Article

Big Five Personality Traits Reflected in Job Applicants' Social Media Postings.

Department of Psychology, North Carolina State University , Raleigh, North Carolina.
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking (Impact Factor: 2.41). 06/2013; DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0163
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Job applicants and incumbents often use social media for personal communications allowing for direct observation of their social communications "unfiltered" for employer consumption. As such, these data offer a glimpse of employees in settings free from the impression management pressures present during evaluations conducted for applicant screening and research purposes. This study investigated whether job applicants' (N=175) personality characteristics are reflected in the content of their social media postings. Participant self-reported social media content related to (a) photos and text-based references to alcohol and drug use and (b) criticisms of superiors and peers (so-called "badmouthing" behavior) were compared to traditional personality assessments. Results indicated that extraverted candidates were prone to postings related to alcohol and drugs. Those low in agreeableness were particularly likely to engage in online badmouthing behaviors. Evidence concerning the relationships between conscientiousness and the outcomes of interest was mixed.

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose Social networking websites such as Facebook allow employers to gain information about applicants which job seekers may not otherwise share during the hiring process. This multi-study investigation examined how job seekers react to this screening practice. Design/methodology Study 1 (N=175) employed a realistic selection scenario examining applicant reactions to prospective employers reviewing their social networking website. Study 2 (N=208) employed a simulated selection scenario where participants rated their experience with a proposed selection process. Findings In Study 1, social networking website screening caused applicants to feel their privacy had been invaded which ultimately resulted in lower organizational attraction. Applicants low in agreeableness had the most adverse reactions to social networking website screening. In Study 2, screening again caused applicants to feel their privacy had been invaded, resulting in lower organizational attraction and increased intentions to litigate. The organization’s positive/negative hiring decision did not moderate the relationship between screening and justice. Implications The results suggest organizations should consider the costs and benefits of social media screening which could reduce the attractiveness of the organization. Additionally, applicants may need to change their conceptualization of social networking websites, viewing them through the eyes of a prospective employer. Originality/value This investigation proposed and tested an explanatory model of the effects of screening practices on organizational outcomes demonstrating how electronic monitoring, privacy, and applicant reactions can be integrated to better understand responses to technological innovations in the workplace.
    Journal of Business and Psychology 11/2013; · 1.25 Impact Factor