It would be wrong to say that companies depend entirely on social media for hiring and getting to the ideal candidate match. But it wouldn’t be entirely wrong to say that an individual’s profile on social media or a passive web presence can heavily influence a recruiters opinion which can in turn affect their hiring decisions (or not).
Apart from a few problematic questions that hiring through social media throws up, such as "What is the line between personal and professional?", "What kind of information should a recruiter filter?" and so on, let’s take a look at why recruiters are increasingly using social media to hire.
To check who you really are
It’s unbeatable why anyone looking for a job wouldn’t clean up their social media profiles knowing that recruiters use it for hiring. From inappropriate online behaviors, backbiting about formers employers, memberships in certain types of groups and forums, shabby language skills to the types of friends a person has, recruiters can mine just about any kind of data about you as a person when they’re hiring.
Why would they undergo traditional procedures of personal calling, reference cross checking, confirming the credibility of information in your resume and so on, when they can rate you on their personality test absolutely through your social media page totally free of cost?
To filter existing applications
Companies who do not depend entirely on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more, actually end up using it in their third or fourth round of recruiting. This is when they have already eliminated a whole bunch of applicants and are in the process of sorting out a last couple few.
At this juncture, after references are cross checked, social media can provide a last brush of valuable insights to a recruiter about which candidates they should zero in on.
Would they rather want a candidate who has solid connections with the top management of a rival company or would they prefer a marketer who has varied outside-the-office interests?
To test the waters on how much buzz a job posting creates
For a small and medium business enterprise or for an independent entrepreneurial venture, it’s a fairly expensive deal to constantly advertise on paid recruiting portals or through print advertisements on a frequent basis.
At the end of the day, even recruiters are under the stress of ‘selling a job’ and ‘attracting the best candidates’. Through social media, recruiters can advertise lower rung and mid level positions free of cost.
More importantly, by doing so they can test the response of applicants through direct inquiries and make alterations to their hiring strategies in real time.
To browse through a pool of candidate profiles
It is not necessary that recruiters use social media only when they urgently need to hire. Headhunters and HR professionals are constantly on the prowl for interesting profiles and candidates. They often keep an eye out for talent rather than a set of skills alone.
Many recruiters engage in conversations with potential candidates and bookmark their profiles only to make them an offer in the future. One of the top reasons why recruiters like to use social media is also because they can get a sense of demand and supply of jobs in the market, what candidates are looking for in a position, what they think of current remunerations, work life balance, a happy workplace and so on.
To target an extremely segmented niche audience
As a recruiter, you choose to use hash tags on Twitter for better niche keyword search results or Facebook Ads, Facebook Business Pages and Facebook Marketplace to find a category as specific as a ’40 year old seamstresses in Dallas area with 2-3 years of industrial experience’.
There are no limits on how deep you segment your target audience. An important reason why recruiters use social media is to not waste time, resources and money by advertising generically and then start filtering and sorting.
For applicants, the cue here is to join as many niche and segments forums and groups they can. They should make their online profile keyword rich in such a way that it becomes easy for recruiters to spot them in the crowd.
There are obviously many other reasons as well – but given above are 5 most important ones as to why recruiters aggressively use Social Media in their hiring process.
And a word of advice for people who are looking for a job or a switch – Please pay close attention to what you say and conduct on Social Media sites – It may come back to haunt you and you may probably loose a lucrative job.