Looking to Hire? Fire up the Social Networks!

Careful, SMB owners, it seems social media isn’t just for chatting anymore. According to new research from the recruiting platform Jobvite, 73.3 percent of business owners say they have used social networking channels as a way of recruiting new hires. Even more impressive, 58 percent of those polled said they had actually hired a prospect they discovered through a social network. Newspaper classifieds and online job boards? Please. The times they are a’changin’.

Jobvite president and CEO Dan Finnigan said:

“While the economy begins to recover, companies looking to make new hires are seeking the most cost-effective, efficient ways to find new talent. Job boards launched a revolution in recruiting more than 15 years ago. And now, social networks are doing the same-but in a targeted way. Through social recruiting, companies are learning they can find the best talent efficiently, without making a major investment.”

For those companies participating in social media, using the networks to scout out and recruit new hires is a natural evolution. The relationships business owners can create with customers also extends toward business contacts. With people sharing their lives on these social networks, it makes it easy for recruiters or business owners to get a feel for a prospect. You can watch how they perform in social situations, how they handle conflict, see their hobbies and interests, get access to their work history, and much more. It’s the perfect head hunting tool for the modern era.

When it comes to the social network that converts the best, not surprisingly LinkedIn came out on top. Nearly 80 percent of companies said they used LinkedIn when recruiting new employees, with 90 percent of those who used it being successful finding and hiring a new employee. Facebook and Twitter were used 55 percent and 45 percent of the time, respectively, with 27.5 percent and 14.2 percent leading to hires.

If you want to use a social media net for hiring, where you should start?

  1. Search for potential job candidates using specific keyword searches: LinkedIn allows you to search profiles based on industry, company, language, company size, or other criteria. If you have a paid account, there are additional breakdowns like seniority level, years of experience, etc. On Twitter or Facebook you can search by company name, industry keywords, or combine your zip code with other job-related keywords.
  2. Monitor status updates of your contacts: One of the best features added to LinkedIn was the Twitter-like status update because it allowed contacts to share more about what they were doing in their business. Keeping tabs on these updates is a good way to find out who’s looking for a job, who started on a new project, etc.
  3. Build relationships with candidates: The same way you build relationships with customers, build relationships with candidates you think you may be interested in hiring. By establishing that level of trust and openness right out of the gate, you’ll help each other to learn more about one another and any opportunities to work together.
  4. Screen candidates: When someone is active on social networking sites, it gives you quite a bit of information to use about that prospect. For example, as I mentioned earlier, you can get a glimpse at how they handle conflict situations, how well they engaged people, how they handle customer service issues, the kind of things they’re passionate about, where they went to school, what their hobbies are, etc. Use this information to help you find someone who will be a match with your organization.  Befriend the social media background check.

How have you used social media to recruit new employees? Have you hired anyone you “met” on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook?


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

11 Reactions
  1. Martin Lindeskog

    This is very interesting news. I hope Dan Schawbel will sell plenty of more copies of his book, Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success, due to this new trend.

  2. Great post, Lisa.

    I hope that recent college grads are tuned in to this. It is another way for them to find great jobs..and they need to get on the ball, and on the major social networks, if they are not already.

    The Franchise King

  3. I’ve been contacted a few times by people who found me on LinkedIn. I find that my social media presence is a more up-to-date and accurate picture of my skills than my resume, so I prefer people find me there.

  4. There is an alternative to facebook coming this September. It’s called Something Cool Happened. You can go there now to view a preview video and to preregister. With this site you can interact with friends, create your own unique avatars, upload videos, pictures or stories of something cool that happened to you or someone else! It is going to be awesome! Check it out.

  5. This is an interesting shift in business mentality Lisa. Apart from the obvious fact of cost cutting, I think number 4 would be a big benefit to business. A standard resume and quick interview is hardly enough information to base an important decision on. Tracking someone via their social networks/interaction on the other hand gives you a bit of history.

    So many people were telling others that they should avoid those drunken images being placed on Facebook… seems like it has finally come to fruition.

  6. Just to add on, I was hired via my social media networks (more specifically, I was hired through my “I’m looking for a job” status updates).

    I believe in using it as my profiles on these sites portray the real me thus these information will be of use for companies to see if I’m a good fit to their job opportunities both culturally and technically.

  7. All true and interesting but standard resumes still are the passport to moving the job search forward. If a company finds you on facebook they most likely will still need your resume to process you as an applicant. That being said if you are in a job search mode, why not just put your resume up on Facebook? There are free services that help you write your resume and post it to Facebook for free. If you look on Facebook you can check them out. The one I found that seems to be the best is put out by LiveCareer.

  8. Without question, having a presence and an active brand are key. We are teaching college and university students how to effectively brand and market themselves through post-secondary school. When they are ready, they can very easily get their stories told before they graduate. Check out some samples at http://whyhire.me

    The clever ones start to draw a line between socializing with friends versus creating a professional, online presence 🙂

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  10. I’m going to sound like an old fuddy-duddy former HR professional (cause I am 🙂 ) but this is very dangerous advice, especially for small businesses that do not have a legal team. Since FB, LinkedIn profile contain photos, it could be argued that hiring decisions based on race, gender, age, etc — all those scary EEOC things — are made.

    While I don’t doubt SMB is using social networks for hiring, it doesn’t make the idea any more sound. Eventually, a lawsuit will be filed and some very good businesses will be wiped out from the crushing weight of defending themselves.

    I am not an HR lawyer, nor do I play one anywhere, but common sense indicates that if you do use SM for hiring/recruiting that you put a uniform, WRITTEN AND DOCUMENTED procedure in place that provides a defense of fairness and consistency. For example, you may want to contract out the pre-screening process to a third-party that scans for relevant information such as resume qualifications, geo-location, etc WITHOUT race, gender or age indicators. Then, treat a social media scan like you would a drug test, where each applicant knows they will be scanned and only administer with a job offer… it gets tricky.

    Talk to a lawyer BEFORE you use SM for recruiting. Nothing short of your business could be on the line.

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