Title: 'Do I want to work for him?' The effects of variations in content, source, and age of managers' social networking information on prospective job applicants' attitudes

Authors: Christopher Ballweg; William H. Ross; Davide Secchi

Addresses: Department of Management, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, 3047 Niesen Street, Cross Plains, WI 53528, USA ' Department of Management, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, 1725 State Street, Wittich Hall Room 2202, La Crosse, WI 54601, USA ' COMAC Research Cluster, Centre for Human Interactivity, Department of Language and Communication, University of Southern Denmark, Sdr. Stationsvej 28 Slagelse – 4200, Denmark

Abstract: Does personal social networking website (SNW) content influence prospective job applicant reactions to their probable supervisor? A 2 × 2 × 2 design varied whether: 1) the prospective manager's SNW comments emphasised alcohol abuse vs. professional activities; 2) his friends emphasised alcohol vs. professional activities; 3) SNW information was five days vs. five years old. Findings indicated that alcohol-oriented information on personal SNWs - whether posted by the manager or by the manager's friends - negatively affected attitudes toward the manager. Information posted by the manager's friends had little impact on a willingness to apply or interview for the position. However, alcohol-oriented information posted by the manager decreased prospective applicants' willingness to interview for the position; they also wanted a higher salary to work for such a manager. Congruence of information only had effects if both the manager and friends emphasised professionalism. Age of website information had little effect on ratings.

Keywords: social networking website; SNW; organisational attraction; social media; personnel selection; alcohol abuse; Facebook; Brunswick lens model; negativity hypothesis; warranting hypothesis.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2021.116593

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2021 Vol.17 No.3, pp.217 - 246

Received: 19 Nov 2019
Accepted: 06 May 2020

Published online: 28 Jul 2021 *

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