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Using Social Media for Hiring

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest… the list goes on. A new social channel seems to be popping up every week and most can be overwhelming in their uses. One way social media has been trending that will likely continue in 2014 is the use of these channels to find and assess new talent for open positions.

According to a recent blog post by Jonathan Bernstein on Social Media Today highlighting an infographic from Digital Insights, in 2013 there were more than 1.15 billion Facebook users, Google+ and Twitter had more than 500 million total users each and LinkedIn had more than 238 million. According to an article by Jacquelyn Smith in, half of all job seekers are active on social networking sites on a daily basis. A third of all employers are using these sites in their hiring process.  All these statistics can be boiled down to one hard fact: social media sites now play an important role in the hiring process.

HR and social media for hiring

Companies worldwide have found ways to use social media to their benefit. In the HR industry, hiring managers often go beyond the standard screening of candidates— reviewing resumes and cover letters or contacting references. Now, they also turn to social channels to get a glimpse into the personality of potential new employees; Do they seem professional? Do they have inappropriate pictures posted? Do they seem to have a passion for the work they are seeking? These are just some of the questions being assessed through social media. The challenge to hiring managers is processing the volume of information available through social media as well as ensuring no ethical or legal boundaries are crossed. Let’s begin with where to spend your time and what to look for.

Where to find job seekers

LinkedIn is by far the #1 spot for job seekers and companies alike.  According to Forbes, some of the most popular websites for both job seekers and hiring managers include:

  • LinkedIn
  • Indeed
  • IdeaList
  • USAJobs
  • Wall Street Journal Career Site
  • Simply Hired
  • Monster
  • Glass Door

In addition to the above sites, hiring managers will sometimes search social media channels to help find and screen more candidates, which include Facebook, Twitter, Google + and more. If you are using social media to find and screen candidates, be sure you are familiar of the ethical and legal pitfalls. If approached correctly, social media can be highly valuable in the hiring process.

Safeguards if using social media to aid in hiring

According to a recent article, Use Social Media Smartly When Hiring posted by the Society for Human Resource Management, there are several safeguards companies can put into place to help use social media wisely in their hiring practices:

  1. Use social media searches after meeting the finalists
  2. During the screening phase, have someone other than the decision-maker search social media or conduct the screening
  3. Post notices on your website that you are an equal opportunity employer and that you seek a diverse pool of applicants from many sources
  4. Have a solid policy and guidelines about the kind of information you intend to pursue through social media

Social media is a two-way street

Job seekers will screen companies via social media just as much as, if not more than, hiring managers will seek out prospective employees. Applicants are learning that to attract companies and hiring managers they must optimize their profiles and engage on the right channels.  But, this goes both ways. Many companies have an incomplete company profile leaving interested prospective employees searching for more information on other sites, which the company may not be aware of or have control over.

Hiring managers can work with the department or individual responsible for their organization’s social channels to ensure culture messaging that helps to attract targeted employees and that job postings are strategically placed on the right channels in the right format. For instance, to help attract candidates make sure that your organization’s LinkedIn profile is completed. The bottom line is that hiring is competitive. Using selected social channels to strategically showcase your company to prospective employees is a great way to stay competitive in your industry’s hiring market and attract the right applicants.

Social media has transcended almost every aspect of business. From customer communications and service, to the hiring process to employee engagement and recognition. For many, it is part of our daily business activities. On one hand, it can help accelerate the hiring process or, on the other, overwhelm it. The juxtapositions go on; Social media can enhance employee recognition or hurt it and it can support customer communication or create frustration. Enter into the use of social media wisely, but don’t ignore it. Companies are finding unique and interesting ways to support their business goals via social media every day, and hiring is just one of them.

Have you seen or experienced companies using social media in the hiring process? Or, have you seen social media being used in unique ways? Share with us by posting your comments here or, share your feedback on our social media channels!