Facebook Profiles Found to Predict Job Performance

could your facebook profile be a predictor of job performance? a new study from northern illinois university, the university of evansville and auburn university suggests it can. leslie kwoh has details on lunch break.

could your facebook profile be a predictor of job performance?

a new study from northern illinois university, the university of evansville and auburn university suggests it can.

in an experiment, three "raters"—comprising one university professor and two students—were presented with the facebook profiles of 56 college students with jobs.

after spending roughly 10 minutes perusing each profile, including photos, wall posts, comments, education and hobbies, the raters answered a series of personality-related questions, such as "is this person dependable?" and "how emotionally stable is this person?"

six months later, the researchers matched the ratings against employee evaluations from each of the students' supervisors. they found a strong correlation between job performance and the facebook scores for traits such as conscientiousness, agreeability and intellectual curiosity.

raters generally gave favorable evaluations to students who traveled, had more friends and showed a wide range of hobbies and interests. partying photos didn't necessarily count against a student; on the contrary, raters perceived the student as extroverted and friendly, says don kluemper, the lead researcher and a professor of management at northern illinois university.

the findings show that facebook could be used as a reliable job-screening tool, he says, especially since candidates would have a hard time "faking" their personalities in front of their friends.

the legality of using social-media sites to screen job applicants is murky, as employers could open themselves up to discrimination lawsuits based on race, gender and religion.

breaking the mold?

african-american women in leadership roles suffer less backlash for dominant behavior than their white-female or black-male counterparts, according to a recent study.

researchers presented 84 nonblack participants with a written scenario of a supervisor giving a performance evaluation to an employee. the supervisor in the scenario could be one of eight combinations: aggressive or gentle, white or black, man or woman.

participants then were asked to rate the supervisors on questions about their effectiveness, leadership, how well they handled the situation and whether they were likely to be admired and respected by employees.

the findings showed that black women—like white men—weren't "penalized" as much for being aggressive, as opposed to the white women and black men who were judged much more harshly for being aggressive.

this may be because black women tend to fall through the cracks when it comes to broad racial stereotyping, says ashleigh shelby rosette, a co-author of the study and associate professor of management at duke university's fuqua school of business. "people don't really know what they're supposed to think when they see a black woman," she says.

younger m.b.a. pool

m.b.a. hopefuls aged 24 and under made up 44% of the global pool of gmat test takers last year, up from 37% five years ago, according to the graduate management admission council, which owns and administers the predominant business-school admissions test.

the rise was due, in part, to a tough job market that has forced some recent college graduates to seek shelter at business schools, says michelle sparkman-renz, a researcher at the council.

more non-m.b.a. programs have also begun accepting the gmat for management specialties, such as public policy, energy, real estate and hospitality, she says. of the 750,400 gmat score reports generated last year, 27% were submitted to such master's programs, up from 16% in 2007.

another huge driver is china, where 77% of gmat test takers were 24 or younger. in addition, six in 10 chinese test takers were women, sending the global rate for females to a record high of 41%.more than 258,000 exams were taken last year, the third-highest level on record.

From:  online.wsj.com

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