The Future of Recruiting: Social Media and You

Future of recruiting

Here is the plot. LinkedIn conducted its last global survey on recruiting trends in 2013 and it came up with the five most important trends shaping the future of recruiting. If you would be a career person in the next 10-20 years, then this should be important to you.

Hiring managers and recruiters would also be interested in this, so that they can be more successful at attracting, hiring and retaining top talent. Human resources departments seeking to get more buck for their hiring investments would also find this an invaluable treatise.

From LinkedIn’s survey, the trends shaping the form and function of recruiting are:

1) Social professional networks are increasingly impacting quality of hire;

2) Employer branding is both a competitive threat and a competitive advantage;

3) Data is being used to make better hiring and branding decisions;

4) Companies are investing in hiring internally to stop top talent from walking out the door; and

5) Companies are figuring out the mobile recruiting terrain.


Wisdom Moderates Efforts and Results

Where and how to direct ones efforts are questions, whose answers have separated the mildly successful from the immensely successful. I recall this story on a lighter but related note. Some years ago I was elated when I got a couriered letter inviting me for an interview. I mean this was an invitation for an NYSC job, meaning I was fresh off the bakery (fresh from school). I felt important.

A whole organisation would even bother to consider me enough to pay a courier to deliver to my contact address. Which by the way wasn’t where I lived, it was my Uncle’s place – it was easier to locate. With limited mobile phones and very limited internet/emails, having a “locatable” contact address was a required competence then.

Bourdillon-Ikoyi being easier for the courier man than Ajangbadi-somewhere. In today’s world a functional and active email is the one of the first requirements. As we settled into emails, in came what we now know as social media. So what about 5-15 years from now? In what proactive ways can individuals . . . and organisations prepare themselves . . . as things change further?

Leverage Social Professional Networks

Back to the results of the LinkedIn survey. Top on their findings is that: Social professional networks are increasingly impacting quality of hire. Did you notice something odd here? Only in this times is ‘social’ and ‘professional’ placed side by side!

Some years ago, if it was social then it couldn’t be professional. These are the days of socialising professionals and professionalising socials. Within that fact is the finding that Social professional networks are the fastest-growing source of quality hires.

The most important places to find quality hires are:

a) Internet job boards;

b) Social professional networks;

c) Recruitment agencies;

d) Employee referral programs;

e) Internal hires and Company career website…in that same order.

Of all of them only Social professional networks has increased by up to two digits in the last one year, an increase of 11% – going from 26% to 37%. Jobvite’s sixth survey on social media (Social Media Recruiting 2013) shows the steady increase in the use of social media for recruiting from 28% in 2008 to 94% in 2013.

What recruiters’ most popular social media areas found out by Jobvite? The winners are: LinkedIn 94%, Facebook 65%, Twitter 55%, Company Blog 20%, Google+ 18%, and Youtube 15%. Asides these major ones, recruiters also use a multitude of specialized, localized and up-and-coming social networks such as Instagram, Github, Xing, Vimeo, Pinterest, Stackoverflow, Yammer, Welbo etc (ref. Jobvite).

Top 10 most important places to find quality hires, are: 
SOURCES OF QUALITY HIRES 2011 2012 2013 Increase (+)
Decrease (-)
Internet job boards 36% 39% 38% -1%
Social professional networks 20% 26% 37% +11%
Recruitment agencies 41% 36% 35% -1%
Employee referral programs 35% 31% 35% +4%
Internal hires 32% 32% 34% +2%
Company career website 28% 31% 30% -1%
Internet resume databases 14% 13% 16% +3%
Company ATS/internal candidate database 12% 12% 13% +1%
College recruiting programs 12% 10% 11% +1%
General career fairs 4% 4% 5% +1%
Top 10 long-lasting trends 2013
Utilizing social and professional networks 39%
Upgrading employer branding 33%
Finding better ways to source passive candidates 27%
Being a strategic talent advisor to the business 22%
Boosting referral programs 21%
Training recruiters and hiring managers on ‘how to hire A-level talent’ 16%
Optimizing your career site 15%
Recruiting globally 14%
Reducing spend on staffing firms 12%
Increasing focus on internal hiring/transfers 12%

LinkedIn and the Others

Jobvite’s report presented a lot of details such as: “top recruiters use social networks at each stage of the recruiting funnel. LinkedIn dominates all stages of the funnel. Facebook and Twitter show strength in both top-of-the-funnel activities like generating employee brand awareness and bottom-of-the funnel activities like vetting candidates pre- and post-interviews.[Just to help recall, top-of-the-funnel is the widest part of the funnel, while bottom-of-the-funnel is the smallest part].

• LinkedIn – By overwhelming percentages the survey takers said they use LinkedIn to:Search for candidates (96%), Contact candidates (94%), Keep tabs on potential candidates (93%), Vet candidates pre-interview (92%), and Post jobs(91%).

• Facebook – Showcaseemployer brand (65%), Generate employee referrals (51%), Post Jobs (48%), Vet candidates post-interview (35%), and Vet candidates pre-interview (31%).

• Twitter – Showcase employer brand (47%), Post Jobs (43%), Generate employee referrals (31%), Contact candidates (19%), and Vet candidates’ post-interview (18%)”

The Professional and Social You

Did you know that 93% of recruiters are likely to look at a candidate’s social profile? 42% have reconsidered a candidate based on content viewed in a social profile, leading to both positive and negative re-assessments.More recruiters react negatively to profanity (65%) and grammar and punctuation errors in posts/tweets (61%) than references to alcohol use (47%). The respondents were asked, “How would you react to these possible items discovered by reviewing a candidate’s social network profile?”

References to doing illegal drugs 1% 7% 83%
Posts/tweets of a sexual nature 1% 16% 71%
Profanity in posts/tweets 4% 20% 65%
Spelling/grammar errors in


3% 29% 61%
References to guns 1% 31% 51%
Pictures of consumption of alcohol 1% 39% 47%
Volunteering/donations to charity 65% 26% 1%
Political posts/tweets 2% 65% 18%
Overtly religious posts/tweets 2% 55% 28%

Recruiting is Marketing, Getting Hired is Marketing

Jobvite’ Social Media survey report posits that;

“Year after year, we’ve demonstrated that social recruiting is becoming a must for companies looking to hire top talent. This year, with responses from over 1,600 participants, our results clearly show that it’s no longer a question of whether an organization is recruiting through social media—it’s about how they are leveraging social tools to achieve the biggest benefits. And this is not just a high-tech phenomenon anymore. With participants providing input from more than 50 different industries, we can see how social recruiting is now a universal hiring practice.”

The report continues, “One of the things most interesting about our 2013 report is that it offers concrete proof that recruiting is essentially becoming marketing, and as a direct result, companies are seeing tremendous new value potential.Social networks enable recruiters to take a highly efficient, multi-channel approach to hiring, in much the same way as marketers target customers. Through viewing candidates’ social profiles and engaging with and nurturing candidates, social media enables recruiters to better understand candidates—and appeal to them—on an individual level.

At the same time, by building and maintaining company pages that reflect corporate culture, businesses can more effectively communicate and evangelize their employment brand—a technique that helps build interest even among candidates not currently seeking new employment. Of course, marketers do this all the time to build new business. Now recruiters are catching on—and succeeding.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Social Media Hiring is for Real

If you think this is all about saving money, think again. While some companies state in their results that social recruiting has helped to lower hiring costs, others believe the real advantage is in finding more qualified jobseekers, or upping their ability to attract passive candidates. These benefits have substantial, bottom-line value to companies, and we now have definitive dollar signs to prove it.

Other interesting results to note in the LinkedIn and Jobvite Social Media reports:

1) Social media also empowers employees to more easily refer high-quality candidates, with referrals representing the highest quality source of candidates at 64%.

2) Candidates best watch what they put on their social profiles, as an overwhelming majority of recruiters form negative opinions from posts flaunting drugs, alcohol, and profanity—and 42% of recruiters have apparently reconsidered an applicant (either positively or negatively) based on what a social profile revealed. This discussion isn’t over yet.