Recruiters pan across and rummage several social media platforms to look for the profiles of job candidates before they make a hiring decision.
But how do they know they have chosen the ideal candidate and rightfully dismissed the wrong ones?
According to a new study, most employers - most likely - wrongfully evaluated the social media accounts of job applicants with great talents, as they quickly brushed aside applicants after reading their displeasing status updates, caustic remarks, and incriminating images.
Titled "Big Five Personality Traits Reflected in Job Applicants' Social Media Postings," the new study touched on links between the online behaviors and personality characteristics of job applicants that may affect work performance.
The authors of the study - J. William Stoughton, MS, Lori Foster Thompson, PhD, and Adam W. Meade, PhD - found that "unfiltered" social media content about photos and references to alcohol and drug use are key signs of personality traits that job applicants actually have.
The study, as published in the Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking and conducted by researchers from the Department of Psychology in North Carolina State University, identified that the traits may actually show a job candidate to be an excellent hire.
According to the authors, the social media activities of a job applicant reveal five personality traits: agreeableness, extraversion, emotional stability, conscientiousness, and openness to experience.
The researchers categorized social media posters who showed badmouthing behavior and posters who cited drug and alcohol use.
The study found that those with high ratings in agreeableness and conscientiousness were unlikely to malign other people through social media. While that was the finding, it does not necessarily mean that conscientiousness affects posts that recruiters frequently view as alarming.
Co-author Dr. Thompson said recruiters frequently examine hastily the Facebook profile of a job applicant to see whether or not there is proof of alcohol or drug use. Companies consider this behavior as an indicator that the applicant is unscrupulous or scrupulous and self-restraining
The researchers said, however, that there is no substantial connection between the tendency to post Facebook content about drug or alcohol use and conscientiousness.
Lead author Prof. Stoughton said employers brush off several scrupulous job applicants because of wrong presumptions in regard to their social media behavior.
Another frequently misconstrued trait is extraversion. The study found that extroverts have a tendency to post topics about alcohol or drugs on Facebook, and most employers will almost certainly dismiss their pool of candidates once they find indicators of alcohol- or drug-related activities on social media.
Stoughton said the study shows that employers may have to do away with job candidates who badmouth other people, if they plan to use social media behavior as a key indicator in choosing their next hire.