Your prospective employer can learn a lot about you, a new study has claimed, by just skimming through your Facebook profile.
Jennifer Golbeck and colleagues at the University of Maryland surveyed the public profiles of nearly 300 Facebook users for information about their favourite activities, TV shows, movies, music, books, quotes, and membership in political or other organizations.
They also looked at the 'About Me' and 'blurb' sections. The work did not include status updates or other data that is only available to users' online friends.
The researchers then had users take a test that measures the "big five" personality traits: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
"It turns out you can get to within 10 percent of a person's personality score by looking at Facebook," the Discovery News quoted Golbeck, a computer science professor who has become an expert at social media studies, as saying.
"Lots of organizations make their employees take personality tests. If you can guess someone's personality pretty well on the Web you don't need them to take the test," she added.
People who tested as "extroverts" on the personality test tended to have more friends, but their networks tended to be more sparse, meaning that they made friends with lots of different people who are less likely to know each other.
The study is being presented this week at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Vancouver.