Social media recruitment - navigating the minefield

Alan Price – CEO at BrightHR

February 25 2016

Due to their rapid growth, more and more recruiters are using social media sites as a helpful tool to solve talent issues and reach a wider target audience. With millions of users across different social media platforms advertising a job position can make recruitment relatively straightforward and more cost effective when compared to non-electronic ways of advertising. Here are some do’s and don’ts when using social media in the recruitment process.
  1. Make sure you are using the appropriate platform when advertising
Social media platforms can differ greatly as they focus on diverse range of topics. When advertising online, you should make sure that the audience you are targeting is actually on your chosen platform. For example, LinkedIn may have a higher percentage of your target audience than Facebook as it relates closer to the type of position you have to offer. Alternatively, in order to reach a wider audience you may wish to advertise your job on a number of platforms. This way you are increasing your chances of finding the right candidate.
  1. Advertise more than the job
Recruitment is a two way street. Remember that you are looking for an impressive individual and they are searching for an impressive company. You should use the opportunity to advertise your company, too. Post a description of the company in addition to a job and candidate description. This will attract more potential applicants, as it will show the benefits your company has to offer and why they should work for you.
  1. Ask for feedback
Evaluating how successful your advertising was is a great way to consider whether any improvements are needed. You should consider asking for feedback through surveys to applicants. The surveys should ask where the candidate saw the advert, which will help you identify platforms which generate the highest interest and applicant numbers.
  1. Don’t rely solely on social media
Social media can be a great assisting tool in recruiting, but it should never be the only method of recruitment. Employers should not completely abandon the traditional methods of advertising, as this will significantly narrow the scope of the talent pool the advert is trying to reach. It is possible that it may also disadvantage candidates who do not have access or choose not to use social media. Narrowing the scope of the talent pool will result in a limited audience and the job advert may not reach a sufficient proportion of the target audience.
  1. Don’t infringe candidates’ privacy
Viewing candidates’ social media accounts during the decision making process can seem like a useful tool you have available, but you should use it with caution. Looking at personal information about candidates as well as statuses or photos on their personal accounts can infringe on the individual’s right to a private life. Screening potential employees on social media may put employers at risk of discrimination charges, particularly if the information they discover online is related to any protected characteristics a candidate may have. Such information should not be used to discriminate against an applicant and hiring managers should be careful not to let their personal opinions affect the decision whether or not to hire a candidate.
  1. Don’t assume information found on social media sites is correct
You should always be cautious of the validity and reliability of the results gathered from social media research. Often, employers may think that searching through a candidate’s personal account will bare more truth about them than their application or cover letter because they are not attempting to impress potential employers on social media. However, that may not be true as the possibility that some candidates may have created a profile with the purpose to impress recruiters cannot be ruled out. Further to that, the account should not be taken as a realistic reflection of the individual because often the owner portrays themselves in a way to impress even their friends and family.

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