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How this one “honest signal” on Facebook could affect your job prospects

Posted by
Harriet Hall
Published

Time to change your Facebook profile photo?

Turns out, it could affect your job prospects

A new study has found that your Facebook profile picture can hugely influence a potential employer – even increasing your chances of an interview by up to 40%.

The research, conducted by Belgium’s Ghent University, found that attractiveness was strongly linked to the likelihood of securing an interview, and positive feedback on applications.

In the study – claimed to be the first which directly measures the correlation between Facebook and job opportunities - researchers sent out 2112 bogus job applications in response to real job vacancies in Belgium. The only differences between the applications were their names.

They also set up fictional Facebook accounts, in which only the profile pictures could be viewed by an outsider, and had 195 independent reviewers rank the photographs for attractiveness and personality.

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The final touch of your job application? A good profile picture...

The scientists found that the photographs played a huge role when choosing a preferred candidate. Lead researcher, Professor Stijn Baert says:

“The candidate with the most favourable Facebook profile picture received approximately 21 per cent more positive responses to his application in comparison to the candidate with the least favourable profile picture.

“The difference in the chance to be immediately invited to a job interview amounted to almost 40 per cent,” he continues.

They concluded that employers saw Facebook pictures as an “honest signal”, and provide information about someone’s true personality, that cannot be obtained from a CV.

Researchers say that the more educated an applicant is, the more likely they are to be Facebook stalked by potential employers, because the less educated are easier to discount.

‘'Via Facebook, employers can collect information about candidates in a quick and easy way,” say scientists.