Social Networking Websites, Personality Ratings, and the Organizational Context: More Than Meets the Eye?


  • Portions of this research were presented at the 68th annual meeting of the Academy of Management in Anaheim, CA, in 2008; and at the 47th annual meeting of the Southern Management Association in Asheville, NC, in 2009. The authors thank Cathrine Maraist, Hubert Feild, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

Donald H. Kluemper, Department of Management, Northern Illinois University, 245T Barsema Hall, DeKalb, IL 60115-2897. E-mail:


We examined the psychometric properties of the Big Five personality traits assessed through social networking profiles in 2 studies consisting of 274 and 244 social networking website (SNW) users. First, SNW ratings demonstrated sufficient interrater reliability and internal consistency. Second, ratings via SNWs demonstrated convergent validity with self-ratings of the Big Five traits. Third, SNW ratings correlated with job performance, hirability, and academic performance criteria; and the magnitude of these correlations was generally larger than for self-ratings. Finally, SNW ratings accounted for significant variance in the criterion measures beyond self-ratings of personality and cognitive ability. We suggest that SNWs may provide useful information for potential use in organizational research and practice, taking into consideration various legal and ethical issues.