Broad Ramifications of Research Linking Social Media Profiles to Job Performance

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COMMENTARY | Josh Sanburn at Time reports psychology researchers have found a high correlation between perceptions drawn from social media and later job performance, indicating those with Facebook profiles that appeal to potential employers are more likely to turn out to be good employees. In other words, the college kids with positive, wholesome and professional-looking Facebook profiles are the ones who are likely to rise up the ranks in their careers.

This makes sense and is likely to spur employers to spend more time perusing applicants' use of social media. While an applicant has good reason to spin the truth and exaggerate when it comes to applications, resumes and interviews, their personal posts on sites like Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter are more likely to be accurate representations of their habits, personality and accomplishments. While some slackers might be able to talk a good game in an office interview, their true self can be revealed in their Facebook profile.

Ramifications of research linking social media use and presence to personality and habits are broad. Employers in the public and private sector might require new employees to provide social media profile access for the duration of their probationary period, allowing supervisors to monitor status updates and posted photographs to determine whether the new hire is a good fit for the position.

While applicants are likely to balk, employers could argue a fast-paced, high-stakes position that is crucial to organization success requires a trustworthy, high-performing employee. If a person doesn't want a boss checking their Facebook profile or Twitter feed, they need not apply.

Other future developments could include government employees with security clearances being required to allow supervisors access to any social media presence as a way to develop and maintain personality profiles. Employers in various fields could argue social media monitoring could be a more cost-effective and noninvasive way to develop personality profiles of employees as a screening tool or routine checkup. Employees who have shown below-expected job performance could be required to divulge social media passwords so employers can have a potential window into off-the-job activities.

Psychologists and mental health professionals could request patients grant social media monitoring access as an additional tool to assist in diagnosis and progress tracking. Possibilities are virtually limitless.

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