Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology



First Advisor

Amber N Schroeder

Second Advisor

Jared B. Kenworthy


Mixed support has surfaced regarding the use of online information for personnel selection (i.e., cybervetting), which commonly involves the evaluation of social media profiles. Research to date has largely focused on investigating the psychometric properties of this assessment technique, and little attention has been devoted to understanding rater judgment and decision making processes in a cybervetting evaluation. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the mechanisms by which raters use negative social media content to assess applicant suitability, through their perceptions of applicant attributes. Using an experimental design, results from this study found that negative social media content had an indirect effect on applicant suitability ratings via perceptions of applicant integrity and conscientiousness, among male (but not female) applicants. More specifically, the presence of negative content on social media reduced perceptions of applicant attributes, which then positively influenced perceptions of applicant suitability. Further, results revealed evidence of gender bias, such that female applicants were generally described as having lower integrity, cognitive ability, and conscientiousness compared to their male counterparts, suggesting that female applicants are at an immediate disadvantage when it comes to social media evaluation for employment purposes. In sum, this study identified the mechanisms by which raters form judgments about candidates, which then influence their perceptions of applicant suitability. Implications and future directions are discussed regarding the use of cybervetting for personnel selection.


Cybervetting, Personnel selection, Gender bias


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Psychology Commons