Should We Be Using Facebook for Selection? A Study
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Should We Be Using Facebook for Selection? A Study of Predictive Validity and Adverse Impact Potential. Chad Van Iddekinge Florida State University Steve Lanivich Old Dominion University Phil Roth Clemson University Elliott Junco Accenture Consulting. Use of Internet in HRM.

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Chad van iddekinge florida state university steve lanivich old dominion university

Should We Be Using Facebook for Selection? A Study of Predictive Validity and Adverse Impact Potential

Chad Van IddekingeFlorida State University

Steve Lanivich

Old Dominion University

Phil RothClemson University

Elliott JuncoAccenture Consulting

Use of internet in hrm
Use of Internet in HRM

  • Internet has had a profound effect on HRM

  • Many organizations are using the Internet to search for information about job applicants

  • 50-75% of U.S. organizations are using social networking websites such as Facebook (FB)

Benefits and challenges of using facebook for selection
Benefits and Challenges of Using Facebook for Selection

  • Potential benefits

    • Low cost and convenient

    • Provide information not available from traditional assessments (e.g., resumes, tests, interviews)

    • Part of due diligence in vetting potential employees

  • Potential challenges

    • Inability to identify and evaluate job-relevant information

    • Access to job-irrelevant information

    • Lack of standardization across applicants

Hr research on facebook
HR Research on Facebook

  • Not much…

  • Some evidence that FB ratings correlate with self-reported personality (e.g., Kluemper & Rosen, 2009)

  • Overall, practice in this area appears to be fast outpacing research

Current study
Current Study

  • Do recruiters use FB to screen applicants and what are their perceptions of the practice?

    • Concerns the prevalence of the practice

  • Do recruiter ratings of FB predict on-the-job performance?

    • Concerns the validity of the practice

  • Are there demographic group differences in recruiters’ FB ratings?

    • Concerns the fairness and possible adverse impact of the practice

Research participants
Research Participants

  • 416 FSU students preparing to graduate

    • Provided access to their FB profile

  • 86 recruiters from various organizations

    • Staffing specialists, hiring managers, and employees

    • Reviewed snap shots of students’ FB profiles and evaluated them

  • 142 supervisors of students in their new positions

    • Rated graduates’ job performance


  • Recruiter use of FB

  • Recruiter perceptions of FB

    • Job-relevance (e.g., “Applicants’ Facebook information could be a good sign of the type of an employee they would be”)

    • Opportunity to perform (e.g., “Facebook gives applicants an opportunity to show their job-relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities”)

    • Credibility (e.g., “Facebook is a credible information source on which to base selection decisions”)

    • Privacy(e.g., “Checking applicants’ Facebook profiles is an invasion of their privacy”)


  • Facebook ratings (recruiters completed)

    • Suitability (e.g., “I can see how this person would be an attractive applicant to an organization”)

    • KSAOs (e.g., dependability, maturity, interpersonal skills)

  • Job performance (supervisors completed)

    • In-role performance (e.g., “The employee performs tasks they are asked to complete”)

    • Extra-role performance (e.g., “The employee goes out of their way to help other employees”)


  • Other predictors (students provided/rated)

    • Cognitive ability (SAT/ACT scores)

    • Extraversion (e.g., “I am comfortable starting conversations”)

    • Self-efficacy (e.g., “I am capable of coping with most of my problems”)

Recruiters perceptions of facebook
Recruiters’ Perceptions of Facebook

Correlations between recruiter characteristics and fb use perceptions
Correlations between Recruiter Characteristics and FB Use/Perceptions

Note. **p < .01. *p < .05.

Key findings and implications
Key Findings and Implications Use/Perceptions

  • Majority of recruiters use FB during the selection process at least some of the time

  • Some recruiters (e.g., managers and employees, smaller firms) use FB more than others

  • Recruiter ratings of FB did not predict future job performance

  • FB ratings were higher for females than for males, and in some instances, higher for White individuals than for racial minorities

Some caveats
Some Caveats Use/Perceptions

  • Focused primarily on FB and not other internet information sources (e.g., LinkedIn, Google searches)

  • College student sample and initial performance in entry level positions

  • Unclear whether our approach mirrors how organizations actually use and evaluate FB information

Some recommendations
Some Recommendations Use/Perceptions

  • Exercise considerable caution until methods for collecting and evaluating FB information are shown to be reliable, valid, and legally defensible

  • Develop clear policies concerning use of Facebook and other internet information (most firms do not have such policies, SHRM, 2011)

  • Train managers and employees about the potential pitfalls with using this type of information