Should You Use Social Media to Find Candidates? Pros and Cons

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Let’s face it: the world is a different place than it was ten years ago, including when it comes to hiring. The age of social media has changed many aspects of hiring in recent history—everything from recruiting to screening. But is social media really an effective way to find candidates for your open position?
 
We’ve found that there are several pros and cons to using social media in this way. Here’s why social media could be a great way for you to find candidates…and why you might want to avoid it.
 

Pros

 
Cast a wider net. When it comes to recruiting, social media is possibly the best and easiest way to get your job ad in front of as many eyes as possible. All you need is a couple well-worded sentences and a link to the full job ad, and you’re done. By promoting on various social channels, you’ll get the word out quickly and effectively to a pretty large audience. Not only that, but you might attract the attention of a candidate who wasn’t even looking for a job, but is interested in yours.
 
Find targeted audiences. The use of social networks also allows you to put your job ad in front of targeted audiences—ones that are more likely to produce a result. This is especially true for platforms like LinkedIn, which offers recruiting features that can help you find candidates that meet your needs.
 
Leverage the networks of current employees. If your current employees share the job ad on their own social media pages, you’ll reach the people in their networks as well. This could be a huge benefit, as an employee you already trust could vouch for someone you don’t yet know.
 
Get an idea of a candidate’s personality, right from the start. One of the most useful things about social media for hiring is that it gives you a glimpse into the candidate herself, rather than just her qualifications and work experience. While it may not be fair to judge a candidate by what he/she does on the weekends, the things they post and share can give you a look at his/her attitudes and personalities, which matter a lot when you’re trying to hire a culture fit.
 

Cons

 
Not getting the whole picture. Social media is useful for hiring in many ways, but one thing it cannot do is give you the whole picture of a candidate. It wouldn’t be fair or reasonable to hire someone based on the content of one of their social media pages. So if you are going to use social media for hiring, make sure to use it as one data point out of many, rather than as the key factor in your decision.
 
Experiencing candidate overwhelm. While social media does allow you to reach many people, and while certain platforms do put you in front of a targeted audience, the large reach of your job ad could result in too many applicants. If your ad itself is not focused and clear, you might end up having to sift through a large number of candidates, some of whom may not even be qualified for the position. In short, hiring through social media could be a waste of your time and energy.
 
Facing legal repercussions. As social media is still fairly new, there are few regulations about how it can be used for hiring. That said, all of the other rules of hiring apply to social media as well. Once your company has viewed a candidate’s social media page, you know a lot of things about that person—including race, gender, age, political affiliation, or even sexual orientation. If you end up not hiring this person, or something goes awry during the hiring process, you’ll be responsible for knowing that information, and accusations of discrimination may arise. This doesn’t mean that social media shouldn’t be used, it just means that you should be careful with it!
 
There are clearly pros and cons when it comes to using social media for hiring. If you are unsure about how to leverage social media as a useful tool instead of taking it on as a possible liability, try talking to a professional staffing agency. Agencies like EDI Staffing have experience and knowledge about all aspects of hiring, including finding candidates through social media, and we’d be happy to help you find the perfect candidate for your position. Give us a call today!

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