Use of social media for recruitment sky-rocketing

by Miriam Bell30 Jul 2012

Social media recruitment has become an essential part of HR practice; according to a new survey, in 2012 some 92% of US companies used social media to source talent.

While LinkedIn remains the dominant recruiting network, Facebook and Twitter both saw major uptake over the last year – two thirds of US companies said they use Facebook to seek out candidates while over half said they use Twitter for recruitment purposes.

The rise in social recruiting has allowed both candidates and employers an easier way to find the best match, said Dan Finnigan from internet recruitment platform Jobvite (which conducted the survey). “Overall, social recruiting has become an essential resource in the war for talent as competition is fiercer than ever,” he said.

The reason social recruiting continues to gain in popularity is a simple one – why sift through a stack of resumes, when the same can be efficiently done online, he commented. “It also increases quality referral hires, which our own data proves are hired faster and last longer,” Finnigan said.

The survey found that three out of four US recruiters actively scrutinised the social media activity of candidates they were dealing with. A majority also reported that seeing memberships of professional organisations and evidence of volunteering work or donating to non-profit organisations earned a tick of approval.

Most recruiters said they frowned on social media postings which included swearing, references to drug use, alcohol consumption and sexual behaviour.  Bad grammar and spelling mistakes on social profiles also gained an overwhelmingly negative reaction. However, recruiters tended to be neutral in response to the expression of political opinions (62% neutral) and religious posts (53% neutral).

The survey findings were yet more proof that the more traditional jobseeking and recruitment methods, like the resume, were on the decline – and being replaced by social media and networking, according to Sudy Bharadwaj from internet-based Jackalope Jobs.

“In today’s job market, recruiters are placing more emphasis on job seeker personalities depicted on social media profiles and creative resume enhancers than they are single sheet summary of their careers. The vehicles for the presentation of the resume are changing, so why call for traditional resumes at all?” he said.

Bharadwaj listed the four reasons he thinks recruiters should focus their attention on the social media job search when looking for new talent:

1. Social media provides a better representation of candidates. Recruiters can get a better idea of who they’re pursuing by navigating social media profiles.

2. Effective and innovative use of social media can showcase the creativity of a candidate.

3. Social media allows candidates to present themselves three-dimensionally – which gives recruiters a more accurate look at who they’re really bringing in for an interview.

4. Use of social media demonstrates a candidate’s fluency in social media, and this in itself is fast becoming a required skill in many job postings.

However, it is certainly not the right time for every employer to adopt these sorts of recruitment techniques, Bharadwaj said. “Recruiters who pursue candidates for highly technical jobs, for example, should continue to place more emphasis on the quantifiable skills presented on a traditional resume than on a candidate’s DIY Pinterest board.”


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  • by Wouter Van Renterghem 9/08/2012 8:04:59 PM

    Hello Miriam,

    I agree social media are a useful extra source of information when recruiting. Though, I think it is not the new holy grale. Its added value depends the profile you are looking for (f ex, are spelling mistakes such a big deal for a waiter?) and it should be another element in the selection process (besides the interview, tests, ...).

    Another quick thought, what when the FB profile is not visible? Do you think the recruiter / recruiting dept should request friendship ? One could suppose that once the candidate will be hired, his profile will become visible since he will start connecting with colleagues.

    Best regards,

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