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Despite Potential Risks, Social Media is a Must-Have For Recruitment

It seems almost incomprehensible these days that job seekers would not realize that what he or she posts on social media could have an impact on job prospects, yet it seems some people just cannot help themselves. (Remember the Cisco fatty story?) Not surprisingly, “over one-third (36%) of organizations have disqualified a job candidate in the past year because of concerning information found on a public social media profile,” according to SHRM.

Social media has become a critical recruiting tool for employers. In fact, 84 percent of organizations use it to find new workers, an increase from just 56 percent only five years ago. This is primarily true for passive job searches that involve finding potential employees who are not aggressively on the hunt for new gigs. Social media is very useful in viewing online profiles and resumes for openings. “If you’re not building social media into your recruiting efforts at this point, you’re not really recruiting on par with industry standard,” Forbes reports. According to iCIMS, posting an opening on social media can increase applications by as much as 50 percent.

It is not just embarrassing pictures that managers can find about potential hires; recruiters engage with social media to get a sense of how long a candidate typically stays with his or her employer and to obtain a more robust picture of the person. (KPIX) “It also means there’s access to a full-circle view of the candidate, whether or not that’s the intention, and one more way to take some potentially nasty surprises (and hiring fails) out of the equation.” Nearly two out of four human resources professionals believe public social media profiles are useful tools in gleaning insight about job candidates when it comes to work-related potential or performance.

LinkedIn is far and away the most utilized social media site used by 93 percent of recruiters to find new candidates. That was followed by Facebook (63 percent) and Twitter (29 percent), according to SHRM.

To be sure, there are reasons not to use social media for employee prospecting. Forty-six percent of organizations cited concerns about legal risks or discovering information about protected characteristics of potential hires, such as age, race and gender. Plus, there is always the chance that what is posted on social media by someone simply is not true.

While there is potential downside risk of using social media to vet candidates, recruiters do not seem to be overly concerned. With competition for talent tightening, human resource professionals look toward social media as a means of gaining an edge. “Seventy-three percent of recruiters planned to invest more in social recruiting, versus 63% in referrals.” In order to find prospects, organizations need to go where the talent is and that means engaging with social media.