How Recruiters Use Social Media to Find Job Candidates

LinkedIn, the vast online network for career-minded professionals, counts more than 40 million college students and recent graduates among its 450 million worldwide users. With a pool of potential employees that deep, corporate recruiters can’t afford to ignore social media.

It’s not only people just starting their careers. A Pew Research Center survey in 2015 found that 90% of all recent job seekers in the United States used online resources in their searches, and 84% of them applied for a job online.

Corporate recruiters are responding. A recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) revealed that 84% of organizations used social media for recruiting in 2015, up from 56% in 2011.

The networks recognize the business potential, and some have responded by creating online tools to help recruiters find the right candidates through advertising and direct communication. LinkedIn’s business model relies heavily on recruiting: In its Q2 revenue report for 2016, the company revealed that 64 percent of revenue for the quarter ($597 million) was generated by its “Talent Solutions” platform, a suite of paid tools for recruiters.

What Do Recruiters Look for On Social Media?

According to the SHRM survey, some recruiters use social platforms to verify information from a resume or CV. Others look for disqualifying behavior. A 2015 Recruiter Nation Survey conducted by online recruiting firm Jobvite stated that warning signs that caused recruiters to pass on potential candidates included spelling or grammatical errors in social media posts and references to marijuana or alcohol use.

Recruiters also keep an eye out for promising signs, such as participation in a volunteer organization and a pleasant personal presentation.

7 Ways Recruiters Use Social Media

Here are seven ways recruiters use social media to screen and attract candidates:

1. Posting job openings – LinkedIn and other online job sites such as Indeed and Monster provide platforms for companies to advertise new positions in a job board format. Recruiters also post job openings on Facebook and Twitter using sponsored posts and tweets.
2. Contacting candidates – Through features such as LinkedIn’s InMail, recruiters can send messages directly to prospective candidates, inviting them to apply for specific positions or alerting them to relevant company news.
3. Finding candidates – LinkedIn allows Talent Solutions clients to search for users whose profiles match the qualifications required for specific jobs. This applies to passive candidates as well as those actively seeking a new job. On Facebook and Twitter, recruiters often use hashtags to make sure their openings show up in job seeker searches.
4. Encouraging current employees to make referrals – Companies that offer a new employee referral bonus encourage their current employees to share new job openings with their friends and followers on social media. The Pew Research survey found that 13% of new employees landed their jobs through a referral on social media.
5. Generating prestige and interest – Recruiters work with the social media team to craft posts and tweets that highlight the best aspects of the company, creating an attractive public face for potential future employees.
6. Creating company- or industry-specific groups – Social media is first and foremost about community, and much of the interaction on Facebook and LinkedIn takes place within niche-specific groups. Companies that take the lead on such groups can help shape the conversation and catch the attention of potential job candidates.
7. Posting industry news and analysis – The social media team posts relevant news and original, company-created content. At some companies, long-form articles written by organizational leaders are posted on LinkedIn and elsewhere to drive conversation and demonstrate thought leadership in a related field.

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