There’s another reason to feel a twinge of envy toward those acquaintances with 1,000-plus Facebook friends. You know, the ones whose walls are an impeccable mix of photos from their recent vacation in the Amazonian rain forest and their favorite Dostoevsky quotes. According to a new study, their fabulous online lives are impressive to employers, too.
To find out if there is a relationship between how someone presented themselves on Facebook and how they were viewed by employers, researchers at Northern Illinois University, Auburn University and the University of Evansville first created something they call a “Facebook personality score." The score is calculated from how users rank on five personality traits: conscientiousness, emotional stability, agreeableness, extraversion and openness. The researchers then evaluated the Facebook profiles of 86 subjects, rating them on the absence or presence of each of the five traits and assigning an overall score to each. Six months later, researchers compared subjects’ personality scores with performance evaluations submitted by their employers. The results, published in The Journal of Applied Social Psychology on February 1, showed that positive Facebook personality scores correlated with better performance ratings at work.
The study isn’t the first to find a link between a strong social media showing and the hiring process: As MSNBC’s Bob Sullivan pointed out in his column on MSNBC, a 2010 study from Microsoft revealed 70 percent of company recruiters admitted to rejecting applicants based on information they online.
To date, no employer has formally adopted the Facebook Personality Score system -- Donald Kluemper, management professor at Northern Illinois University and co-author of the study, admitted to MSNBC that the sample size was small, and there could be legal implications for HR departments evaluating applicants in this manner. The system does, however, provide a common-sense framework for putting your best self forward on Facebook.
With that in mind, here are explanations of the five traits that make up your Facebook personality score and our tips for how to demonstrate that you posses (or at least know how to look like you possess) what employers are looking for:
SLIDESHOW: How To Impress Employers On Facebook