Those Pictures Of You Carousing With Your Friends On Facebook Could Actually Help You Get A Job

Worried that a potential employer is somehow checking out your Facebook profile and seeing photos of the time that made you swear never to drink tequila on an empty stomach ever again? Don’t be! A new study says your profile could be closely linked to job performance, and those boozy pics just make you look friendly and extroverted.

The Wall Street Journal cites a study from Northern Illinois University, the University of Evansville and Auburn University that researched how job performance is linked to Facebook profiles.

Raters perused profiles of 56 college students with jobs, looking at photos, wall posts, comments, education and hobbies, and then answered questions about the people they’d looked at. Then they were asked things like, “Is this person dependable?” and “How emotionally stable is this person?”

After six months, researchers totted up the ratings against those students’ employee evaluations, and found that there were strong links between things like job performance and how their profiles had scored for conscientiousness, agreeability and intellectual curiosity.

Those who had traveled, had tons of friends and a wide variety of hobbies were rated well, and the aforementioned partying photos just made raters see those people as friendly and good in a crowd.

The lead researcher says that Facebook could be used in job-screening, since candidates aren’t about to fake their profiles in front of their friends, even if they do really want a job. So don’t hold back on those tequila pics, put’em aaalll out there.

Facebook Profiles Found to Predict Job Performance [Wall Street Journal]


Edit Your Comment

  1. u1itn0w2day says:

    This is why the CIA loves facebook. It thickens your file.

    Using facebook friends as criteria for employment? I guess in corporate speak it shows you won’t have to rack up alot of transportation costs to conduct business.

  2. pop top says:

    I don’t understand why people still don’t change their settings so their profile can’t be found on Google, or on Facebook’s search. Or why they don’t at least lock down their profile if they still want it to be searchable.

    • baristabrawl says:

      Or…don’t get drunk and post pictures of it on the internet AT ALL. If you don’t do it, it really didn’t happen.

  3. u1itn0w2day says:

    The researcher says ‘… candidates aren’t about to fake their profiles…’- uh huh

  4. namcam says:

    one study, blah blah blah. you can bet that the raunchy profiles and pics will LOSE more job opportunities than gain!

  5. Nobby says:

    Am I the only one still not on FB?

    • HSVhockey says:

      Yep you such a non conformist! Congratulations!

      Wait, every FB thread has one of you, proud to not be on FB types, in them. Oops guess you are conforming after all. Sorry.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      NO! I too can proudly say I do not have a facebook account.

      I don’t like being in the herd that stops for a water break at an alligator infested pond.

      • Applekid ‚îÄ‚îÄ‚î¨ Ôªø„Éé( „Çú-„Çú„Éé) says:

        How cute, you think you’re not on FB.

        It’s called a “shadow profile” and it’s constructed any time someone invites you or searches for you or you visit a site with Facebook connectivity. They are tracking you and constructing habits and networks around you, they just don’t really know who you are.

        Kind of like spotting a black hole not by x-rays but by the rotation of things around it.

        In this shadow state, your profile contains guesses at your preferences and demographics, and while you don’t have an account, you have no control over any aspect of that sharing. It’s arguable whether or not they really make things private when you set them to be private, but don’t think for a minute they don’t know you exist.

        • Rachacha says:

          So FB knows who I am (sort of), but they can not advertise directly to me, and I am not subjected to spam from FarmVille … so basically it is the whole Internet without the annoyances.

    • pop top says:

      Do you also not have a TV? Can you tell us about that too?

    • Total Casual says:

      I guess soon we’ll all need to have our beautiful, properly-social Facebook profile or no one will hire us. Government-by-corporation rocks.

      I think I should hire some kind of Facebook-secretary to manage my profile to everyone’s high standards.

    • Rachacha says:

      I am not on Facebook either. I did sign up several years ago just to see what the “buzz” was all about, but after getting bombarded with FarmVille updates from someone I was friends with in elementary school (and lost touch with for 30 years) and getting stalked by a girl in college who was in “luv” with me, but wanted to change everything about me except for my body, and my mom pestering me to friend her (after seeing all the comments she left on my brother’s wall) I canceled my account and have been much happier.

    • bluline says:

      I don’t, and neither do the majority of my friends. But we’re all middle-aged guys. Our wives, on the other hand, are all over FB.

  6. Onesnap says:

    I’ve heard that potential employers (hiring managers) are known to become friends with one of your FB friends just to spy on you on FB. That’s why everything (photos) should be ‘friends’ only and you should filter out any current colleagues. I have a rule of separation of church and state–no current clients and colleagues on FB. I also have it set so I need to grant permission if someone tags me in a photo or a post. No joke. I know HR professionals check FB and LinkedIn before they even call you on a resume submission. This has been going on since 2008-9 as standard practice.

    • bhr says:

      I agree with you 100% on everything you do. Also, if you enable subscriptions it works the same way (someone can spy w/o being a friend).

    • FatLynn says:

      Alternatively, you can just make sure your FB profile is 100% clean. Mine has some vacation pics and status updates mostly about cooking.

      • tbax929 says:

        This. So much this.

        I don’t give a rat’s ass who sees my FB profile, although I use my privacy settings. They wouldn’t find out anything about me they wouldn’t know from just having a conversation with me. There’s just nothing sinister going on there. If a potential employer wants to view it, they can have at it.

  7. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    Yeah, that kindergarten teaching job will definitely be yours will those duck faced bathroom pics and that one of you on the dance floor with your thong showing out the top of your low rise pants.

    • pop top says:

      Are you still mad about not getting that teaching job?

      • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

        I kept telling them how much I loved 6 year olds. Even my glazed 1000 yard stare and mouth breathing wouldn’t convince them.

    • impatientgirl says:

      Several years ago we moved in an apartment and quickly learned the 3 girls in the unit above us were party girls. They went out 4-5 nights a week, every week and they constantly had men over. We’d see them hung over walking to their cars in the morning with shades and coffee. After about 6 weeks we learned that they were ALL elementary school teachers. We were shocked, then not, and repulsed.

    • Anna Kossua says:

      Your sarcasm is spot-on. Many teachers are told by their administrators to keep their online life boring. A big thing in nightlife now is sending photographers to nightclubs, football games, concerts, etc., to take pictures of everybody. In some school systems, teachers are pretty much not allowed to have their photos taken and put on those websites, even if they’re not doing anything wild and crazy. They’re told if a parent finds the photo, they might complain and it would cost the teacher his or her job.

  8. u1itn0w2day says:

    I think onething to take into consideration in the study is the facebook is a semi new fad. Meaning that alot of data used in the survey is probably based on or from younger employees who haven’t had a long career yet. Those employees used for data are probably still in their honeymoon period and/or in pretty cut & dry jobs.

    And with any study their is a built in prejudice including if people participating in the study like facebook they will talk about it or anything associated in a more positve manner.

  9. Hi_Hello says:

    If I’m hiring someone to handle on network security and find out I can gather a lot of info on the person through facebook… I”m not going to hire that person.

    I would need someone who is paranoid enough not to have personal info for the public.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Exactly, someone that ” outgoing ” or willing to follow the crowd might not be that discrete.

      I think in hr world alot of facebook activity signifies a more go with the crowd type personalities. That means more sheeple for their flock. But that same personality could also be detrimental to the company.

    • bhr says:

      I think that’s a great example. If I am hiring someone for a buttoned down job I might be looking for someone with a conservative appearance/profile while if I am hiring someone for sales I could look for someone with 1000s of friends and an active social life.

  10. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Okay so, a while ago, we said that drunken facebook photos can cost you a job…

    Now they can earn you one?


  11. chefboyardee says:

    56 is a HORRIBLE sample size.

  12. nicoleintrovert says:

    Who are all these people who have public profiles!? I barely know anyone who keeps their profile public aside from a couple of bloggers who I am “friends” with.

  13. crispyduck13 says:

    If I was out there looking for candidates the particular content of a Facebook page wouldn’t bother me as much as the fact that they aren’t smart enough to keep me from finding it. It’s actually a really good test to see if someone can think critically and possess the simple skills required to “hide” your Facebook from the general population.

  14. tungstencoil says:

    In general, I’ve always been somewhat stupefied by advice around the Things That Will (Not) Get You The Job. Not because they aren’t true, but because they’re not reliably true.

    I have some expertise here; I’ve been involved with hiring at multiple places for well over 10 years. Giant company, tiny company, small company, kinda big company. Here’s what I learned:

    Some companies do social network searches, and evaluate what they find against mysterious criteria. Maybe the fact you post a lot shows you can write, or are pleasant, or maybe just that you waste time.

    One company cared TREMENDOUSLY about college grades (it showed you can remain dedicated to excelling in a task), most others don’t (it’s just college, what does it really mean).

    Two companies tested candidates using third-party skill and fit tests. The others thought the idea was akin to gazing at tea leaves.

    One company thought it was “weird” when someone sent a thank-you note (and doesn’t hire them). Another thought it showed gumption. The giant one regularly threw them in the trash with them never finding the hiring manager.

    One company uses resume keyword matching software. Another does a quick glance for requisite experience, skill, and exposure, and then tosses it. Two have read cover letters, one actually destroyed them, the others discard them without a glance.

    I could go on and on. While it’s tough to hear in rough economic times: you want to work for a company that aligns (somewhat) with your personality, goals, and talents. If a prospective employer is going to reject you based upon something external to qualifications, experience, and personality fit (with team members), then you probably won’t be successful there anyway.

    • Kuri says:

      That’s been my line of thinking. A company that actively looks for any reason to fire you or to never consider you at all likely isn’t worth your time.

  15. Extended-Warranty says:

    What kind of news story is this? You deserve to get denied from every job you apply for if you believe anything you post will help you.

    • Kuri says:

      So, you deserve to be denied even a chance at a job for daring to post about anything you do outside of work?

  16. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Shit, I might actually have to get some friends.

  17. coffee100 says:

    Stop worrying about what your employer thinks. They are trying to find a reason to lay you off anyway.

    Start your own business.

  18. bluline says:

    In terms of landing a job, what are the consequences (or non-consequences) of having no FB presence at all? Do employers make some sort of judgment about a candidate who has no FB account, or at least one they can’t find? Is having a Linkedin profile enough, or must one have a Facebook account as well?

  19. madcatcasey says:

    Perhaps this is all just a ruse so that HR employees can just sit around and play on Facebook all day?

  20. aleck says:

    “Those who had traveled, had tons of friends and a wide variety of hobbies were rated well…”

    Just from anecdotal evidence, I know lots of people who are well respected professionals, make over six figures yet have fewer than six friends on Facebook. On the opposite side, most of the people I know with 200+ friends can barely hold a job or still live in friend’s/mom’s basement looking for one.

    Having said that, I can see how an outwardly social personality can be beneficial for a job. It just depends on a job. If you are in marketing and sales, entertaining clients and a big social circle is a big part of the job. So your college party skills do come in very handy.

  21. maxamus2 says:

    This actually works in reverse as well. I’m working on a pitch to a certain company, I found the President of the company on facebook and her profile is public. I was able to go through all her photos, posts, likes, friends, etc… I now know all about her, her political views, religious views, her interests, hobbies, her family, etc….

    This will tremendously help me in my pitch to her, to work on her likes and more importantly to get around things I know she will not like.

  22. Sarek says:

    What if my name were common (e.g. John Smith)? How would the potential employer (or the investigative firm they hire) know which John Smith is the one they plan to hire? How would the applicant know if he’s turned down because they looked at the boozer/stoner John Smith instead of me, the boy scout John Smith?

    • bhr says:

      assuming you applied for the job they would likely have your hometown, college, job history and (approx) age. Makes it a whole lot easier to differentiate.

  23. MikeVx says:

    I’ve read a few too many stories about people suffering negative consequences as a result of social networks to consider them safe to use. The ones that really bother me are the reports of people who suffered not because of what they put up on their pages, but of what friends put up there, or even on their own pages. Guilt by association.

    You do well to remember that by getting on a social network, you have effectively freed employers from all those pesky laws about what they can and cannot ask and consider about you when considering you for a job. And unless they are incredibly stupid, there is no way they can be caught at it. Nailing down your profile is of limited value unless everyone you know is similarly nailed down. All it takes is one person who doesn’t grasp security and a lot of indirect information about you becomes available.

    I’ll need to see many more and much larger studies before I’ll class social network presence as anything other than career suicide.

  24. jumpycore says:

    i made a temporary email address for my current facebook, fake name, and i have a fake photo and have it so that people can’t search for me. just so people in the military i dont want finding me, wont.