Facebook more efficient than IQ tests at determining employability. (Yeah, HR will be reading your updates.)

Forbes takes us one step closer to the Facebook-dominated society with a Northern Illinois University study that finds a quick social media review works better than standard employment surveys:

But there’s another good reason for checking out a candidate’s Facebook page before inviting them in for an interview: it may be a fairly accurate reflection of how good they’ll be at the job.

That’s the conclusion in a study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology last month. The researchers hired HR types to rate hundreds of college students’ Facebook pages according to how employable they seemed.

“We asked them to form impressions of a candidate based solely on their Facebook page,” says one of the study author’s, Don Kluemper, of Northern Illinois University. This involved looking at what was publicly available on those pages (photos, status updates, and conversations with friends) and then assigning each person a score for a number of qualities important to being a good employee, such as their degree of emotionally stability, conscientiousness, extroversion, intellectual curiosity and agreeableness.

Key takeaway for hiring employers: The Facebook page is the first interview….

In the second study, the researchers did a similar assessment of students’ Facebook selves and also had the students take personality and IQ tests. Then, instead of following up with employers, they turned to students’ transcripts. “We were able to better predict a student’s academic success based on their Facebook page than on the cognitive tests,” says Kluemper.

This study was published in Forbes, not Scientific American. So you know the HR departments are paying attention. It’s only a matter of time.

Of course, I’ve also just gotten an idea for a new service. Since one of the factors is how often one updates status with personal info, it should be possible to create a personal factoid generator, give it an RSS feed and, in effect, spam your job-hunt-friendly Facebook account with darling little status updates about your kids and what you ate for lunch.

Anybody want to help me hammer that out?

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