Social Media for Selection? Validity and Adverse Impact Potential of a Facebook-Based Assessment
Recent reports suggest that an increasing number of organizations are using information from social media platforms such as Facebook.com to screen job applicants. Unfortunately, empirical research concerning the potential implications of this practice is extremely limited. We address the use of social media for selection by examining how recruiter ratings of Facebook profiles fare with respect to two important criteria on which selection procedures are evaluated: criterion-related validity and subgroup differences (which can lead to adverse impact). We captured Facebook profiles of college students who were applying for full-time jobs, and recruiters from various organizations reviewed the profiles and provided evaluations. We then followed up with applicants in their new jobs. Recruiter ratings of applicants’ Facebook information were unrelated to supervisor ratings of job performance (rs = −.13 to –.04), turnover intentions (rs = −.05 to.00), and actual turnover (rs = −.01 to.01). In addition, Facebook ratings did not contribute to the prediction of these criteria beyond more traditional predictors, including cognitive ability, self-efficacy, and personality. Furthermore, there was evidence of subgroup difference in Facebook ratings that tended to favor female and White applicants. The overall results suggest that organizations should be very cautious about using social media information such as Facebook to assess job applicants.
Journal of Management
Van Iddekinge, C., Lanivich, S., Roth, P., & Junco, E. (2016). Social Media for Selection? Validity and Adverse Impact Potential of a Facebook-Based Assessment. Journal of Management, 42 (7), 1811-1835. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206313515524