook users, and compared this with whether they had desirable personality traits that employers want, including conscientiousness, being agreeable, and being an extrovert. According to the findings of the research, there is no significant correlation between conscientiousness and an individual’s willingness to post content on Facebook about alcohol or drug use.

Companies Could be Missing out top Talent

Employers, who comb through candidates’ social media accounts and judging about their suitability based on the content of their profiles, could end up eliminating the best candidates. Main author of the study published in the ’Journal of Business and Psychology’, Will Stoughton, argues that this practice "means companies are eliminating some conscientious job applicants based on erroneous assumptions regarding what social media behaviour tells us about the applicants”.

NCSU professor of psychology Lori Foster Thompson warned that “When you think about the fact that top talent usually has a lot of choices as to where they want to go to work, it begins to really matter… Elite job prospects have options, and are more likely to steer clear of potential employers they don’t trust".

Job Seekers are Concerned About Their Privacy

The study also examined how job seekers react to the popular screening practice whereby employers scout job candidates’ social media accounts for evidence of ‘undesirable’ habits such as drinking and taking drugs to help them reject candidates. 

In one exercise, two-thirds of online job applicants who had been told that their Facebook accounts had been reviewed for ‘professionalism’ said the practice was an invasion of privacy that reflected poorly on the company doing the screening.

In a second exercise, half the respondents were asked how they’d respond to social media screening if it meant they got the job, while the other half were told they didn’t get the job. Getting hired didn’t change their opinion. In both groups, some 60% said they thought less of the company because their privacy had been breached.

Overall, the study has shown that there is no positive correlation between contentiousness and social media behaviour.  Consequently, posting boozy pictures on Facebook should not be a barrier to your dream job. Employers who monitor a job candidate’s Facebook or other social media platform are less likely to get the best people for the job as job applicants would not hesitate avoiding employers they don’t trust. 

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