Hiring: How to Use Social Media to Your Advantage

It's no secret: recruiting the best employees is a challenge. Using social media will help—but only if you use it correctly. Here are tips (like which site's the most effective) for doing just that

Post by Pat Eardley (right)

According to a 2011 study by the Pew Research Center, women use social media more than men. This would seem to give women business owners a bit of a leg up when it comes to using social media to recruit candidates, but that may not be the case.


The 2012 Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey showed that 93% of business owners who use social media for recruiting used the site LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the only social media site that is used by more men than women. In fact, the Pew Research study showed there were nearly twice as many men using LinkedIn as women.


Because business owners who use social media for recruiting report a 43% increase in the quality of candidates, women business owners may be missing the boat on some of the best available talent. Of course, you can also use Facebook and Twitter for recruiting, and women use these sites much more than men. Now is the time for women business owners to consider using social media as a recruiting tool.



Identify Candidates: Just as business owners are learning to use social media to recruit candidates, job seekers are using their LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook pages to seek work. Some of the best candidates aren’t actively looking for a job, but you can still reach out to them. By identifying these passive candidates, you will expand your pool and increase your chance of finding the best talent.


Post Open Jobs: Posting open jobs on social media sites is another way to use social media as a recruitment tool. Some of your followers will share the job posting with their own network, and greatly increase the number of potential candidates. Social media isn’t only effective for recruiting full-time employees. It is possible to effectively recruit a seasonal or part time employee using social media as well. You will reach college students, stay-at-home moms, and other groups who are looking for supplemental income.


Seek Help from Current Employees: Ask your current employees to aid in your recruitment efforts. One way that they can do this is by posting about their company and spreading the word through their own social network about any openings. Having a current employee vouch that your business is a great place to work can further increase the interest from qualified candidates. Consider offering your employers an incentive should their networking efforts result in a new hire.


Screen Candidates: Another way that you can use social media in the recruitment process is to screen candidates once they have been identified. A quick peek at their Facebook profile may be enough to knock some candidates out of the running. Keep in mind that when you look at the profiles of potential candidates, there is a good chance that you will see protected class information—meaning information that cannot legally be used to eliminate candidates. This includes race, gender, etc. Even if you do not use this information to make a decision, there is a chance that someone will say that you did.


Remeber that It Is Just a Tool: Social media is just one tool that can be used when seeking employees. It does not take the place of other methods of recruitment and it certainly does not eliminate the need for the proper screening of candidates. To be sure that you are following all applicable employment laws during the recruitment process, it is a good idea to have a helping hand. Working with a human resources consultant can ensure that you don’t put yourself in a position to come under scrutiny. A qualified HR consultant can make the recruitment process easier and give you a better chance at retaining quality employees.



Get on LinkedIn. If you do not use LinkedIn, you need to start. While the other social networking sites can aid in your recruitment efforts, LinkedIn is the only one that is specifically for business use.


Generate Followers. For any type of social media initiatives to be as effective, you need to continue to develop a following. The more followers you have, the more access you’ll have to qualified candidates. You should continually work on developing your social media presence.


Don’t Believe Everything You Read. It is no secret that many candidates embellish their resumes. The same is true for what you read on their social media profiles. Don’t believe everything that you read—you will need to verify important information.


Women in business who are not using social media as a recruitment aid may be missing out on some of the best talent. The next time you have a job opening to fill, or if you just want to develop a list of potential talent for future positions, social media is a great place to start.



Pat Eardley is a Human Resources Advisor with more than 16 years’ experience in human resources management as a recruiter, trainer, and executive. Pat has a diverse background, having industry experience in retail, telecommunications, hospitality and manufacturing. As an Advisor she supports small-business owners in managing growth, compliance, work performance and employee relations, allowing Small Business owners to focus on creating a successful business environment for them and their employees. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, a SCORE Mentor and Center for Women Job Coach. Pat volunteers with local shelters and nonprofit organizations and assists with resume writing, interviewing skills, professional appearance and job placement. You can find out more about Pat and the services she offers at www.pateardley.com.


First appeared in the Business Review section of The Post and Courier on Monday, July 31, 2012.