Forget Myers-Briggs: all you need is Facebook

FacebookPersonality tests are an everyday part of the recruitment world. Companies across the globe use complex tests to spot the right personalities for their business. Indeed, massive consultancy firms exist crammed with psychologists to analyse the data and help companies ensure that they employ the best possible mix of personalities. But you have to wonder if such companies have a future, if the results of some recent research can be converted into some kind of “app”.

It turns out that just checking someone’s Facebook stream of activity is a reliable indicator of their personality type, as assessed by a theory known as “the Big Five”. The Big Five personality indicators are: agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, neuroticism and openness. There are other methods of assessing personality, such as the popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, based on the work of Jung, but the “Big Five” indicators are nowadays generally accepted as the basis of personality.

New research has shown that a Facebook stream is a reliable method of indicating personality based on the Big Five theory. If someone’s Facebook timeline includes lots of “smilies” for instance, it shows that they have high levels of extroversion and people who post frequent status updates have high levels of openness. Conscientiousness is reflected in lots of questions and neuroticism is shown by the rate of negative comments an individual posts. The researchers discovered that simple checks of Facebook profiles are accurate indications of personality types as assessed by sophisticated questionnaires.

It all suggests that those personality tests use by human resources specialists may well be a thing of the past for many companies. If you want to know what kind of person you are employing, all you need to do is check out their Facebook profile. Many companies already do that when recruiting new staff, but largely as a “back-up” to the expensive psychological tests that they have used. Now, there is evidence which suggests that checking Facebook alone is as good as those expensive occupational psychology profiles.

Forget Myers-Briggs: all you need is Facebook 1

2 thoughts on “Forget Myers-Briggs: all you need is Facebook”

  1. Thanks for writing about this exciting new area. Our company, Whit.li, has built an API that extracts personality from Facebook profiles to help websites and applications increase the relevance of their content to their users.

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