Is Your Facebook Page an Indicator of Your Job Performance?

Not sure why parents are so irked about what’s on their sons’/daughters’ Facebook pages. They’re just showing potential employers how extroverted and — let’s call it "gregarious" — they can be. The Wall Street Journal wrote an interesting piece on a new study that was actually conducted by the University of Evansville, among others:

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.

U. of Evansville Student Finds Success with iPhone App

Indiana’s colleges and universities are constantly serving as hubs of innovation and pride for the state. Here’s a great story from the University of Evansville, as computer science major Jesse Squires’ iPaint uPaint finger painting app is gaining global attention.

“Touch-screen devices just beg to be scribbled on,” said Squires, a senior computer science major from Jeffersonville, Indiana. “People want to touch them and interact with them. It’s a childlike, mesmerizing thing.”

The App Store released Squires’ first app, iPaint uPaint, on January 11. It is available for 99 cents at the App Store; developers such as Squires receive 70 percent of revenue from sales of their apps. Just two weeks after launching, iPaint uPaint has been downloaded by iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users in 13 countries.

Squires developed the app as his final project in an iOS programming class, a new course taught by associate professor of computer science Don Roberts during the Fall 2011 semester.

“Since the iPhone and Android have been released, there has been a huge surge of developers for mobile devices,” Squires said. “The iOS programming class at UE taught me the skills I needed to become a successful developer — while still in school.”

Creating iPaint uPaint took nearly two months. “There were some days and nights of pretty intense programming,” Squires recalled. “I remember one day when I started working at 10:00 a.m. and finished at 7:00 the next morning.”

The result of Squires’ efforts is an app that allows users to create virtual masterpieces on the screen of their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. What differentiates iPaint uPaint from other finger-painting apps, says Squires, is the ability to connect with friends’ devices via Bluetooth and paint together.

Users can change the color of the background and brush, as well as the transparency and thickness. iPaint uPaint also features a “shake and erase” function like an Etch-a-Sketch. Users can share their finished paintings via Twitter, e-mail them to a friend, or save them to a photo album.

Squires plans to continue developing apps and hopes to attend graduate school after graduating from UE in May. As for his final project in last semester’s programming course. “I got an A,” he said with a laugh. 

How Employers are Using Facebook to Research Potential Hires

We’ve all heard how employers are looking at social media sites to research potential employees during the hiring process. But is the discovered information indicative of future performance? Thanks to a study from professors at the University of Evansville and Louisiana State University, there’s a little social science to answer this question. (Speaking of LSU, one might question if the sometimes volatile and outspoken Shaq would have gotten through admissions had Facebook been around when he attended the school. Then, without hesitation, one should probably answer "yes.")

This article from Inside Indiana Business by UE Asst. Professor Peter Rosen explains the study:

Louisiana State University Professor Don Kluemper and I both thought this was an interesting question, and one worth exploring. So last year, we began a study entitled “Future Employment Selection Methods: Evaluating Social Networking Web Sites.” The goal was to learn whether or not the information found on a person’s Facebook page could serve as an accurate barometer of that person’s personality, IQ and academic performance, which are many of the same things that predict job performance.

The answer, we found, was a resounding “Yes!” Working with 63 LSU students, all of whom had undergone training in what potential employers look for on Facebook, we were able to determine that much of what employers look for can, indeed, create an accurate impression of several personality traits, including:

• Extroversion
• Agreeableness
• Conscientiousness
• Emotional Stability
• Openness to Experience

To do this, we randomly selected six sample Facebook pages from a group of students that had agreed to join our research study. Each of the 63 trained student raters was asked to individually review the six sample pages. Using only what they saw on the site, the students were then asked to rate each Facebook user based on their perception of the person’s personality, intelligence, and academic performance – our proxy for job performance. Continue reading