Mental health: the subject still scares employers

Mental health: the subject still scares employers

More and more Internet users talk openly about their anxiety disorders on the Internet. If this phenomenon makes it possible to remove the unsaid in terms of mental health, it is often badly received by recruiters, as revealed by a new American study.

Researchers at North Carolina State University set out to determine how online testimonials about mental health disorders change recruiters’ perceptions of those who write them. To do this, they divided 409 professionals who had worked in the field of recruitment into four groups.

Should we stop talking about our mental health on Linkedin?

The first was led to consult the profile on LinkedIn of a job candidate who had never mentioned his psychological problems on the platform. The second saw the same account, but it was accompanied by a message mentioning the depressive and anxious episodes of the candidate. The participants in the third group were subjected to the same experimental protocol, except that the scientists also made them listen to a recording of the job seeker. The volunteers of the fourth group consulted all the documents made available to them within the framework of the study (the profile, the message and the recording).

All participants in the study, the results of which were published in the Journal of Business and Psychology, then had to answer a questionnaire on the personality of the candidate and his potential performance at work. It turns out that volunteers who read the job seeker’s LinkedIn post about depression and anxiety disorders tend to find him less emotionally stable than other potential candidates. Worse still, they believe that he will be less conscientious in his professional life.

A discriminating factor

The researchers found that listening to the candidate’s interview slightly attenuated recruiters’ assumptions about their emotional stability. But, surprisingly, the recording had no bearing on participants’ opinions of the candidate’s alleged conscientiousness. In other words, study participants formed an idea of ​​the job seeker and their professional skills the very moment they looked at their profile on LinkedIn.

For Jenna McChesney, one of the study’s co-authors, it’s important for job seekers to be aware that discussing their mental health on professional platforms like LinkedIn can have repercussions on their employability. “Our findings do not mean that people should refrain from posting about anxiety and depression on LinkedIn. of them”she said in a statement.

Although mental health is a subject increasingly taken up by companies, it remains a factor of discrimination at the time of hiring. Indeed, recruiters often take a dim view of professionals who approach this topic online, and especially on LinkedIn. Some might be tempted not to offer them a position corresponding to their level of education and skills, for fear that they will be less invested in their professional life than their colleagues. This is why Lori Foster, professor of psychology at North Carolina State University and co-author of this research work, strongly encourages companies to “implement guidelines for the use of LinkedIn in the hiring process”.