Tag Archives: Social media

Facebook is a Poor Predictor of Performance of Job Applicants

A few months ago, I planned on writing more posts about academic research. I wrote one about spending your bonus on others making you happier (than if you’d spent it on yourself), but haven’t got around to it since. My intentions were good as anyone can see from looking at the list of tweets I’ve favourited over the last 100 days. Just about all the tweets I’ve “bookmarked” to read are academic in nature.

I came across an academic article the other day that seemed quite interesting and reminded me of much of what you hear when you’re in university: be careful what you put online! Even after you’ve graduated, you often hear that your employer (or potential employer) will be watching to see what you put online, so be careful what you put on Facebook. We’re told that it can have an adverse effect on our ability to be hired (or maintain our current employment).

This particular study tried to address a gaping hole in empirical research. That is, the popular press often talk about how important it is to have a pared down social media profile, but there hasn’t been much research studying the effects of potential employers using social media profiles in screening candidates. Before we take a look at some of the results, I wanted to share three important points from the article:

First, as discussed, SM [Social Media] platforms such as Facebook are designed to network with friends and family rather than to measure job-relevant attributes. Indeed, most SM information pertains to applicants’ outside-of-work interests and activities, which may have little bearing on work behavior. This factor, in and of itself, may be enough to suggest that criterion- related validity for SM assessments may be low. [Emphasis added]

The researchers raise an important point that — no doubt — you’ve seen elsewhere. Most people use Facebook in order to connect with friends & family and as a result, it may not be the best measure of how one would function at work.

Second, the sheer volume of SM information also may inhibit decision makers from drawing valid inferences. . . This large amount of information may put demands on decision makers’ ability to process all the potential cues and to determine what information (if any) is relevant and what is not. This situation may cause decision makers to rely on biases and cognitive heuristics may reduce validity. [Emphasis added]

I’ve written extensively about cognitive biases. The researchers mention of the volume of information regarding social media makes me wonder how long before organizations are using Big Data to try and analyze all the social media data in painting a portrait of a candidate.

Finally, inaccurate information may undermine the criterion-related validity of SM assessments. For example, the desire to be perceived as socially desirable may lead applicants to embellish or fabricate information they post on SM, such as experience, qualifications, and achievements. Furthermore, because other people can post information about applicants on SM platforms (e.g., Facebook), applicants do not have complete control of their information. As such, applicants may be unduly “penalized” for what others post. In fact, one study found that comments posted by others on one’s Facebook profile had a greater effect on observers’ impressions than did one’s own comments (Walther, Van Der Heide, Kim, Westerman, & Tong, 2008).

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In this study, the researchers had recruiters rate Facebook profiles of potential job candidates and then followed up with those job candidates after they’d secured employment. As you might expect from where this post has led, the evaluations the recruiters gave of the potential job candidates based on their Facebook profiles were unrelated to the ratings issued by supervisors on a number of factors: job performance, turnover intentions, and actual turnover. Moreover, these predictions based on Facebook profiles aren’t more useful than other, more common methods: cognitive ability, personality, self-efficacy, or even GPA. What’s more, they found that Facebook ratings were higher for females (vs. males) and that ratings were higher for White candidates (vs. Black and/or Hispanic candidates).

I understand that many managers think more data will help them make better decisions, but as has been demonstrated in this article, when it comes to job candidates, maybe checking their Facebook profiles could lead managers to make the wrong decisions.

ResearchBlogging.orgChad H. Van Iddekinge, Stephen E. Lanivich, Philip L. Roth, & Elliott Junco (2013). Social Media for Selection? Validity and Adverse Impact Potential of a Facebook-Based Assessment Journal of Management DOI: 10.1177/0149206313515524

Case Study: When The Twitterverse Turns on You

http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/12/case-study-when-the-twitterverse-turns-on-you/Every once and a while, Harvard Business Review posts a case study to their blog and solicits their readers to come up with answers to the case. After reading what was posted earlier today, I took some time on my flight back from Washington, DC to Toronto to see if I could develop a suitable strategy for responding to the ‘crisis’ at hand. Head on over to HBR and check out the Case Study. I’d be interested to hear some of your thoughts on how Canadian Jet should proceed.

Here’s what I came up with:

When faced with a decision like this, it’s important to ensure that the group isn’t succumbing to any biases in judgment and decision-making. Right off the bat, it’s clear that one potential trap is the sunk cost fallacy. While the decision to keep the contest running might be the right one, it’s necessary to discern whether this choice is being made because “this is our biggest social media campaign,” and we’ve got “nothing [else planned] on this scale.”

If it were my decision, I would advise Charlene to keep the contest. Right now, it’s going through a bit of a bumpy stage, but when viewed through an optimistic lens, these customers who have tweeted “doozies” can actually turn into some of Canadian Jet’s biggest assets. How? By directly addressing their concerns.

Seek out those customers on Twitter who have shared tweets that have had the greatest impact (reach via retweets, etc.) and apologize to them. Speak to them directly on Twitter, (but not in a direct message, part of the purpose in doing this is so that others can see that you’re) on Twitter and express remorse for their concerns. Where possible, maybe offer some sort of compensation in the form of a discount on their next flight or something similar. It’s important to keep clear that you don’t think that this makes up for the fact that they’ve “missed their daughter’s wedding,” but that you hope they can find some consolation in it.

Why Posting Duplicate Content to Social Media is a Good Idea

When I first connected my website to my Twitter account, I worried about reposting the same link. That is, when I tweeted, I didn’t necessarily want to be sharing something that I had already sent out. I figured if people had already seen what I had said, they wouldn’t need to see it again, right? Well, that might just not be the case.

Yesterday, I came across a creative answer to a question on Quora that I’m going to share below. A quick lead-in: the question asks about bizarre (and small) social experiments  that lead people to the opposite conclusion of their hypothesis. There are some great answers on the question, but this one in particular, applies to sharing content on the web:

We all get countless happy birthday message from acquaintances (veritable strangers) on Facebook.

Out of personal and professional curiosity, I decided to perform an experiment with 2 parameters:

1. I edited my “Facebook” birthday to the current day every day
2. I did this every day until not one person wished me happy birthday

A few people — mostly my closest friends — immediately noticed, but for the few first days, the volume of birthday messages hardly diminished day-to-day.

After a couple of weeks, I started getting a few people who were in on the “joke” wishing me happy birthday every day, along with a handful of “stop it, this isn’t funny” messages.

A few weeks later, a few people just went ahead and un-friended me (on Facebook only … I think).  But more interestingly, a couple people who had just recently wished me happy birthday, did so again.  And did so very sincerely!  They had merely forgotten.  More on that in a bit.

A couple months into it, the messages were still coming in (genuinely), but were down to just a couple or a single every day — along with the requisite friend who wished me HB every chance he got.

Finally, after just 103 days, I got no new happy birthday messages.

The span crossed 3 “major” holidays: Christmas, New Years, and Valentine’s Day.  My favorite messages were the “I had no idea your birthday was on Christmas!” types from pretty close friends.

The “wasn’t it just your birthday? Oh well, hope it’s a good one!” types were fun as well.

What to take away from this? I occasionally coach/teach people how to use social tools for marketing/whatever and one important lesson is that not everyone sees every message every day, so you shouldn’t be afraid of posting duplicate content, especially if it’s an important message or one that resonates well with a big audience.

And when people occasionally express concern over that concept, I tell this story 🙂

Of course, this is just one small social experiment, but it is certainly something to keep in mind when you think twice about sharing that blog post on social media more than once.

 

If You’re a Senior Executive and You’re Not on Twitter, You’re Doing It Wrong

I’ve seen a number of articles in the past 12 months (here’s one, and another, and another still) that discuss CEO’s and social media. Of the three I pointed to in the previous sentence, two are for and one is against. On the whole, I think the majority of what I’ve read in the popular press is that CEOs should be on social media. There are a number of good reasons (know your market, humanizing your brand, appearance of accessibility, etc.), but I learned of an externality last week.

When I was at the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) event, I was with a number of staff at George Mason University. Our aim at this event was to share positive things about Mason, which is one of the purposes of AI. During this sharing, it was possible to overhear conversations of other groups around the room (especially when there was a pause/lull in my group’s discussion). In a couple of these silences, I overheard groups talking about the President of George Mason University — Angel Cabrera — who is known for, among other things, being on Twitter.

In fact, a couple of these people who were talking about it, mentioned that this was the reason that they joined Twitter — just so that they could follow the President! And this isn’t the only time that I’ve heard of faculty/staff joining Twitter just to see what the President was saying. While these pockets of people saying this may not be a representative sample, it certainly seems like it might be the beginning of a trend, or at least something that’s worth noticing.

In a couple of the articles I mentioned in the opening paragraph, the authors specifically point to social media being a way for CEOs to connect with their employees. After hearing about these folks at Mason who joined Twitter just for President Cabrera, I can see other benefits, too. Once these folks are on Twitter, they may be more likely to follow other conversations and continue their learning/development. But more than that — for the company/brand/organization/school, these employees will be showing potential customers/employees another window into the workings of the company/organization. That may have been a confusing sentence. By being on Twitter, these employees could offer a window of what it’s like on the inside.

So, while there are obvious benefits of CEOs partaking in social media, I think it’s important to point out some of the externalities that result from CEOs being on Twitter  — namely — their employees joining Twitter. As you’ll notice in the title of this post, I would argue that senior executives should join Twitter, so not just the CEO (or President, in the case of George Mason University). In fact, at George Mason University, you’ll find that President Cabrera isn’t the only senior executive on Twitter. Mason’s Provost (Peter Stearns) is on Twitter, the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (Jack Senser) is on Twitter, the Dean of the College of Education and Human Development is on Twitter (Mark Ginsberg), etc.

So — if you’re a senior executive, make your way to social media — now! And for all the employees out there, head on over to social media to check and see if your company’s/organization’s senior executives are on Twitter… you never know.

Where on the Internet is Jeremiah Stanghini — November 2012

Everything is dynamic — nothing stays the same. As I looked back at on the first time I wrote a post of “Where on the Internet” I am, I was struck by how much has changed. As it is, I updated the other post 3 times (I didn’t include a note when I updated it the first time) — and that was just between January 2011 and June 2011… 6 months!! Now, a year out from there, a lot more has changed. As a result, I thought it worth it to give you an update. Notice this time, I’ve included a month/year in the title of the post because — while I don’t anticipate any major changes, there’s a good chance that things will change. Without further adieu!

Jeremiah Stanghini’s Blog — Since moving my posts from Genuine Thriving to JeremiahStanghini.com, this is probably one of the best places to find me. In the top right-hand corner, there’s a button you can click to get updates of every time I publish a new post — which — I’ve been aiming for two a day (during the week) and once a day on the weekend.

Twitter — Jeremiah Stanghini — Since starting to tweet in June of 2011, I’ve gone through quite a process. I used to only use Twitter through the web client (twitter.com), but since realizing the value of TweetDeck and lists (!); if my computer is open, there’s a high probability that I’ve got TweetDeck open, too. I do my best to tweet things that are interesting, news-y, noteworthy, or funny. Of course, I don’t always tweet links. On the sidebar, you’ll see some of my most recent tweets and a follow button — (shameless plug) — follow me on Twitter! There’s also a link to my Twitter page in the menu at the top of the page.

Facebook — Jeremiah Stanghini — I recently switched my Facebook profile to a Facebook page. Like Twitter, I do my best to post articles/videos that are interesting, noteworthy, or funny. Like with Twitter, there’s a Facebook widget on the wide bar — (shameless plug) — like me on Facebook! Again, there’s also a link to this Facebook page in the menu at the top of the page.

 – Of course, I have a profile on LinkedIn that provides my professional resume. As with Twitter/Facebook, there’s a link to this profile/resume in the menu at the top of the page.

As I wrote in the first version of this post in January of 2011, I have profiles with two of the more popular commenting services for blogs,  and . On these profiles, you’ll be able to see the various comments I have made on blogs around the Internet.

Quora — Jeremiah Stanghini — Lastly — I’ve started to Quora use a little more frequently. There are some interesting questions that I find on Quora and when I can, I try to pitch in and answer questions.

An Evening of Historic Proportions

Last night was a historic night. It was the first time in the history of social media that I was “locked out” of Twitter. Okay, probably not the historic event you thought I was going to cite, but it did happen.

While I was busy tweeting and retweeting last night, I didn’t even consider that I would hit the “daily update limit” — but I did. The irony is that just before I sat down at my computer to begin watching the coverage (on TV and online), I saw a tweet from someone who was speaking for @TheStalwart — who had just hit the daily limit and thusly wouldn’t be participating in the “Election Party” on Twitter last night. It was a bit strange last night — to — in a way — be excluded from the excitement on Twitter, especially just after the networks were calling the election.

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All kidding aside, last night was a historic evening. Since the United States is such a major player on the world’s stage, there is certainly interest around the world in the person who holds the office of the President of the United States. As you can see from the graphic on the right, some may say that the rest of the world was happy with the result of last night’s election.

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There’s just one more thing I want to share in this post and it does have to do with history. After Pres. Obama was declared the winner by most of the networks, his Twitter account tweeted a photo that has been retweeted more than any other tweet in the history of twitter — and it’s still going! It surpassed the record (somewhere in the 200,000’s or the 300,000’s last night), but in looking at the tweet a few minutes ago, it’s almost up to 750,000 retweets. That’s a lot of retweets! In case you haven’t seen it yet, I’ve included it below: