Social media could be a standard recruiting tool for U.S. companies as a majority of hiring managers report they currently use it to source, research and screen applicants.
This is according to a recent survey from The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.
Roughly 2 in 5 U.S. hiring managers (41%) feel social media sites are among the best places to source candidates, and 7 in 10 companies (70%) report they utilize them to research potential job candidates. However, only 17% research every candidate this way.
For those who use social media sites to research applicants, a majority (80%) do so directly (i.e., their company or someone at their company actively researches job candidates across social media sites, as opposed to utilizing a third-party service to do the research).
Some companies also rely on social media as a way to screen their applicants. Three in five (60%) say employers should screen all applicants’ social media profiles. Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) also believe looking at candidates’ social media profiles is effective.
Interestingly, job seekers appear concerned about how social media impacts their hiring prospects. A recent study of job seekers revealed that two-thirds (66%) feel a candidate’s social media profile(s) should not influence the candidate’s likelihood of being hired.
It may be reassuring for job seekers to know that around half of U.S. hiring managers (51%) report they have never found content on a social media site that caused them not to hire a candidate.
Despite companies’ use of social media, not all applicants may have it and use it. Luckily for these applicants, a majority of hiring managers (86%) report they are likely to consider a candidate who does not have an online presence.
“Social media has become a huge source for our recruiting efforts,” said Nancy Reed, an Express franchise owner in Texas. “Communicating with candidates via social media is more personal, and the relationship is stronger from the beginning instead of responding to an online job board.
“We create daily postings for Facebook to interact with followers and create relationships, so it’s amazing to see the added benefit of retention. On the other hand, LinkedIn is a great way to connect with other professionals and grow your network. We’ve had success with candidates responding to a LinkedIn post and even direct messages leading to new business.”
In Georgia, Express office manager Elizabeth Mobley says while her office has a large online presence, she views social media as more beneficial for brand recognition as opposed to a consistent recruiting tool.
“We have the most luck with sourcing more advanced candidates on social media such as administrative roles and skilled trades positions,” she said.
To fill internal positions at her Express office, Mobley says her staff utilizes a social media screening process but forgoes that for entry-level candidates requested by clients.
“We value our reputation and expect high standards from our internal employees,” she added. “This is reviewed in our initial interview, as well as our first week of onboarding. However, we do have several ‘mom-and-pop-type’ companies that will research social media before making a permanent hiring decision.”
When reviewing internal candidates’ online accounts, Mobley says she looks for any content that would be a disservice to the culture of our company—putting others down, vulgar content, excessive offensive language, etc.
“We had a client end someone’s assignment because they posted a picture with alcohol and used a caption that was racist in nature,” she said.
Nowadays, it’s uncommon for job seekers to lack any social media presence, but Reed says while it’s odd to not have a digital footprint, employers seem to respect the decision.
“What a candidate posts does affect the perception of their character, values and morals to the outside world,” she said. “They do need to be concerned with the content of social media posts because it stays online forever, and employers will find it.”
Despite the potential pitfalls, a professional digital presence can aid employees’ careers if curated in the right way.
“Since hiring managers say they are using social media to source candidates, job seekers should make social media profiles ones that highlight expertise and experience to stand out from the competition,” Express Employment International CEO Bill Stoller said. “It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking personal and private lives should be separate, but this survey shows employers might not feel the same way.”
The Job Insights survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals between Dec. 1 and Dec. 15, 2022, among 1,002 U.S. hiring decision-makers (defined as adults ages 18+ in the U.S. who are employed full-time or self-employed, work at companies with more than one employee, and have full/significant involvement in hiring decisions at their company). Data were weighted where necessary by company size to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in our surveys. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 3.2 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. This credible interval will be wider among subsets of the surveyed population of interest.
The omnibus survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals from Dec. 13-15, 2022, among 2,041 adults ages 18 and older. Data are weighted where necessary by age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, education, marital status, household size, household income and propensity to be online, to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in our surveys. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level.
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