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Employers read between the lines on Facebook

Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 00:09

With more than 955 million Facebook users, the social media site is one of the fastest growing ways to network and find information, and employers are taking full advantage of that. More employers are using the outlet as a way to do background checks and unofficially interview candidates long before they step foot in the office.


What some students may not realize, though, is that social media may replace the first interview in job searches.


More than 37 percent of companies report using social networking sites to investigate potential employees, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.com.


Furthermore, 11 percent of companies reported they plan to do so in the future to get better first impressions.  

With such an online presence of employers, students and future employees should be careful with what they post online.


The typical advice for college students is to avoid posting photos with drugs or red Solo cups, but according to a study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Facebook profiles can tell much more about a potential employee.


According to the study, Facebook profiles tell more about a person’s real self than the image users attempt to portray on their profiles.


Details like consistency in status content can show consistency in emotions as well as reliability. Similarly, the number of friends a person has can indicate extraversion or introversion.


After six months, the study showed a strong connection between what observers analyzed from profiles to what employers actually saw on the job.


Another study published in the same journal found that Facebook profiles could better predict a person’s job performance than his or her IQ could.


Prior to an actual interview, candidates should prepare their profile page to be successful in getting the job.


Even with the most secure settings, certain details like relationship status, likes and profile photos can still be seen by public viewers, and this information can be analyzed in many ways by an employer reading between the lines.


In addition to preparing a resume and professional outfit before an interview, it has become a necessity that students also review what is on their profile.


That one embarrassing photo, the one-liner that was funny at the time or a profile in its entirety could be the difference between an acceptance or a rejection letter.

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