ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Scholarly Article Review of Big Five Personality Traits Reflected in Job Applicants’ Social Media Postings

Updated on March 25, 2015
  • Summarize the article.
  • Discuss how this topic is important to you as well as to society.
  • Discuss how reading this article may influence your social media use in the future.

Job applicants and incumbents often use social media for personal communications allowing for direct observation of their social communications ‘‘unfiltered’’ for employer consumption. As such, these data offer a glimpse of employees in settings free from the impression management pressures present during evaluations conducted for applicant screening and research purposes.

— J. William Stoughton, MS, Lori Foster Thompson, PhD, and Adam W. Meade, PhD

I chose to read and review “Big Five Personality Traits Reflected in Job Applicants’ Social Media Postings” by J. William Stoughton, Lori Foster Thompson, and Adam W. Meade. This article is on the findings of a study created, using 175 participants, to determine if the personality characteristics of job applicants and incumbents are reflected in the content of their social media postings (Stoughton, Thompson, & Meade, 2013). The study participants all self-reported on social media content related to “photos and text-based references to alcohol and drug use and criticisms of superiors and peers (so-called ‘‘badmouthing’’ behavior) were compared to traditional personality assessments” (Stoughton, Thompson, & Meade, 2013, p. 800). The study concluded that extraverted candidates were predisposed to post on social media about alcohol and drugs; while participants that were low in agreeableness were particularly prone to engaging in badmouthing behaviors online through social media (Stoughton, Thompson, & Meade, 2013).

The conclusion of the study has raised questions about whether the personality of the members of society can be assessed through an individual’s social media usage. Stoughton, Thompson, and Meade’s (2013) results have led to the proposal that it may be possible to infer certain personality characteristics from the social media postings of individuals. This study and subsequent future studies may lead to society being able to measure that personality of individual’s through their social media postings. This could lead to job applicants and incumbents being hired, not hired, fired, or let go because of the personality that their social media usage indicates that they have.

The results of this study could have a great influence over society’s social media usage. The fact that social media usage may come to influence a person’s employment may cause people to use more privacy settings to avoid potential employers being able to have access to postings. People may also decide close their social media accounts to insure that potential employers cannot measure their personality based on their social media usage. It is also a possibility that social media users will become more guarded on social media and cease “badmouthing” potential employers, current employers, co-workers, and/or organizations on social media.

Reading this article has already influence my social media usage and will continue to influence my future uses of social media. Prior to this article I did not grasp how much an employer could tell about a person from their social media postings. Since learning about how employers can view social media postings to learn about potential and incumbent employees’ personality and how certain personalities may eventually be able to be gleaned from postings I have upped my privacy settings. I have also decided to refrain from posting anything that I would be uncomfortable with a future employer seeing. I do find it interesting that it may eventually be possible to learn a person’s personality from their social media postings, but I also see it as a violation of privacy. I feel that social media postings are only meant for friends and family, not employers. This article has caused me to become more aware of how my postings may eventually come to affect my employment opportunities.


Stoughton, J. W., Thompson, L. F., & Meade, A. W. (2013). Big Five Personality Traits Reflected in Job Applicants' Social Media Postings. Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 16(11), 800-805. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0163

This study investigated job applicants’ personality characteristics reflected in the content of their social media postings. Results indicated that extroverted candidates were prone to postings related to alcohol and drugs.Those low in agreeableness were particularly likely to engage in online badmouthing behaviors.

— J. William Stoughton, MS, Lori Foster Thompson, PhD, and Adam W. Meade, PhD


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)