Facebook Recruiting: Valuable Tool, or Waste of Time?

Recently, Forbes reported on a soon to be published study by researchers at Florida State University, Old Dominion University, Clemson University, and Accenture, that took a look into how well information found on social media profiles predicted a potential candidates’ job performance.

According to the article, 416 college students who were applying for full-time jobs agreed to have 86 recruiters rate their personality, employability, and job performance based solely on the information pulled from their Facebook profiles. Researchers then followed up with 142 supervisors (34% of the original sample) of the now-hired candidates in order to see how well of a predictor Facebook was.

Here’s what they found:

  • Researches noted, “Recruiter ratings of Facebook profiles correlate essentially zero with job performance”
  • The hypothetical employment pool was 63.2% female, 78.1% white, 10.8% Hispanic and 7% African-American, while the recruiters were mostly white and split as to gender.
    • Recruiters rated the women’s Facebook higher than men’s, and white individuals higher than African-American and Hispanic candidates, despite showing almost no correlation to job performance.
    • And, researcher Philip Roth of Clemson found that the “results suggest that Blacks and Hispanics might be adversely impacted by use of Facebook ratings,”
    • Researchers concluded that HR should advise managers to not use Facebook as a means of reviewing candidates.

Not much of a surprise.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to our readers who remember our blog post about the study conducted by Ph.D student William Stoughton, and co-author Dr. Lisa Thompson, professor of psychology at NC University. In their study, they concluded that screening job applicants based on what found they found on their personal social media pages (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) proved ineffective in regards to how it reflected on a prospective employee’s work ethic.

As a refresher, here is what they found (you can read the rest of our post, here):

“Companies are eliminating some conscientious job applicants based on erroneous assumptions regarding what social media behavior tells us about the applicants.”

So, what’s the final takeaway?

It always seems like we’re picking on Facebook (especially Facebook recruiting), but what we’re really trying to do is highlight the importance of having a well-rounded and well-balanced recruiting toolkit. As we’ve said in the past, there is no one tool that is the “be-all and end-all” of recruiting, whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, mobile recruiting, etc.

To recruit successfully, you need to use your tools for their intended purpose, instead of trying to jam every problem or situation into one tool. As the research shows with Facebook, one tool is just not sufficient enough to go on alone.