back to article The Facebook test: Why social Big Data is important

A study published by the Journal of Applied Social Psychology says that analysing applicant social network pages is a good predictor of how well the newbie might (or might not) fit into your organization. They’re not talking about the obvious stuff, like status updates about looting stuff from work or faking exotic illnesses …


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  1. nematoad

    No, thanks.

    "analyse every aspect of a person’s online identity"

    And what if, like me, you have no online presence? I wouldn't touch Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin,etc. with a bargepole, so does that mean that I will just have to attend a boring old style interview instead?

    If that is the case then I think that it is a price well worth paying just to keep my personal affairs out of the hands of these organisations.

    1. simlb

      Re: No, thanks.

      Agreed. And having seen the vast amount of utter garbage and crap posted by a number of my work colleagues on Facebook, I'd shred their CV immediately and put their email address in the Junk Senders list.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No, thanks.

      so does that mean that I will just have to attend a boring old style interview instead?

      sadly, it might mean that "a new research conducted by the Ministry of Silly Walks" reveals, that the chances of an interview for candidates who do not have social networking presence, have dropped to, virtually (!) nil".

      methinks this calls for at least two profiles, i.e. your private one, locked down against any snoop, and an open one when on one hand, people will pay for and apply (and companies will deliver) tools to "optimize" your profile. And then, the vetters will apply counter-tools to filter out the optimization. But, as you fake your open profile, they'll push to gain access to your "real one", and you might have to, perhaps informally, be told that to get that first interview, you need to let them access your "private" profile. And if you claim not to have one? Well, see above, "The latest research conducted by..."

    3. Mike Flugennock
      Thumb Up

      Re: No, thanks.

      My FB and Twitter presences are minimal, restricted largely to following activist news and posting links to new artwork at my blog, and are both under the same fictitious pseudonymous identity with entirely fake info. I'm on LinkedIn under my "real" identity for "straight" professional/client contacts, but my presence and activity there are equally minimal, partially because I spent a little time there after I set up my profile, and nothing about LinkedIn really sets my ass on fire (so to speak).

      That said... not that I'm into being excessively neurotic, nor prone to massive thievery or embezzlement or rage-feuled gunplay, but this article makes me even gladder that I'm not a frequent regular FaceBooker or Tweeter, and don't have accounts under my "real" identity.

      Btw, I upvoted your post. Well said!

    4. ItsNotMe
      Thumb Up

      Re: No, thanks.

      "And what if, like me, you have no online presence?"

      And neither do/will I. Patently REFUSE to use any of these lame "social networking" crap sites.

  2. Spud2go

    Employing the right person...

    ...for the right job is a valid consideration, but this approach is just far too big brother for my liking. For the interests of both parties, nothing beats authentic facetime, IMHO.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who says the employers need full access?

    Why this sort of thing naturally means "handing out everything you have" to bozos that might not even understand much of the rest of their own company is a bit beyond me. The solution seems obvious: Write an app, have it poop a big five turd. Run the same on the company website, compare. Done. You trust facebook with all that data already, why not also trust them with crunching it into a couple scores?

    And no, I don't have a facebook profile; wasn't about to get one just to get a job, either.

  4. Ged T

    They could go the whole hog but HR beware....

    If this approach is going to be so great, why would a company bother with HR Consultants, HR Recruiters and HR Departments?

    Taking the same approach, you could do away with those Annual / Six Monthly / Quarterly Appraisals, too, couldn't you? You'd just need to post your "appaisal review evidence" on FaceTube(tm) and all your 'Friends' could vote to determine the next chapter of your career, salary rise, bonus, promotion - "Like" - NOT!

    Let me run that idea, again, about using this to do away with HR Consultants, HR Recruiters and HR Departments - I wonder if they "Like", now...?

    1. Jelliphiish

      Re: They could go the whole hog but HR beware....

      but where would all the pretty-do-nowts go? i like having them in one department where i can avoid all of them at once..

    2. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward

      Re: They could go the whole hog but HR beware....

      I'd take it a step much further, FB needs apps that can safely "UP" all of your social profile status employment pointers. A bit like SEO but for job-seekers. Said app should spontaneously seed your profile with comments that make you look like a god to any trolling recruiter. Comments must be remotely tweakable, on demand and must interface with any automated job site trolling app. Why not call it .... Recruiting Wars or Fake Refs?

      I mean FFS, if recruiters can completely automate the hiring process why can't we automate the applying process ?

      Just sayin'

  5. Turtle

    Let me fix that for you!

    "A Forbes magazine article on the study quoted one of the researchers saying that Facebook access restrictions make it difficult for employers and the whole fucking world to see a potential applicant’s entire profile."

    Well score one for Facebook.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let me fix that for you!

      Ditto that.

      Pretty much everything in my profile is locked down to "friends only" and some of it even to just a specific subset, then topped off by me not accepting requests from people I don't actually know in real life.

      Add that to the fact that most of the communication I do with my friends is via direct message and I can't see them having much to go on if they try to hit my profile; not unless they ask me for access first (at which point I would want to know why).

  6. Ole Juul
    Thumb Up

    Works for me

    1) Openness to experience

    I like to experience the world, so I don't use Facebook.

    2) Conscientiousness

    I'm a conscientious user of the internet, so I don't use Facebook.

    3) Extroversion

    I like to interact with real people, so I don't use Facebook.

    4) Agreeableness

    I'm discriminating in what I agree to, so Idon't use Facebook.

    5) Neuroticism

    I'm not neurotic, because I don't use Facebook.

  7. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Modern day psychometric testing

    I suppose this is the equivalent of filling in "personality tests" at interviews. You know: the ones where you quickly work out what sort of person they want for the job and fill in the little boxes according to the required traits.

    As it is, a lot of people (who have active FB accounts) adopt the persona of the person they'd LIKE to be - that outgoing, lively, vivacious, GSOH type that they'd describe themselves as in the lonely hearts ad - instead of the dull and uninteresting saddo who spends all his/her time glued to a screen (TV or computer) as they have no proper friends.

    What an FB account, and any/all photos posted, can tell you about a person - to some extent anyway, is whether a potential interviewee harbours any of the attributes that you are not allowed to enquire about during a job interview for equality reasons. So while employers are prevented from selecting for reasons of age, gender, ethnicity it's easy for an immoral boss - or recruitment agent to preselect for interview candidates who volunteer this information in a social forum.

    1. mitch 2

      Re: Modern day psychometric testing

      It's photos on CVs by the back door.

  8. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    Why don't we go the whole hog and have the state run the personality tests while we're at school. "Applicants for this job must have C or above in GCSE Engish and Maths and be rated 4 or above for contentiousness. Three years experience cleaning urinals is also required. You will be paid JSA plus expenses."

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quite frankly

    I wouldn't want to work for any organization which *required* its employees to have a public Facebook profile.

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Re: Quite frankly

      I wouldn't want to work for any organization which *required* its employees to have a public Facebook profile.

      Who in their right mind would actually trust anything they found online as a suitable source of information for anything? Oh I know some lazy fuck-wit in HR that is too lazy to do any real work[1] like reading résumés and CVs to finding out if a potential candidate is actually any good. Much easier to make up your mind about people 127 bytes at a time.

      And if you are too busy creating PowerPoint presentation for the weekly progress meeting, you can legitimize the whole process by paying somebody else to access publicly available information for you:

      [1] Also a reason to be the only person in a company that actually has a legitimate need to have access to farsebook, twatter, uPube etc etc.

    2. Mike Flugennock

      Re: Quite frankly

      Yeah, I've been hearing about _that_ bullshit lately... companies adding insult to injury by not only asking for the login creds to your FB account, but requiring you to _get_ one if you don't already have one, and _then_ demanding the login.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quite frankly

        Twice now this week, I've heard people saying they've 'heard' or 'read somewhere' that employers are asking for the login details for potential employees FacePuke accounts.

        I'm calling 'bollox' on that one. If any employer [never mind 'potential employer'] was demanding access to people's personal website logins, there would be a huge scandal about it, with human rights and privacy advocates shouting from the rooftops. It wouldn't just be something someone heard someone else's mate read on the intarwebs.

        1. Mike Flugennock

          Re: Quite frankly

          Sadly, I didn't have the presence of mind to bookmark the reports, but... maybe a year or two ago, there _was_ a huge stink raised by workers' rights and privacy advocates about the practice of companies demanding FB and other social-media login creds from candidates at job interviews.

          Hang on.... (roots around on Google for a couple of minutes)... yeah, here's a couple from this week:

  10. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    HR psycobable

    They use that crap because it's easier than actually doing a good job.

  11. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Flip Side of Wanton Transparency ..... Better Beta PreViews to SMART Windows

    Regarding … A Forbes magazine article on the study quoted one of the researchers saying that Facebook access restrictions make it difficult for employers and the public at large to see a potential applicant’s entire profile. ….. what more would need to be known of applicants posting profiles agreeing with laudable aims claimed easily acclaimed, with the following being a current example.

    Whenever one can practically guarantee a methodology for the simple and easy placement and/or replacement of a reality/virtual reality with any other alternate virtual reality/reality, effortlessly delivered via the micro and macro management of communications and media output/throughput, does the Great Game change somewhat. ……. and Moves On Heavenly into Heavenly Realms of Command and Control.

    Methinks such applicants realise the progress bottlenecks and restrictions are in legacy systems' inadequate grasp, which might be a highly vulnerable virtual incomprehension, of the extent of the digital revolution and the forces IT unleashes …… and controls with such powers as are not openly spoken of here …. for all of the the very best of good reasons.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Google, Facebook, and the Toilet

    These 'peeping-tom' Internet voyeurs can setup in the wash closets or maybe get busy counting and and classifying and consolidating everyone doing anything. We've got to become more adept at winning in this sad game of hide-and-seek.

  13. Mark Shaffer

    Why Stop There?

    "...we should prepare for a wave of HR consultants pointing to this study and looking for automated tools designed to analyse every aspect of a person’s online identity in order to figure out whether they have what it takes to man the drive-up window next summer."

    But why end with the mere initial decision to employ? You could set up to get notifications of any change to an employee's Facebook profile (full access required, or you can't work for us!), reanalyze in real time, and if the employee no longer measures up, send an automatic termination notice. So much more "efficient" than those labor-intensive performance reviews.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leyden jars

    Wouldn't it be more efficient to grow people as embryos in jars on a production line? That way, environmental variables such as exposure to radiation, inversion of the jars, withholding of nutients etc. could be introduced during the embryos' development and used to selectively pre-dispose them towards certain types of work, before birth. After birth, electric aversion therapy and subliminal messaging could be employed to further reinforce these desired character traits and social conditioning.

    It would do away with this whole inefficient lottery of trying to match people with jobs, where unfortunate factors such as having individual personalities make the process less scientifically accurate than it could be.

    1. James Gibbons
      Big Brother

      Re: Leyden jars

      "electric aversion therapy and subliminal messaging" = watching TV with commercials

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "why shouldn’t big employers use Facebook as the first screen in your interview process"

    Because they won't find me there.

    Yes, do a search on my name in a regular search engine, and you will find plenty on me. But restrict yourself to Facebook, and you'll get nothing. The WWW does not revolve around Facebook.

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