Social media’s place in recruitment

Depending which surveys you look at, some 39-84 per cent of employers now use social media to research prospective candidates – last year, YouGov found that 1 in 5 employers had rejected candidates because of what they found out about them in the process.

But social screening goes both ways; an estimated 77 percent of candidates screen their prospective employers and 59 percent of employees credit the organisation’s social media presence as a reason for accepting the job.

Candidates are increasingly using social media as a primary job search tool, to the point it has even been mooted ‘the new CV’ – the tech-savvy hailed Generation Z are now perceived by millennials as a greater threat than robots!

Social media offers a fantastic opportunity for candidates to gain an insight into an organisation’s day to day activities before they even decide to fill out an application – some have even secured a job with a single tweet. But social media profiles only present snapshots.

There’s no question that the advanced search functions on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter has opened up opportunities for hiring teams to quickly scope out a wider talent pool and attract tricky to reach candidates more cost-effectively. But quick and fast rarely means good, and there’s often a disconnect between the anticipated benefits and reality.

Despite praising the potential for social media to reach passive candidates, many employers complain that such candidates are harder to motivate and retain. The truth is that while social media may help them filter out those who use offensive language, have bad spelling and post inappropriate photos, it won’t help them build the quality of relationship with candidates they need to identify a good match. And unless employers understand their target audiences in detail, they will most likely end up focusing on the wrong channel, LinkedIn instead of Facebook for instance, if they make the mistake many others have.

This isn’t to say it’s not worth having a presence on social media – far from it. Social media offers a great route to promote employer brand, which as we’ve mentioned in a previous blog is a key priority for a number of organisations. In fact, many businesses have social media profiles dedicated solely to careers.

However, it takes time to build engagement and manage one presence, let alone two – posts can’t all be about job vacancies after all. Blogs, videos, testimonials – anything that gives a taste of what it is like to work there can help, and this approach is more likely to yield culturally compatible candidates too – but it’s a long game.

Either way, trying to bypass the process with surreptitious screening of candidates’ social media profiles, however public they are, may soon be considered a breach of European law. In line with GDPR, regulators say that unless there is a legal ground and the search is directly relevant to the performance of the job, social media screening by employers will not be permitted.

Regulation aside, snooping is the opposite of what social media is, by its very name, all about.

Ultimately, if you really want to understand whether a candidate is a good match, there’s no screening more successful than the traditional face-to-face interview. Which is why, despite becoming more mainstream, social recruitment’s place in most recruitment processes is really still quite small.

Top tips for employers:

  1. Know your target audience – the channels they use, their expectations, the content that is likely to appeal to them
  2. Build your employer brand by populating your website and LinkedIn company page with useful information
  3. Do involve your employees to give candidates an authentic flavour of your workplace culture – this may also encourage referrals
  4. Guard against reputational damage or data breaches by making sure you have a staff social media policy in place and monitor your online presence
  5. Do engage with prospective candidates on social media, but don’t rely exclusively on it to find the right ones

Top tips for candidates:

  1. Do be conscious that what you post on your social media profiles may be seen by prospective employers
  2. Check your privacy settings and make sure what you say on any public profiles is consistent with what you put on your CV
  3. Do your research – don’t rely solely on organisations’ social ‘cherry pickings’ to make a decision about whether the job is right
  4. Make sure you know your worth and how other roles compare. The more qualified you are, the more options you’re likely to have open to you
  5. Don’t underestimate the power of a face-to-face interview for both the employer and you. You need to be sure the job is a good fit for you

If you need any guidance on recruiting a senior manager or leader or are looking for such a role yourself, please get in touch today to see how we can help. 

To find out how we can work with you, please drop us a line