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Future employment selection methods: evaluating social networking web sites

Donald H. Kluemper (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA)
Peter A. Rosen (University of Evansville, Evansville, Indiana, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 14 August 2009




The use of social networking web sites (SNWs), like Facebook and MySpace, has become extremely popular, particularly with today's emerging workforce. Employers, aware of this phenomenon, have begun to use the personal information available on SNWs to make hiring decisions. The purpose of this paper is to examine the feasibility of using applicant personal information currently available on SNWs to improve employment selection decisions.


A total of 378 judge ratings (63 raters×6 subjects) are evaluated to determine if raters can reliably and accurately determine the big‐five personality traits, intelligence, and performance based only on information available on SNWs. Interrater reliability is assessed to determine rater consistency, followed by an assessment of rater accuracy.


Based solely on viewing social networking profiles, judges are consistent in their ratings across subjects and typically able to accurately distinguish high from low performers. In addition, raters who are more intelligent and emotionally stable outperformed their counterparts.

Practical implications

Human resource (HR) professionals are currently evaluating social networking information prior to hiring applicants. Since SNWs contain substantial personal information which could be argued to cause adverse impact, academic studies are needed to determine whether SNWs can be reliable and valid predictors of important organizational criteria.


This paper is the first, as far as the authors are concerned, to address the use of SNWs in employment selection, despite their current utilization by HR practitioners.



Kluemper, D.H. and Rosen, P.A. (2009), "Future employment selection methods: evaluating social networking web sites", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 567-580.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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