How Social Media is Reshaping the Hiring Process in Today’s Labour Market

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015
social media

Are employers missing the boat on finding new talent by not leveraging social media in their search for people with the right skills? Considering how youth have embraced online media wholeheartedly employers would be doing them a disservice by not adding social media usage to their hiring toolkit. By using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter they are casting a wider net in the search for the perfect fit, complementing traditional methods (online job boards and career fairs)  with new age tools.

Currently employers are more often using social media to assess the character (and dig up dirt) about their potential recruits. They are looking to get a good feel for the candidate’s personality, assessing the truth about their professional qualifications, and to get a sense of their creativity and communication skills. They are also looking for inappropriate photographs, bad-mouthing about previous employers or any other negative behaviour that are not seen at an interview or in a resume. There are even 3rd party companies whose sole purpose is to do this online investigating for them.
For-profit companies are the most likely to reach out via social media to find people, non-profits less so and government bodies are the most skeptical about taking the risk of reaching out to people on popular social media sites.
A 2014 survey of 1000 employers (by the Society for Human Resource Management) puts 77% of them using social media in some capacity to aid the hiring process compared to 56% in 2011 and just 34% in 2008. Wow that’s some jump, but you might be saying to yourself “this is all interesting stuff but how are companies actually using these web based technologies for finding candidates in the first place?” I’m glad you asked, here are some insights.
  • Posting positions directly on their LinkedIn page/built-in LinkedIn Job board, as well as on their Facebook and twitter accounts
  • Posting content in online discussions and groups related to their industry in hopes attract networkers
  • Searching for candidates who are people already employed elsewhere (the grass is always greener as they say). This last method of social media use is on the darker side of things, luring away gainfully employed individuals is a cut throat tactic but not really surprising, most companies still have not created formal policy for the usage of social media in the job search.
There are other reasons for the usage of social media in their talent search beyond attracting talent and screening potential employees. Posting jobs on traditional job boards are typically far more expensive compared to posting social media. Not only can using social media in their employee search help to increase the recognition of their brand, social media usage is relatively a low cost endeavor, cheaper than purchasing advertising for getting their name out there. Social media also allows them to target individuals in certain geographic regions and to seek out people with niche skill sets, which traditional job boards cannot do. But wait there’s more, by congratulating employees online for hard work and achievements as well as promoting their work in the community, a company can promote their positive work environment, which is sure to attract savvy job seeking networkers who are targeting their next employer.
You may also consider the ubiquitous cell phone, everybody has one (try to think of how many people you know that doesn’t) social media excels on this platform; their apps make it easy for job seekers and employers to access info on each other.


Old fashion cold calling and face to face networking from job seekers along with referrals by their own employees are still the top ways companies are finding people. The usage of job boards and recruiting (head-hunter) companies will always have their place in the hiring game but the social media secret is out and companies are slowly becoming wise to the power it wields. From finding quality candidates and screening the right talent to shaping their brand and the perception of their corporate culture, the future of social media usage in the labour market is becoming more essential every day. Jump on the wagon and get yourself out there, you never know what company you will cross paths with.
Kier McGerrigle

Author: The NetWorkIt Team

The NetWorkIt Team is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. We work to create content and tools to help you succeed in your career.