How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Make Hiring Decisions Now

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By now, we’ve all heard about how employers scope out the Tweets and Facebook profiles of job seekers to winnow down the field of applicants. But job seekers may be surprised to hear just how many recruiters now use social media throughout the hiring process. Perhaps more surprising still, most recruiters are apparently checking for grammar and spelling on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

A new survey released by Jobvite, a company that provides applicant tracking software, shows that 92% of employers are using or planning to use social networks for recruiting this year. This is up slightly from last year at 89%. The study retrieved insights from over 1,000 companies, mostly based in the U.S., in a wide variety of industries.

Social networks are viewed by corporations as a means to recruit both passive and active candidates in a personal yet professional way. Companies such as Ernst & Young and Sodexo are building employer brands on social networks to position themselves as the best place to work and to interact with potential candidates. Aside from passively marketing their companies, recruiters are messaging prospects directly, getting introduced through connections and posting jobs in groups. They are using these networks to fish where the fish are.

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Even if you don’t supply a recruiter with your social network profiles, 73% of recruiters will check them out anyway. What are they looking for? First off, it’s important that you have profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. If you don’t, you won’t seem as relevant and companies might think that you’re hiding something. Next, companies are inspecting social profiles to weed out candidates and to get a sense of whether a particular applicant is likely to fit into the culture or not.

What you post or Tweet can have positive or negative impact on what recruiters think of you. Four out of five recruiters liked to see memberships and affiliations with professional organizations on a candidate’s profile, and another 66% react positively when a profile mentions volunteerism efforts. On the other hand, references to illicit drugs, posts of a sexual nature, and mentions of alcohol consumption were likely to be viewed negatively by 78%, 67%, and 47% of recruiters. Interestingly enough, poor grammar and spelling mistakes are worse social networking sins than writing about your latest binge-drinking adventure: 54% of recruiters had a negative reaction to grammar and spelling mistakes, compared to 47% of recruiters negative reaction to alcohol references.

Here are some more details regarding how recruiters are using the top three social networks, and how you can best shape your profiles and posts to increase your chances of getting hired.

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1. LinkedIn. Nearly all (93%) of recruiters are using LinkedIn to discover talent. This is up from 87% in 2011 and 78% in 2010. Furthermore, 89% of recruiters have hired through LinkedIn. LinkedIn was made for recruiting, and the site has an entire suite of recruiting solutions. LinkedIn Recruiter allows recruiters to reach passive candidates by expanding the reach of their personal networks, contact candidates directly and manage a pipeline of talent. The smart advice is to fully utilize LinkedIn in your job search. It’s essential to have to have a flawless (and completely filled-out) profile so that recruiters take you seriously. You should also optimize your profile by adding specialty keywords into your headline (for example “eCommerce and Social Media Expert”), summary, and throughout the rest of your profile so that when recruiters search for candidates with certain skills, you come up. I also recommend that you join industry groups to connect with recruiters that are looking for industry-specific candidates.

2. Facebook. Out of the three networks, Facebook saw the biggest gain in overall usage by recruiters to find job candidates, moving from 55% in 2011 and 2010, to 66% today. One in every four recruiters has successfully found a candidate on Facebook. Companies are using Facebook to discover talent and aren’t hiring directly from the site. But they are creating Facebook pages and promoting them, as well as jobs, through the Facebook Ads platform. Recruiters are using Facebook groups, advertising and their corporate Facebook careers page in order to source candidates. For instance, Marriott’s Jobs and Careers page has an application that lets you run your own Marriott Hotel kitchen, which increases their page engagement and attracts more people to “like” the company. As a job seeker, you have to make sure you’ve turned on your privacy settings, are careful what you post regardless, and you’re tapping into your “friend” network to get referrals. You can also use the BranchOut or BeKnown applications to map job openings to your network. If nothing else, you should “like” a company so you can follow updates and comment.

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3. Twitter. More than half of recruiters (54%) now use Twitter as part of their talent search. This is up from 47% in 2011 and 45% in 2010. Only 15% of recruiters surveyed have actually hired a candidate through Twitter. Companies are using Twitter to post job entries through their own accounts (i.e. CitiJobs). They are also using third party companies, such as Tweet My Jobs and Twit Job Search, to promote their listings. Job seekers should follow companies they want to work for on Twitter and watch out for job listings, while also interacting via Twitter with employees who work there. Again, it’s important to have a strong profile and several Tweets under your belt before you start truly utilizing Twitter to help you pursue work.

Dan Schawbel is a Gen Y career expert and the founder of Millennial Branding. He speaks on the topic of personal branding, social media and Gen Y workforce management for companies such as Google, Time Warner, Symantec, CitiGroup and IBM. Subscribe to his updates at Facebook.com/DanSchawbel.

25 comments
Josh73
Josh73

You'll never find a true professional on Linkedin.A stellar resume can overcome the stigma of having a Linkedin account, but whenever we find a well developed Linkedin or Facebook page my firm thinks about what it says about the person and that is that they're detached from the real world, that they're a narcissist, and that they're a conformist ready to give up their privacy because somebody told them everybody is doing it.

RecruitingAnimal
RecruitingAnimal

Linkedin is not really social media. For recruiters Linkedin is a resume database just like the resume banks on job boards. 

And that's what everyone is referring to when they claim that a large number of companies are using social media for recruiting. 

Very few people are recruited on Twitter or Facebook.


RameshGautam
RameshGautam

An individual is in his originals , when you scan his informal expressions about  issues and people .

lucienccw
lucienccw

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Ben Huang
Ben Huang

Funny because I know a lot of people who are fantastic writers in any academic or professional setting but are sloppier with their tweets or FB. I know I tend to not capitalize a lot of things on social networks. 

At least I've set all my privacy settings on FB and my twitter isn't used that much. Plus, my name is so common a google search turns up very little.

Linkedin makes sense, but FB and twitter? Ugh...

Valerie Humbles
Valerie Humbles

So if your page is private and only friends are allowed to view it, the only thing a recruiter will see is your profile picture.  I smell discrimination.

Adam Miller
Adam Miller

This certainly describes some practices my company Abroad101 uses when hiring.

Lisa Sigrest
Lisa Sigrest

Shameful for company's to think it is ok to judge an individual based on social media... WRONG! Sad that Company's think it is ok to check anyways too... I agree our economy is "going down, down, down".  Congress need to get on the ball and stop using excuses not to work for the peoples of America!!!

tnguyengp
tnguyengp

In working with IT recruiters in Dallas, I know they follow specific processes to find the right IT talent for my clients and spend a lot of time looking at LinkedIn profiles. Recruiters and HR teams these days have to look at so many job applications. A resume just looks like hundreds of others coming in. The trick now is to get noticed before you even walk through the door. It’s easier for recruiters to assess what they see on LinkedIn; all the information they need is there. The LinkedIn profile is the door opener.

Than Nguyen

http://www.insourcegroup.com/i...

AreYouBleepingMe
AreYouBleepingMe

I get the points here but I resent the increasing intrusion and erosion of our freedom in our personal lives and it greatly upsets me.  Instead of worrying about the government monitoring us like overseas (and the Patriot Act still has changed things), we have to worry about big business approving of us in every way -- just another step towards the film 1984 (on Netflix folks). I know you're saying that is a little much but to greatly change a situation, it is much easier to do so piece by piece vs. all at once. People notice and react to all at once. Linked In makes sense but I don't agree with Facebook, Twitter.  For that reason, I adjusted my name online like others and my page should be harder to locate. Additionally, I limit who my postings are sent to because people can't always control themselves. And yes, we have to go and Google ourselves. Amazing what websites are sharing now. If I am unable to perform my work due to what I do in my personal life, fine.  Otherwise, go find something more constructive and less judgmental to do.

Sachi Mohanty
Sachi Mohanty

Speaking for myself:

A Google search for 'Sachi Mohanty' will now get thousands of hits as I've been commenting online for a few years now. Search 'Sachi Mohanty' + 'New York Times' to get my comments on the NYT for example.

I am pretty much dormant on Facebook now as it's a silly platform where people mostly indulge in silly discussions after posting silly photos.

A LinkedIn profile is mostly static, isn't it?

I am active on Twitter here:

@sachi_bbsr:twitter 

ignacio_mobincube
ignacio_mobincube

As a recruiter, googling the name of the candidate is the first thing I do. We have discard too many candidates because of their bad image they offer on Internet.

if they don't take care of their own reputation ... will they take care of my company image?

Geraldine_S
Geraldine_S

Dan,

This is a great look at the current state of social media recruiting. One app which helps job seekers and recruiters alike maximize their success as social media recruiting continues to gather steam is Work for Us, which allows companies to post jobs to their Facebook Page, launch targeted Facebook job ads, and suggest referrals using Facebook and LinkedIn profile data. When 1/4 of companies have successfully hired a candidate through Facebook, it's too risky not to keep up--and tools like Work for Us makes it easy to do so. Thanks!

Geraldine

www.work4labs.com

Jolly
Jolly

"If you don’t, you won’t seem as relevant and companies might think that you’re hiding something." Am I in the Matrix or smth ?!? have NO intention whatsoever to put my life on Twitter. ... People (those recruiters too btw) need to get out of the little boxes they live in already. It's more in and about life than Twitter (even though I pretty much like the blue birdie - surely a reliable news channel)

PS: a recent study revealed that 8 in10 people on social networks either "play a part" or share the kind of information that would make them look closer to what they think they should be perceived as; it's an "embellished", distorted, untrue image. If that's what "recruiters" rely upon, no wonder why economies are going down, down, down ... Employ the wrong guy with the "perfect" image and you (as a company) are "done"! Happy socializing! NOTHING will ever compensate for a face to face meeting and a personal conversation

Tara Kluth
Tara Kluth

So grammar, spelling and punctuation DO count?  I've been saying that for years.

AngryBuddha
AngryBuddha

First off, it’s important that you have profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. If you don’t, you won’t seem as relevant and companies might think that you’re hiding something

Read more: http://moneyland.time.com/2012... stupid statement and wholly unsupported by logic or fact.If you plan on getting hired by any enforcement agency, it is best to NOT have these profiles.  If you do, it can only hurt you.  Be smart, just say NO to privacy destruction machines.

Meerkhatz
Meerkhatz

@Lisa Sigrest I agree with you.  !!This topic has me fuming!!  So what, now people are not allowed have fun, be silly, let loose on their own time? We're supposed to calculate every move we make, every word we say, everyone we befriend? THIS IS A VIOLATION OF USA'S CONSTITUTION, violation freedom of speech and discrimination to people living their everyday lives. What is it HR is really looking for - a perfect 'people's person' or a person with good skills to GET THE JOB DONE?   

colarguns
colarguns

What would you have done when hiring a professional for let's say Coca Cola back in 1970?  The year is irrelvant, but it is way before social media.  So?  Did the applicant then make a good employee?  Many I know are millionaires now.  

Coxxon
Coxxon

ignacio -  Just dropped your posting name into Google and quickly got your Twitter feed. You have a lot of posts, but (and I'm really trying to say this as politely as possible through a message board) it looked like a lot of wasted time posting things on no significant value. A lot of quantity over quality, and would make me think as a recruiter that you waste a lot of time on social media. At best, it would seem, so that you can claim a web presence.

Which just goes back to reinforcing the idea that a lot of this social media stuff, and the employer or their hiring staffs that look through it, are wasting a lot of time for little pay off. You'd do just as well to put names in a hat and pick some, then actually interview them.

colarguns
colarguns

TOTALLY AGREE!!  Our country has been turning quickly into a "service oriented" society, rather than manufacturing, which is entirely a separate argument.  Within this "service oriented" society, the IT field is a bubble that keeps finding newer territory to venture into daily.  When you look at the recruiting firms looking more and more into this outlet of social media as example, it is in fact doing more harm than good.  Ask those who are "not" in the recruiting field what they honestly feel about this approach, especially those who own their own business.  It is a joke, period.  The hiring manager of ABC Corp hires a recruiting agency to find the "perfect" employee.  The recruiter, who has never in their life encountered any experience whatsoever in the position they seek, then take the requests from the hiring manager and tweak the job title, skim the existing postings to again tweak the description to their own liking.  Now the employee that they are seeking is a high school janitor.  This janitor now has a new job title of Commercial Sanitation Engineer, along with newer requirements such as the "must haves" like OSHA certifications, ISO, ASTM, etc., basically making it entirely possible for that person who has devoted his entire life to this position as "janitor", but now he/she cannot find this job by searching for janitor, or even qualify for it.  Trust me, this Social Media Recruiting is a bubble that will burst, if not our economy first!

Imam Hidayat
Imam Hidayat

That's true, but you've to realize that there are so many applicants that a recruiter can have. You are not such a very special person that every recruiter want to know all about you with detail. Social media is just one of the way to analyze someone's personality. And what kind of 'recent study' that you've read?

Meerkhatz
Meerkhatz

@AngryBuddha -- good call! that is true.

ignacio_mobincube
ignacio_mobincube

Yes Coxxon, you are right. I've checked that posting quantity and not always quality is better than no posting. Don't blame me, blame google's page rank algorithm  ;D

colarguns
colarguns

Imam, you would obviously be discounted for your grammar.  See?  Social Media recruiting isn't that fair is it?  Sorry to burst your bubble.