What Does a Candidate’s Social Media Profile Reveal about their Personality?

Twitter hompeage screenshotAlthough resumes are not dead in the water, their importance in the hiring process is diminishing as recruiters can get the same information (and much more) simply by searching a candidate’s social profile. Research from Jobvite shows that 92 percent of U.S. recruiters are using social media to find and screen talent, which shows how much recruiters are supplementing resume information with social media data. The generally accepted wisdom is that LinkedIn is best for screening for functional skills, Facebook for personality and Twitter for social connectivity and industry immersion.

So, what can we discover about a candidate’s personality from looking at his/her social media profile?

1.The Big Five Personality Traits can be observed in a Facebook profile

Research from¬†Northern Illinois University’s College of Business has shown that Facebook personality profiling has proven to be more effective than a standard psychometric test in predicting a candidate’s ability to succeed, based on five personality traits of: conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion, emotional stability and openness.

A word of caution, however: this is one-of-a-kind research, which has not as yet been replicated or formally tested for reliability. So, Facebook personality profiling is still in its infancy and is probably not a reliable selection criterion on its own. It’s just meant to open recruiters up to the possibilities of social media personality profiling.

2. Facebook Account Holders More Extroverted

First, CPP, developers of Myers Briggs psychometric tests, did a big data analysis of their own personality data, comparing it those who use social media. They found that on average, 65 percent of people use Facebook , but 69 percent of extroverts use Facebook whereas only 60 percent of introverts use the tool. So, generally candidates who are using Facebook are likely to be more extroverted.

3. Active LinkedIn Users More Extrovert, Big Picture and Objective

What the CPP study also found was that individuals with a preference for Extraversion (40%), Intuition (41%) and Thinking (38%) were more active users of LinkedIn than persons with a preference for Introversion (28%), Sensing (29%) and/or Feeling (30%). This means that active LinkedIn users are more likely to be more extrovert and “big picture” rather than detail focused and more objective, i.e.¬† making decisions by stepping back rather than stepping in and getting an empathetic view.

4.Twitter Tends to be a Little More Big Picture than Detail Focused

The CPP study found far less trends in Twitter users, but the one trend they did highlight was that more persons with a preference for Intuition (13%) reported being active users of Twitter than did persons with a preference for Sensing (8%). This makes the average active Twitter user more big picture than detail focused.

These are the main studies that I can find that link personality with social media profile usage, and I hope you find them interesting. I’d be keen to hear of any more studies in this field that can help recruiters and employers do more reliable, methodical and ethical social media personality profiling.

 

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Kazim Ladimeji
Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.