The Importance of Social Media in Recruiting New Talent

Running a help wanted ad in the classifieds of the local newspaper? So last century.  Hiring a headhunting firm? Who’s got the budget?  When it comes to recruiting top notch talent, companies are starting to look toward social media platforms for their next high-level executive.  Social media has practically taking over the globe with everything being tweeted, liked, posted, or pinned.  If it’s not on a social network, then it’s not worth looking into seems to be the standard in today’s smartphone dominated universe.  More now than ever before, human resource departments are looking at these networks as the source of their next hire.

Crunching the numbers

Don’t believe us.  Numbers don’t lie.  The Society for Human Resource Management conducted a survey early this year where the specific aim was to measure how companies are using social media as a recruitment tool.   Proof that social media is a powerful recruiting tool can be seen by the 84 percent of companies surveyed that presently rely on it to attract new talent as well as 9 percent of companies who have all the intention of applying social media to recruit.  The percentage for using social media was just 56 percent as recent as 2011.  Growing almost 30 percentage points within a five-year span is pretty significant.

Another interesting fact from the survey is that 39 percent of companies used social media to screen possible employees.  This number was up from 20 percent back in 2013.  Companies no longer see the need to have domestic visits to see how a person lives.  In today’s society people are adamant about posting every detail of their lives on the cloud.  All the Human Resource Department has to do is go to a candidate’s profile and snoop around a bit.  They should get a fair idea of how the person goes about his or her personal life.  The privacy freak in all of us might be saying at this point, screening candidates online is a little creepy and borders on invasion of privacy and as such should not be condoned.  While it might come across as a little intrusive, companies have a reputation to uphold, and screening candidates is one of the tactics they use to ensure that all employees are up to the standards set forth the mission statement and the company values.

Where do companies look the most you ask?  Facebook and LinkedIn are still the preferred choice.  LinkedIn is a major player when it comes to seeing a candidate’s professional life and accomplishments whereas Facebook does wonders for gaining insight into a person’s personality.  LinkedIn was used by 93 percent of companies and Facebook by 63 percent.  Almost a quarter of the companies surveyed stated that they always screen possible employees through social media and 34 percent claimed that it’s something they frequently practice.  In other words, almost 60 percent of the companies give special consideration to social media when looking to hire.

Beyond the numbers, what are companies looking for online?

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Image courtesy of thetaxhaven at

Companies take to online profiles looking for candidates who will fit in with the company culture.  How does an online media profile reveal this? Simple, a professional networking site shows your employment history, tenure, and academics.  Your social networking profile can give off a lot of information on who you are by taking a look at the kind of photos you put, your tastes, or any comments you make through post or by saying something on other people’s profiles.  Again, while it may seem unfair for companies to screen candidates this way it can help them avoid hiring someone who could potentially tarnish the company’s reputation and good name.  It’s always advisable to make sure a social profile is not full of egocentric commentary or many controversial opinions.  And by the way, grammar matters.

Companies are not the only ones recruiting online

When a company scouts for talent online it can be sure that candidates are also looking at its social media presence to see how attractive the company really is.  Companies must take care of their online image just as much as their physical one.  An above market salary and an extraordinary benefits package are not enough to lure in talent anymore.  People want to work for a company that cares about its people.  They want to be part of a place where growing personally is just as important as growing professionally.  It’s important for companies to be authentic and consistent when they post any content on how they make the company a great place to work.  Potential candidates can spot when a company really cares, when it’s being pretentious, or when it’s posting for posting’s sake.

The final word

Hiring processes and methods are constantly changing or improving.  There will always be a tool or technique that stands out and works better than others.  For the current labor climate, it seems that recruiting through social media is at the top of the most used talent scouting means and it hasn’t even reached its peak.  Companies and job seekers would be wise to take social media serious both for landing that top notch executive or for finding that dream job.