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Committee Chair

Harold Pardue, Ph.D.


Social media has altered the ways in which people interact. Business-focused social media profiles, such as those on LinkedIn, can act as a proxy for a traditional resume. However, these websites differ from a traditional resume in that information presented is sometimes informal, personal, and irrelevant to the member’s career. Furthermore, HR employees are able to view a job candidate’s social network. This research investigates the influence of a recruiter’s knowledge of an applicant’s professional network on the recruiter’s perception of the applicant’s trustworthiness and hence their willingness to take risk in the hiring relationship. A review of the literature covered two areas of research: trust and the use of social networks in hiring. While previous studies connected the trust model to LinkedIn, none of them addressed the influence of a LinkedIn profile’s social network on a hiring manager’s perception of the candidate’s trustworthiness. A survey-based experiment was designed to evaluate how network association bias, a newly created construct, affects a hiring manager’s perception of a job candidate’s ability and benevolence. The experimental model was based on Mayer, Davis, and Schoorman’s trust model. A structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis was conducted in RStudio using the lavaan latent variable modeling package. ix The results of this experiment reveal that that a job candidate’s social network impacts how the candidate’s levels of ability and benevolence are perceived by others. Furthermore, it is suggested that a recruiter’s propensity to trust influences the relationship between network association bias and a job candidate’s ability.