Are you using social media in your job search? Are you using social media to find potential hires? Whether you’re looking for a job or looking for a new hire, you should be using social media as part of your process. While Pew Research estimates that 65% of adults use social media for their own job search, only some are as successful as they could be. Job seeking through social networks and social recruiting must be part of a bigger plan. In order for social recruiting to be successful, it needs to be a part of your overall business plan and strategy. Let’s cover the basic questions: what, who, where, when and why and how.


Let’s start with what social recruiting actually is. Social recruiting is when companies and recruiters use social networks to find, contact and recruit candidates for employment. Quality candidates are seen on social networks and businesses and HR managers want to find these potential employees. Social recruiting allows employers to tap into extended networks for candidates that would not be found otherwise. This type of recruiting offers tremendous value to companies of all sizes. It has become an essential avenue for recruiters to successfully compete in the war for talent.


It’s becoming more common to use social media in general and for business. Recruiters and HR managers are becoming more active on social networks with the intent of recruiting the best. Individuals who frequently use social networks tend to be “early adopters” of innovation and also tend to be more technically savvy, according to HR thought-leader Dr. John Sullivan. A JobVite survey found that 92% of the respondents use or plan to use social media for recruiting, an increase of almost ten percent from the 83% using social recruiting in 2010. Recruiters are using social networks to connect with those they can’t reach otherwise, and also to find some of the most tech-savvy potential hires out there.


Facebook and Twitter recruiting adoption is growing rapidly, while LinkedIn becomes nearly universal. LinkedIn is frequently used for business purposes including lead generation, prospecting and closing deals. The social recruiting survey from JobVite found that 93% of those who responded use, or plan to use, LinkedIn for recruiting. The closest runner up is Facebook at 66%. However, interior designers, graphic artists, and web designers are also likely to be on visual networks. You want to make sure you’re on the social networks where ideal applicants would be located.


Social recruiting can be used when you have a talent gap to fill or you’re looking to increase your pool of resumes for future consideration. Even if you aren’t using social media to post jobs directly, you can check out whether the online presence of your candidate is something that matches your company culture. In the JobVite survey, 48% of the recruiters who responded to the survey always use the online profiles when reviewing candidates and 25% said occasionally. Only 14% said they never use online profiles. Post new positions, your company goals, possible benefits and more anytime you are actively or passively recruiting.


You can filter through the higher quantity of applicants while recruiting high-quality candidates. JobVite also found that 73% have successfully hired a candidate through social networks, making social recruiting a highly effective source of quality new hires. 49% of recruiters who implemented social recruiting saw an increase in the quantity of candidates, and 43% noted a surge in the quality of candidates. Not only do the quality and quantity increase, the time to hire has decreased by 20%. Social media can also serve as an added resource for conducting background checks on potential hires.


Make sure your legal bases are covered. It is imperative to rely on software applications or an outsourced agency that will ensure compliance with audit trails and easy access to the date the candidate applied, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) job category, stage within the recruiting process, gender, race/ethnicity, reason for rejection, and more for each candidate. Make sure your company isn’t at risk for a potential lawsuit for discrimination. When developing a social recruiting plan, determine what your needs are, where the candidates most likely to fill the role are online, and how you plan to reach out to encourage applications.

Has your business used social media to recruit? What success or setbacks have you encountered?

Views: 485

Comment by Vinda Rao on April 23, 2013 at 10:12am

Hi Erica, interesting post. If you want some additional data on social recruiting adoption and expected increases in usage that include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest, feel free to check out our 2013 report:

Comment by Erica Bell on April 23, 2013 at 12:24pm

@Vinda - Thanks for the suggestion! I'll take a look. 

- Erica

Comment by Linda Ferrante on April 24, 2013 at 10:16am

I despise the thought of recruiters using Facebook as a recruiting tool!  Everything on FB has the potential to be taken out of context, and shame on the recruiter for allowing that to come into play.

Same with the interview question, 'What is your favorite movie?'  You are judging the candidates response based on YOUR OWN prejudices, issues and desires.  You can always ask why they picked that movie, but you'll rarely receive a truly honest response.  More than likely, it'll be whitewashed because they feel put on the spot now.  

I encourage candidates to make sure their fb pages are private.  Keep that separate and for play.  I don't look at fb pages (maybe it goes to caliber of candidates you're screening as well?) when recruiting, either.  By the way, I have not, in the past four years (since I started on fb), had an issue with anything a client has found/seen on fb.  

Comment by Erica Bell on April 24, 2013 at 11:56am

@Linda -

Facebook as a recruiting tool isn't as common as networks such as LinkedIn. It is used in some cases with mixed results. It is one of the places recruiters need to be most wary as information accessed and then used in the process could be deemed non-compliant with legal regulations. 

I agree with you - candidates should make their Facebook pages private. If they aren't private, they should be clean of anything a recruiter would not want to see.

- Erica

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on April 24, 2013 at 12:02pm

Linda, I'm not a fan of FB recruiting either, but I will say this - you gotta fish where they're biting. I've seen it used successfully for campus recruiting, and like any other tool it will work for SOMEONE, some of the time. There are no magic bullets, no "must haves", everything in moderation and just use what works. Yes, even Facebook. Shame on recruiters for allowing it to come into play? Seriously? I remember when sending email to prospects was a mortal sin. Now it's the norm. If it doesn't work for you don't use it, but to vilify recruiters who do...? Not sure I can buy into that.

Comment by Erica Bell on April 24, 2013 at 2:40pm

@ Amy -

Thanks for your input, Amy. Great point about Facebook and campus recruiting. College and high school students are highly active on the network. If a recruiter is looking for an intern or campus representative, Facebook may be their best bet to find the candidate they're looking for.

- Erica

Comment by Sandra McCartt on April 24, 2013 at 4:35pm
I have experienced kind of a funny response on Facebook. Most of my "friends on Facebook" are older. Once in a while I post our current openings on my page. It has never failed that one or two moms or dads have contacted me about their kid (anyone under forty in my crowd) who might be a fit for one of those jobs.

Takeaway, nobody wants jr. Or little sister to have a good job more than mom or dad. While jr and little sister are posting about what they ate yesterday, parents are watching those jobs pop up.
Comment by Ryan Leary on April 30, 2013 at 4:11am

Great post. It's important to remember that "Social Recruiting" is not really about recruiting from a social network. That was simply a term coined a few years back. Nobody is ever recruited online.It's important to understand that people connect online, the recruiting happens on the phone or in your office. In most cases the recruiter is simply a conduit to the company that has spent millions/billions on building a likable brand.

That is not to diminish the role a recruiter plays.

We connect online. We close offline.

Comment by Erica Bell on April 30, 2013 at 12:07pm

@Ryan - Great point. I really think your final statements hit the nail on the head.


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