Employers Increasingly Use Social Media to Find Job Candidates

Posted August 17, 2016

Social media is now a part of daily life for the majority of Americans — and it’s becoming an important tool for human resource professionals searching for job candidates. New research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 84% of organizations are using social media for recruitment and another 9% plan to do so in the near future.

Approximately two-thirds of American adults (65%) use social media compared to only 7% a decade ago, according to a Pew Research Center report. Considering the vast number of people who interact on social media, and the amount of information that can be gleaned from posts and profiles, it’s no surprise the social networking phenomenon has impacted employee hiring.

For SHRM’s “Using Social Media for Talent Acquisition — Recruitment and Screening” survey, 410 HR professionals were asked how their organizations use social media to recruit and screen job candidates. Almost 90% of organizations reported they use social media to post job advertisements and three-quarters use it to contact candidates. In fact, 82% of respondents said they specifically incorporate social media as a recruitment strategy to attract potential candidates who are not yet looking for another position.

The majority of organizations, more than 80%, zero in on social media to help recruit managers and other salaried employees. However, the survey found that recruitment of hourly employees via social media is increasing.

Screening with Social Media

The SHRM survey revealed that social media is increasingly being used to screen job applicants. Two out of 5 organizations queried noted they have either formal or informal policies about using online searches and social media to find out more about candidates. Some, about 22%, allow the practice. However, about 19% don’t use social media to screen candidates — and the most common reasons cited in the survey are legal risks, relevancy, accuracy of information and privacy concerns.

Almost 30% of organizations who use social media and online searches to screen candidates do so before they conduct a job interview and about the same number said they waited until after the interview.

More findings from the SHRM social media survey:

  • More than 70% of those surveyed use social media to target job candidates with a specific set of skills.
  • Forty-one percent of employers reported job candidates are increasingly using links to their social networking profiles on resumes.
  • For most organizations (81%), social media is 1 of several recruiting tools used; however, 5% said it is now their primary recruiting tool.
  • LinkedIn is the social media site used most to recruit potential hires (cited by 96% of respondents) and 73% said it was the most effective social media site for recruiting.
  • Facebook (66%) and Twitter (53%) are gaining in popularity for researching and contacting potential employees.
  • Small organizations with fewer than 99 employees are more likely to recruit using professional or association networking sites.
  • Large organizations (those with more than 25,000 employees) are most likely to include YouTube in their recruitment strategy.

For companies not yet using social media for recruitment and screening, the biggest challenge may be simply getting started.

“It can seem intimidating and time consuming in the beginning, but just like with any technology, once you get used to it, it can become a huge advantage,” said Evren Esen, director of survey research at SHRM. — Sherry Baker