The Evaluation of Potential Employees through Social Media

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It’s not surprising that employers use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to gather more information about a potential employee, but there’s little research exploring this practice. Philip L. Roth at Clemson University, Philip Bobko at Gettysburg College, Chad H. Van Iddekinge, Florida State University, and Jason B. Thatcher, Clemson University recently published their findings in the article,Social Media in Employee-Selection-Related Decisions: A Research Agenda for Uncharted Territory,” in Journal of Management.  From the abstract:

Social media (SM) pervades our society. One rapidly growing application of SM is its use in personnel decision making. Organizations are increasingly searching SM (e.g., Facebook) to gather information about potential employees. In this article, we suggest that organizational practice has outpaced the scientific study of SM assessments in an area that has important conjom coversequences for individuals (e.g., being selected for work), organizations (e.g., successfully predicting job performance or withdrawal), and society (e.g., consequent adverse impact/diversity). We draw on theory and research from various literatures to advance a research agenda that addresses this gap between practice and research. Overall, we believe this is a somewhat rare moment in the human resources literature when a new class of selection methods arrives on the scene, and we urge researchers to help understand the implications of using SM assessments for personnel decisions.

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