How To Use Social Media As A Recruitment Tool

Sukhdeep Aurora, Chief People Officer – ANAROCK Property Consultants

With the work environment changing at the speed of a social media update, it is relevant to look at how firms are now moving from conventional modes of recruitment.

In fact, many firms now integrate social media platforms into their hiring strategies. This is inevitable and essential in the Digital Age where candidates are also actively leveraging social media platforms to seek newer and better work opportunities.

Linked Into The New Recruitment Wave

With the advent of LinkedIn and especially the very nifty LinkedIn Jobs interface, it is now just a matter of few search strings for an organization’s HR team to be able to compile a list of potential candidates for open positions.

Many firms are now choosing to advertise their openings through this platform and actively encourage applicants to apply through this platform. Candidates and potential job seekers/hoppers who are wired into the social media circuit are very active on LinkedIn.

The mantra is simple – the platform provides a ready list of appropriate job seekers and job providers and creates a considerable saturation of synergies. It obviously also offers admirably efficient resource utilization in the hiring process.

Swiss Army Knife Utility  

Social media wields great power today. From opinion sharing and opinion making to being the most convincing evidence of the technology-savviness of firms and individuals, the possibilities it offers are ‘virtually’ endless.

Just as in-person exploratory meetings do, social media provides valuable insights into to the mind of an individual through his or her online activity trail.

Of course, this medium is also subject to abuse – behind the smokescreen of ‘anonymous’ digital persona, trolling has become a scourge unleashed by an entirely different set of users. However, such individuals are often not aware that their anonymity is far from impregnable for technically adept HR personnel.

It goes without saying that negative impressions which can be gleaned from a person’s malicious use of social media are as important – if not more important – to identifying and eliminating candidates. No firm will hire a candidate who is given to online bullying, heckling, intoxicated posting and so forth.

Every click we make, every update we share, creates a unique digital footprint. Trawling social media websites, sharing opinions and reacting to social media news amounts to the creation of a social media-driven bio which aptly complements a work experience resume.

Is Social Media The Next Big Thing In Recruiting?

The above observations indicate that using social media saves HR teams a lot of time and effort in creating an appropriate shortlist of candidates. The responses of candidates can be used to create filters related to resume building, language and relevant experience using keyword search.

While running background checks on potential candidates, their social media footprint allow a recruiter to judge soft skills such as interpersonal relationship handling, compartmentalizing social media participation in terms of frequency (rational use or addictive over-use?) and type (supportive and inclusive or biased and abusive?).

Recruiters can make a fair estimate of an individual’s prejudices, personal opinions, character traits, language skills, overall temperament and language skills from their online interactions.

Not A Panacea, But A Useful Adjunct Tool

Social media is a powerful tool in a tech-savvy organization’s hiring strategy – certainly technologically wired-in organizations like ANAROCK Property Consultants use social media and various other Internet-based tools extensively for finding, evaluating and short-listing potential candidates.

However, such tools cannot entirely replace conventional methods. As a tool for recruitment, social media also has varied impacts at different stages of the hiring process – as such, there is no one-size-fits-all approach or one-time process that can yield a standard template.

Social media is still very much on an evolutionary route (in fact, some schools of thought state that social media platforms will vanish altogether in a matter of a few years). Nevertheless, it currently a very useful adjunct to the recruitment process of companies that know how to leverage it correctly for this purpose.

If your company’s HR team wishes to make social media a part of their identification, shortlisting and selection strategy, here are some points to keep in mind:

7 Tips On Using Social Media For Recruitment:

  1. Use social media to create an effective shortlisting mechanism BUT do not let it be the definitive tool. Virtually created perceptions are a double-edged sword. Keep them on the margins of your shortlist and within the overall scheme of things for further consideration.
  2. Use a candidate’s work experience and exposure as the first level of sifting through multiple resumes. Utilize their social media proclivities to screen out individuals who will probably not fit into the fabric of the firm or align with its ethics and culture.
  3. Do not allow prejudices based on notions created through social media posts to creep into hiring decisions. Many individuals use social media to create a certain image of themselves which will usually not stand up to first-hand scrutiny. In other words, a person posing as a rebel online may, in fact, be a very cooperative team worker offline. Impressions gleaned from social media activity must always be subtly examined first-hand.
  4. While social media posts may be a very useful adjunct to the background check, keep in mind that not everything posted on social media tagging the candidate is within his or her control. Allow for suitable clarifications from the candidate, and use personal interviews as the best forum to voice your concerns or seek answers from the candidate on his or her social media activities.
  5. Use social media to ask candidates to respond in unique ways through short cover letters or answer pointed questions. These inputs can indicate their seriousness to the job opening and also give an insight into their individual psyche.
  6. Social media platforms in the current context of high usage and time spent on them can serve as very effective tools to psychologically evaluate a candidate. Too often this aspect is ignored in India; it is high time we imbibe global standards for basic psych evaluations of individual being considered for hiring.
  7. For a firm which uses social media extensively, it is also essential for it to have a clearly-defined HR and legal policy on social media usage in place. The firm must be balanced and clear-headed on the subject of social media usage. The social media policy should not be restrictive but rather an enabler for creative and positive use of such platforms by employees. This will also help in attracting the right kind of tech-savvy talent through the online medium.

To conclude…

While social media is a great addition to the overall recruitment and hiring process, face-to-face interviews with prospective employees remain an essential element.

Even the best recruiters are still human, and therefore subject to human errors of prejudices, preconceived notions and errors of judgment based on social media interactions of prospective employees.

Just like social media, personal interviews offer a unique perspective to a recruiter, and much can be gleaned by using them both in tandem – definitely, much more than what reflects on a job portal or a resume in terms of work history, abilities and overall potential.

Regardless of whether these platforms will survive over the long-term, social media will probably gain a lot more relevance in the hiring process in the near future. For now, however, its usefulness is primarily in the form of the additional assistance it provides in refining and improving the efficiency of the conventional hiring process.

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