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Social media in the recruitment process

Many organisations look to social media to add another dimension to their recruitment and attraction strategies. However, despite their huge numbers of participants, social networks are still immature in terms of business models.

A good social media approach begins with knowing where your target audience are, and how they use social media. By choosing your target wisely there is a better chance of connecting with the right people.

Social media for jobseekers

A recent survey found, the most popular site for jobseekers is LinkedIn, with 74% of respondents having a LinkedIn profile. Facebook was second, with 69% having a Facebook profile, Twitter at 18%, Instagram 11% and 3% of people have a MySpace account. Only 9% of respondents didn’t have any presence on social media. 

Social media for employers

When asked which social media sites their organisations have a presence on, 63% of employers have a company LinkedIn page, 55% a Facebook page, 35% have Twitter account, 1% a MySpace page and 2% an Instagram account. 22% of organisations have no social media presence at all.

Other key findings include:

  • Jobseekers favour more traditional methods of finding a new job, such as registering with a recruitment agency or using a job board
  • 46% of jobseekers would visit the organisation’s LinkedIn page before applying for a role as part of their research process
  • Only 24% of professionals would apply for roles that appeared in their Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds

The research process

The recruitment process is no longer a one way process. Top talent frequently get multiple job offers and are able to pick from a range of opportunities.

To secure the best professionals an organisation must also aim to impress.


The survey found 62% of employers admitted they use social media sites to check on prospective employees. 98% will screen their LinkedIn profiles, 68% Facebook, and 26% Twitter. Most hiring managers will screen social media at the application stage, before inviting a candidate to interview. Just as organisations screen potential employees, jobseekers will also research and assess potential employers. Social media can add much value if used correctly. It is not simply another way to advertise, but plays a part in communicating brand values, defining corporate culture and connecting to the public.

Judge a candidate on their professional abilities

Assess what a social media presence offers that the recruitment process can’t. A personal social media presence is generally a reflection of that professional’s life outside of their work, whereas their ability to do a role effectively can be assessed throughout the recruitment process.

What you find online might not communicate what you think is a cultural fit for your business. There are things hiring managers can do to form judgements on cultural fit, including;

  • Observe interactions. Candidates can tell you they hold the firm’s values, but it’s far better if they can show you. Ask interviewees to participate in group exercises or interact with existing employees to test whether they demonstrate those values in an almost-real-life situation
  • Be clear about your culture. Be open and honest about what it’s really like inside your organisation. Some candidates will self-select out if they feel they can’t fit in
  • Interview for values separately. When possible, assess for values with a distinct process. This could be including some specific value based questions in the interview process. You will likely learn something you would’ve missed if you were trying to screen for values and skills simultaneously

It is important that prior to launching a social media recruitment initiative companies take time to listen to the market. It should be evaluated whether social media is the right channel to reach the intended target audience, identify the investment of time and money, and decide if the resources used will be worth the return.

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