A recent study by Pennsylvania State University in the United States suggests that people who express strong views on controversial topics on their Facebook profile may spurn their chances of landing a job. According to the researchers, job recruiters are less likely to select candidates who appear to be too self-involved or opinionated in social media posts. The study further also suggests that recruiters are also less likely to hire employees who post content suggestive of drug or alcohol use.
In the study, the researchers investigated the effects of three potentially negative topics on hiring managers decision making. The topics included self-absorption, opinionatedness and alcohol and drug use. According to reports, the recruited 436 hiring managers from a variety of organisations, 61 per cent of whom were employed in the hospitality industry and the remainder in companies ranging from information technology to healthcare.
The researchers further gave participants a scenario to read and they noted that the hypothetical job candidates answered questions well and also exhibited enthusiasm, but that further said that the participants also appeared to be prone to job-hopping. The team then asked the participants to review components of the candidates' Facebook profile and to rate their employment stability. The participants were assigned different Facebook profiles as well which showed the above three topics, or not showing those traits at all.
The hiring managers then evaluated the candidates and the researchers found that self-absorption negatively impacted recruiters' perception of candidates. Tews said, “Social networking sites are often lamented as incubators of self-absorption, motivating people to tell others about their every deed and thought. Social networking sites have given rise to unprecedented numbers of individuals expressing extreme and controversial ideas in a public forum.
He further added, “People who post divisive subject matter may be viewed as more argumentative and less cooperative. Additionally, their views could run counter to those of hiring managers, which may influence managers, beliefs in candidates, qualifications for jobs”.