Social Media Profiles And Muslim Job Applicants

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Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Two researchers at Carnegie Mellon University recently conducted a study on the use of social media in hiring decisions and found a negative impact on those belonging to the Muslim faith.

The researchers created Facebook profiles for fictional job applicants making them similar in almost every way with the exception of information indicating religious affiliation. The fictional individuals were either Christian or Muslim. The researchers then sent out applications to more than 4,000 employers. There was no indication of religion affiliation in the application materials. The employers had to search the social media profiles of the applicants to obtain that information.

According to the study approximately 33% of employers looked at the applicants’ social media profiles. In more politically conservative areas of the country there was a significant difference in offers for an interview between Christian and Muslim applicants. In the 10 most politically conservative states, 17% of Christian applicants received offers for interviews compared to 2% of Muslim candidates.

Notably, the researchers also looked for any differences in the interview offer rate between gay and straight individuals and found no statistically significant difference.

Discrimination on the basis of religion in hiring decisions is illegal. Studies, including this one, show that it happens. Employers need to be challenged on their hiring practices. Job applicants should be aware of their social media profiles and the fact that prospective employers may look at those profiles before making hiring decisions. If you think you’ve been the victim of discrimination, you should consult a lawyer.