Political Affiliation and Hireability

In two experiments, recruiters were asked to reviewing job applicants’ social media profiles. The (manufactured) profiles were loaded with either explicit (Experiment 1) or implicit (Experiment 2) cues about the applicants’ political affiliations.

The recruiters were then asked to report on their own political affiliation, their perceived similarity to the applicants, how much they liked the applicant, and how well they thought the applicant would perform on the job.

…in both studies, political affiliation related variables influenced hireability decisions over and above job-relevant individuating information.

Roth, et al.

If the recruiter’s political affiliation matched the applicant’s, the recruiter perceived themselves to be more similar to the applicant, they liked the applicant more, and they predicted the applicant would perform better on the job. If there was a mismatch between the applicant’s political affiliation and the recruiter’s, all those variables swung in the other direction.

Sounds like another good reason not to evaluate candidates’ social media profiles. Are there any good reasons to do so?

Read Political Affiliation and Employment Screening Decisions: The Role of Similarity and Identification Processes in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

About the Author

Ben Butina, Ph.D.
Dr. Butina, who hosts the Department 12 Podcast, is an industrial-organizational psychologist with interests in training, leadership development, talent management, and positive psychology in the workplace.

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