How to Leverage Social Media in Recruiting and Hiring

I was talking to a businessman the other day who said, “I hate social media. I just don’t see how it can help a business.” While I have sympathy and patience for people in general, I just wonder at this point if it’s even worth the effort of trying to convince someone of the power of social media in many areas of our life. Maybe this is dramatic, but it seems that trying to convince a businessperson on the importance of your online presence is like trying to convince them as to why the human body needs water. Ok, I know, dramatic, but you catch my drift.

You don’t have to have a massive following to understand the opportunity social media gives you to communicate with the audience you want to reach. A business’ online presence is the new “front door”, and how people perceive it, will determine if they walk-in or not. While social media can be used for many functions within a company, I want to focus on how it can be used by HR in the recruiting and hiring process.

Let’s consider how HR personnel can leverage social media in the recruiting and hiring process:

  • 70% of employees believe technology improves work-life balance (Adobe)
  • 36% of employees say they would leave for a job with a more “digitally progressive” employer  (Sungard)
  • Recruiting via social media is growing with 84% of organizations using it currently and 9% planning to use it. (SHRM)

  • Recruiting passive job candidates (82%) continues to be the top reason that organizations use social media for recruitment. (SHRM)

Perception is Reality

In today’s world, your company’s technological prowess is an important perception to consider in regards to your candidates and potential new hires. 92% of employees say that having the technology to do their job efficiently affects their work satisfaction (Ultimate Software). While this stat refers to tools within the workplace, the majority of today’s candidates (especially those under the age of 45) are going to review your social presence and website. In fact, according to Glassdoor, 69% are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand. When an employer responds to reviews, updates their profiles, and shares updates, candidates take notice.

Building Brand Awareness

While this seems like a no brainer, it actually serves as one of the more difficult understandings for companies. As we’ve learned, building brand awareness is not just letting people know what you do. True brand awareness conveys your values, what’s important to you, and the principles by which you operate. There is a saying that “people don’t want to know ‘what’, they want to know ‘why’.” True brand awareness includes both of the “what” and the “why.” One thing we’ve worked on in our own social media is to be both a conduit of information that provides value to our audience, as well as an originator of content that provides solutions. If your online presence is just about selling, you’re likely going to miss out on the opportunity to engage an audience and win over needed trust that leads to brand sustainability.

This equation translates to the hiring arena. If your online conversation is a one-way megaphone, it’s likely that your internal communications are the same way. Today’s workforce wants to play an active role in finding solutions and leading innovation. They don’t just want to be the people to whom you give orders. Be willing to show what’s important to your company. Share your values, your culture, your solutions, and potential new hires will love the ability to connect with the things that define you as an organization.

Follow Me

While it’s a slippery slope, social media accounts of perspective new employees are fair game for review by hiring personnel. While compliance regulations remain intact in the hiring process, specific to reasons someone may or may not be hired due to social media activity, seeing what a potential candidate is about in their everyday life can provide helpful insight into what inspires, motivates, or is important to them. From a candidate standpoint, whether you realize it or not, you are conveying your “brand” as well, even on personal social platforms, just like a company does. But there is no denying that insight into the life of someone you’re considering for a position can be gained by reviewing their social presence.

Let’s Get Practical

In a real practical example, have you seen that you can now post job openings on Facebook? While LinkedIn remains a great platform for recruiting, Facebook is now entering the game. It seems like a difficult opportunity to pass on when you consider that more than ONE BILLION people are active on the social platform. In a world where qualified talent is hard to find, Facebook may be opening the door to more possibilities just by nature of the number of people you can access. Use Twitter’s massive search engine to find people who are talking about the things that are important to your brand. Blogging provides a great way to ad value to your audience, along with sharing your company values. There are numerous ways to convey your brand story on platforms that make sense for your business or brand.


We’ve learned that it takes time to build a brand, to build trust, and to build recognition. Those things don’t happen overnight. However, we’ve also seen where the lack of care in building all those things can hurt you in an instant. An organization that doesn’t leverage their social presence to further their cause, or simply doesn’t take advantage of the opportunity to communicate on a broader scale, can find it detrimental to their efforts in recruiting and hiring, as well as connecting with their desired audience.

While the online world is an always-changing landscape with lots to continually learn, hopefully we can all leverage the tools we’ve been given to make a difference!