Recruitment Through Social Media

Recruiting with social and are “old school” when it comes to recruiting for salaried positions. is cool for those “gotta find a body” openings. However, social media is fast becoming the way-to-go.

The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) has recently published the results of a recruiting survey probing social media habits among those who actually do the recruiting. And, the winner is LinkedIn.

Social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other easily recognized names, have changed
people from content consumers to content producers. The social media we know:

  • Uses web-based technologies to make content highly accessible.
  • Enables the creation and sharing of user-generated content.
  • Reduces “class” distinctions allowing recruiter and candidate to begin a conversation as equals.
  • Reaches an almost global audience for those who recruit beyond the borders.

Social media allows recruiters to “socialize,” that is, introduce themselves to strangers, mingle with like-minded recruiters, and explore forums of interest to them and their search. This tool lets candidates join the conversation, explore the employer brand, and begin the qualification process.

The SHRM survey compared 2011 figures with those of 2008, and they found that, of the recruiters surveyed, 56% now use social media to recruit.

  • When asked why they were using social media, 84% said social media afford the opportunity to recruit employees who may not have been actively searching work.
  • 67% recognized a bargain in a search with no fees.
  • 54% valued the ability to target specific job-levels: executive, managers, supervisors, and so on.
  • 52% liked being able to search for a specific skill set.

Those responding to the survey had the most success in recruiting to the middle. That is, they are filling 77% of director and senior management positions and 82% of their non-managerial salaried positions. Social media have provided 39% of the most senior executive titles and 36% of the hourly jobs.

Of the prominent big brand social sites, Twitter is most often used by 42% of the recruiters; 58% use Facebook, and 95% use LinkedIn. (The numbers exceed 100% because most use more than one website.) These numbers tell you to look at LinkedIn’s special strengths. Facebook may be too busy with chatter and seem a little too casual to do the job professionally. Some of this is exaggerated on Twitter with its hip brief tweets. However, this does encourage concise posting targeted to a younger tech savvy demographic.

Not surprisingly, members with mid to senior management skills dominate LinkedIn. Their profiles and resumes are easily accessible to your search. Most members see the site as a sort of professional club and develop their profiles and conversations accordingly. It’s here that you will find the passive candidate who does not know s/he is looking for a change of jobs. Finding someone apparently qualified, you can initiate the conversation. 

Many HRIS products now include social media in their recruiting and tracking modules allowing you to track social media referrals automatically and supplying data for your recruitment initiatives.

The upside is that social media recruiting speeds and facilitates low cost recruiting. The downside is that it takes time and multi-tasking. It is too labor intensive to assign to an HR staff member in the small to mid-size environment, but it might be outsourced to a virtual recruiter. Nevertheless, it cannot be ignored or set aside.

Carolyn Sokol is founder and President of as well as Business Development Director to, both of which help match businesses to the right HRIS or outsourced HR provider for their particular needs. She is currently a member of SHRM and writes on HR issues that affect small businesses.