Shining the spotlight on social recruiting

We all know how important social networking is in our lives today. However, you may not have thought of the importance of social networking for another purpose – recruitment. In one of my previous posts I talked about LinkedIn and how it can be used as a good way to make yourself stand out among the many other candidates for a specific job. However, in this post I would like to talk about the recruiter perspective instead. Is leveraging on social networking sites an effective way to employ the best candidates for the job? Read on to find out more.


Tim Giehll, a staffing industry veteran, presented some arguments about how Facebook can prove to be a useful tool for recruiters. He pointed out that Facebook can be used as a referral network. I have a personal example to illustrate this point. My ex-boss was looking for some part-timers to help her with some administrative work, and she requested for my help, to post a Facebook status update requesting for interested people to apply for the position. She received a few applications within that same day, and hired them after looking through their resumes. She was really pleased at how quick and easy the entire process was. This was probably because my social network of friends were exactly the kind of people she was looking for- students who are looking for part-time work and who do not expect too high a salary. And since my friends saw that it was a post from me and not from an obscure website, they felt that it was a trustworthy job offer too. This example very clearly sums up how recruiters can leverage on social networks to reach out to certain demographics of people and become more targeted in their searches.

Another argument that Tim presented was the usage of Facebook as a “fishing pole”. You may not know this, but Facebook has an application called ‘Work For Us’, which companies can use to make their job postings visible on Facebook. Candidates can apply for the job even without leaving Facebook’s main site, making it a notch more convenient than having to email the company directly. It is a relatively low-cost method too, with plans ranging from completely free to $799/month.


I also found an article by Barry Deutsch, an award-winning international speaker and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, pointing out other benefits of recruiting using social networks: that it’s a low-cost solution which is simple to implement and even provides marketing benefits for the company by getting your brand image out there and making it more well-known among future high-potential candidates.


As we know, there is a flip side to every coin. With the above perks, social network recruiting is not without its risks. As mentioned by Omowale Casselle, co-founder of   social recruiting community mySenSay, one potential risk is that of anti-social behavior exhibited by other competitors or even disgruntled candidates who were rejected for a job in that company. The immediacy and viral effect of social media can prove to be detrimental if these defamers try to hijack your company’s social presence and highlight perceived flaws of your organization, thereby tarnishing your firm’s reputation. This can deter other high-potential candidates from applying for the jobs and can be damaging to the company in the long run.

Hannah Stratford also argued that social network recruiting may lead recruiters to an “old boys and girls’ club” approach, where people land jobs via their social network simply because of who they know. Like the saying goes, ‘it’s not what you know but who you know that matters’. Sites like LinkedIn are a great platform for networking, but when recruiters look for candidates using their own social networks as starting points, this may mean that their reach is smaller. Those who are not as digitally aware or have lesser presence on social networks may be weeded out in such a situation, even though they are possibly better qualified or more suitable for the job.

Theresa highlighted another possible downside of using social media to recruit job candidates- that there is too much of a reach. Posting on social networking sites increases the company’s visibility to people who are not actively on the lookout for jobs. This may lead to more people applying for the jobs when they are only mildly interested. In contrast, posting on internet job search sites helps recruiters be more certain that those who apply are actively searching for employment.

Now that I’ve identified some pros and cons of social recruiting, I do not deny that it will be an up-and-coming method among recruiters, and should be complemented with traditional hiring approaches. If managed properly, the risks mentioned above can be avoided to achieve an efficient recruitment strategy for the company.

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One Response to Shining the spotlight on social recruiting

  1. Nadja K. says:

    Hey Irisng13,

    I liked reading you article very much since it is covering something we are currently dealing with – applying for an internship! I am certain that your approach of first offering pros and then analyzing the cons was really convincing and quite helpful in understanding your point of view. There are of course high risks, especially the “old boys and girls’ club” approach or as we would say in german “vitamin B” is all you need to have. It is so natural that recruiters rather fill a vacant job position with people they know or other do know rather than giving it to a complete stranger. It also true, that job hunting should not necessarily ask for membership on a social website. I completely agree with your statement of asking for an efficient recruitment strategy – even though social networking (in our case recruitment) seems to be easy, it should be applied consciously!

    Since I am a member of Facebook I have to admit that I immediately went to the “Work for us” page. I really want to explore it further as I am looking for international job offers. Other than that, I immediately remembered having heard of XING, a german equivalent to LinkedIn. As I was looking for some blog posts stating the differences between both, I found this article by Felix Wetzel. In the section Social Media Recruitment he is evaluating the success of XING in Germany and is also prospecting a change in usage as LinkedIn has launched a german profile itself. We will so how development will look like in near future.

    Other than that, I thank you for this insight! Nadja

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