Job recruiters not overly interested in social media profiles, new research suggests


 It’s never been more important to stand out in an ever-increasingly crowded job market.

Contrary to popular belief, however, having a squeaky-clean social media profile may not really matter in a recruiter’s eyes.

New research suggests personal profile platforms have little to no impact on your status as a job-hunter, provided there’s nothing discriminatory lurking.

UNSW Business School lecturer Liwen Zhang said studies examined online profiles, and recruiters’ assessments showed “little to no correlation between a candidate’s social media profile and job performance or retention levels”.

“We tried to standardise the process to help improve the validity of these assessments,” Zhang said.

“We provided training to recruiters, and provided more standardised evaluation forms, and tried to have multiple recruiters to assess the same applicants.”

A file image of a man using a laptop with his phone nearby.
A file image of a man using a laptop with his phone nearby. Credit: Eugenio Marongiu/Getty Images/Cultura RF

“But the results show that this does not really appear to improve the prediction of future job behaviours or withdrawal intentions.”

However, she said when something scandalous was found - like a discriminatory post or tendencies - it did raise red flags.

Australia's job market is becoming increasingly crowded due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia's job market is becoming increasingly crowded due to the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: Barcroft Media via Getty Images

“Applicants’ discriminatory posts and behaviours are often not welcomed at the workplace,” Zhang said.

“We categorise such behaviours and statements as ‘information that may be a concern to an organisation’.

“According to behavioural consistency theory, I think it could be fair for organisations to review this information from social media and use it in staffing decisions.”