In other words, if my Facebook could tell, I’d be fired the moment I set foot in an employer’s office for an interview. But get this – your Facebook doesn’t have to go tug on teacher’s dress to tell (assuming the teacher is a woman… or a transvestite). In a study published last month in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, a team of academic researchers found that people with human resources experience who perused a potential employee’s Facebook page for 5-10 minutes could answer questions about the person as reliably as a relative or close friend could, and could assess the person’s personality as well as an intensive hours-long personality test. In addition, a second part of the study found that the employers’ Facebook assessment ratings were more accurate than an IQ test in predicting the person’s job success.
The study’s raters used modern psychology’s Big Five factors, which are proclaimed to be the five dimensions that make up a person’s personality, to assess each person’s personality. Here’s my take on how various Facebook content correlates with each factor.
This dimension includes traits like sociability, talkativeness and excitability. Counter to what you might predict, the assessors in the study found photos of a person partying on their Facebook to be signs of extraversion and gregariousness rather than irresponsible, rowdy drunkenness. This means the photos of your vacation to Tijuana can stay up. Unless they include a donkey or ping pong balls.
Are you sympathetic, affectionate and trusting? If your Facebook is full of hopeful, inspirational updates and you litter your friends’ walls with messages of sympathy and love, then employers will find you agreeable while I find you revolting.
If you tend to be thorough, responsible and organized, then you could be considered conscientious. If you’re a stickler for spelling and grammar on you and your friends’ Facebook’s, you’re not just conscientious, but you’re also very hated and lonely on the Internet. Otherwise, employers want you filling their cubicles and annoying their other employees.
You know those Facebook friends that spam your wall with moody updates that are either heart-wrenching or fist-pounding? Those friends that have pictures of themselves looking down woefully at their razor-scarred wrists? Yeah, they might be seen as neurotic. Get them a psychiatrist and then get them a job, because employers have been avoiding them after having seen their Facebooks.
This dimension is all about imagination, insight, intellect and having wide interests. Quick test for whether you rate high in this category: are you a fan of Adam Sandler movies? If ‘no,’ you rate high in this category because you have the intellect to know stupid shit when you see it. If ‘yes,’ you still rate high in this category because you have such a powerful imagination that you can convince yourself that stupid shit is comedy gold.
So what does your Facebook say about you?