How Businesses Are Harnessing Social Media for Hiring Decisions

From dedicated hiring platforms to AI algorithms that will find, scan, and categorize candidates, today’s recruiters have a wide range of tools at their disposal to pinpoint the best possible fit fo...
How Businesses Are Harnessing Social Media for Hiring Decisions
Written by Brian Wallace
  • From dedicated hiring platforms to AI algorithms that will find, scan, and categorize candidates, today’s recruiters have a wide range of tools at their disposal to pinpoint the best possible fit for any position. However, one of the most valuable strategies is to use various social media platforms to post jobs, scout for talent, vet candidates, and communicate with them. This is known as social recruiting. 

    Recent statistics show just how widespread this approach already is. 94% of professional recruiters say they use social networks to advertise positions. 70% of employers use potential candidates’ social media to check for proof of their qualifications and see if they conduct themselves professionally. Plus, more than half of all employers say that something they saw on an applicant’s social media profile made them decide not to hire them. 

    Whether you’re a recruiter looking to further integrate social media into your hiring strategy or someone who’s hunting for jobs and needs to know how to promote yourself, here’s an overview of how social media can be used for hiring decisions.  

    Employee Referral Programs

    More and more companies are using social media to launch employee referral programs. This means they encourage their current employees to reach out to their own social media contacts to find qualified applicants. 

    Far from encouraging nepotism, this actually has a range of benefits for the company. For one, it speeds up the hiring process because their employees act as filters. Statistics show that referral hires turn out to be five times better employees themselves, with lower turnover rates. 

    There is a perk for job seekers, too. They are more likely to be able to trust job postings they find through their personal contacts. In one survey, 45% of respondents said they were more likely to apply for a position they found on a friend’s social feed. 

    Verifying Qualifications and Experience 

    Once a candidate has applied for a job, recruiters are overwhelmingly likely to check their social media profiles. Networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter offer an invaluable wealth of additional information that many recruiters consider. In fact, almost 60% of employers say that they prefer not to interview people who don’t have social media profiles.

    Social media gives recruiters the possibility to see first-hand and long-term proof of candidates’ passion and experience. For example, it’s easy for job applicants to embellish their CV by listing the skills mentioned in the job posting. But finding old posts on their profiles in which they talk about or showcase those skills adds to their credibility. For creatives, social media accounts can serve as public portfolios. Along with fact-checking qualifications, social media profiles can give recruiters insight into how in tune a candidate is with pop culture and the current social climate.

    Screening for Reasons for Exclusion 

    Employers will often use an applicant’s social media profile to decide if they’d be a good fit for the company’s culture. According to recent data, 54% of employers have used social media to screen for red flags. 

    Some of the reasons that were given for not considering a candidate were pretty straightforward. For example, 40% of employers excluded applicants because they posted provocative or inappropriate content. Another 31% said they had flagged candidates for posting discriminatory comments about another person’s race, gender, or religion. Progressive social movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter have made employers more aware of the dangers of ignoring these potential red flags. 

    Other types of content that led recruiters to exclude candidates are less obvious but no less damning. 22% said they had decided against hiring someone because their screen name was unprofessional and 12% because someone posted too frequently. 

    Finally, a considerable percentage of employers have also found evidence of objectionable behavior while a candidate held a previous position on their social media profiles, including bad-mouthing their previous employers or colleagues, sharing confidential professional information, and lying about work absences. 

    As social media becomes more ubiquitous, businesses will continue getting value out of diving into applicant’s profiles during the hiring process. There are opportunities and potential pitfalls for candidates, but both sides can benefit from the information on social media.

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