Some admissions officers for medical schools and residency programs use social networking websites like Facebook when evaluating applicants, according to a study published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, Kaiser Health News' "Capsules" reports.
For the study, researchers at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine surveyed 600 admissions officers for medical schools and residency programs (Tran, "Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 11/8).
About one in 10 surveyed admissions officers said they use social media sites to evaluate candidates, while one in five said they use general Internet searches to look up information on applicants.
However, only 3% to 4% of surveyed admissions officers said they had rejected an applicant because of social media postings.
The study also found that:
- 58% of surveyed admissions officers said they do not believe online research on applicants constitutes an invasion of privacy;
- 53% said they consider a candidate's online professionalism during the selection process; and
- About 50% said they have their own personal social networking profile.
According to the study, one in 15 medical schools and residency programs has a profile on a social media site (Cheung-Larivee, FierceHealthcare, 11/9).
Researchers Comment on Findings
Researchers said the study findings suggest that "[f]ormal guidelines for professional behavior on social networking websites might help applicants avoid unforeseen bias in the selection process" (Epley, "Social Madness," Memphis Business Journal, 11/8).
Carl Schulman -- lead author of the study and an associate professor of clinical surgery at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine -- said, "What people put online is really a part of their history," adding, "You have to be extremely careful on what you put out there" ("Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 11/8).