Using Social Media as a recruitment tool

Personally, before doing some research on this topic I have always thought that some companies could use social media platforms as a tool for their hiring process but I never imagined that as many as 95% of companies are using Linkedin, Facebook and other resources like these to find new employees (Calvasina, G. E., Calvasina, R. V., & Calvasina, E. J. (2014). Social Media and Human Resource Staffing: Legal, Policy and Practice Issues for Employers. Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues). That is a big number, right? For this post, I wanted to learn a little bit more about this practice and its legal consequences for both, the employer and the applicants.


First, let’s talk about the good stuff. According to Vicknair, Yancey & Budden, one advantage of the usage of social networking platforms in hiring processes is that additional information like for example photograph good skills, cooking, sport’s abilities or arts can be demonstrated by a candidate in their social media accounts, competencies that cannot be easily tested in regular recruitment modes (The use of social networking websites as a recruiting tool for employers. American Journal of Business Education). Another good thing about it could be the comments and posts friends put on the applicant’s shared contents, which can be used as a way of good referencing. Third, for the employer, the usage of these tools is a way of saving money and time. As cited in the Calvansina’s paper I talked about before, a article reported that Microsoft saved $88,000 in recruitment fees using Linkedin, sounds pretty good right?

As always happens, not everything can be that nice and shiny, it is important also to take into account some legal and ethical issues that can come up when using social media in hiring new staff. The main hazard factor for companies that use this way of screening in their recruitment processes is related with that any information regarding an individual’s sex orientation, race, religion, national origin, age or marital status, is considered to be unlawful to use in employment decisions. That is why only the possibility of companies accessing this information can create an issue associated with discrimination practices. A more ethical issue is that through public profiles, companies’ recruitment staff have access to any sensitive information that might be a not job or professionally related but can in some way influence the employer’s perception of a candidate. Additionally, according to Hazelton & Terhorst article (Legal and Ethical Considerations for Social Media Hiring Practices in the Workplace. The Hilltop Review), current employees can considerate searching candidates’ background online as fear arising from their workplace by having the possibility of also searching for their information.

Finally, I also looked for some examples of companies that are doing a good job using social networking platforms in their hiring processes. Disney, for example, uses its Twitter account to remind aspirants that they can follow their dreams while working for the company and to let them know how is like working there. By focusing on potential employees’ aspirations companies can create a social media value proposition hard to resist to.


This is a pretty deep topic where there is a lot still to discuss but I did not want to get boring with too much information, this is just a way of briefly covering some important points about it. I hope you enjoy the reading. Looking forward to reading your comments!




4 thoughts on “Using Social Media as a recruitment tool

  1. Hi Estefania,

    Thank you for your blog this week, I think the role of social networking in recruitment is something that is very important for so many members of our class who are looking to find work or advance their career. I must say that up until recently I was of the popular opinion that “I’m on there but I have no idea what to use it for.” Or: “I don’t see the point of joining — my colleagues know me, my work and my email address. I don’t need to connect with them on LinkedIn.” (

    But I have been reading up on the platform this year and have made a concerted effort to improve my profile and get more active on the site. A couple of factors that got me over the line were that (according to the Pew Research Center) “LinkedIn usage is especially high among the educated (bachelor’s degree holders and up), and high earners (those making $75,000 a year or more).” I also think it’s important that LinkedIn is the 3rd most popular social networking platform behind Facebook & Twitter (so above Instagram!) and is the only social networking platform which is more popular with 50-64 year olds than 18-29 year olds – ie, people more likely to be in a position to hire!

    So much as it is a little daunting to put your professional self out there, I think that is where employers are looking for (or at least double-checking) candidates and you’ve gotta be in it to win it 😉


  2. Hi Estefania,

    I also have a deep interest into this topic. As part of brand me assignment, I have gone through several articles and online blogs regarding social media & recruitment and found out interesting figure as you mentioned. At least 80% of companies use online social media profiling in selection of the most suitable candidates. Interestingly, profiled candidates are twice as likely to be unsuccessful due to inappropriate pictures, comments, etc. ( the-boundary-of-our-public-and-private-lives-64300)

    These findings and your post just remind me of the importance of the right personal branding on social media. Social media can definitely help us to find a better job or enhance employability. Similarly, it can also hinder our success in striving for a job if we careless use it.

    Nevertheless, I believe that one simple way to ensure we can benefit from social media is to set privacy for all those platforms that you want to keep it private. Let public and employer see only what we intent to present and brand ourselves.



  3. Hi Estefania

    Great article. This is something that interests me -as finding the right candidate for a role can be a challenge. The role of a traditional interview has been questioned many times – as an interview does not give an insight into long-term performance. Can you predict the success of a candidate from a 3o minute to 1 hour interview? I do believe this is where social media can play a part in the hiring process. The Brand Me assignment has definitely opened my eyes to the importance of personal branding and what potential employers look for in an ideal candidate. Using LinkedIn as an example – potential employers can view a candidates networks, how active they are in posting about trends, topics relevant to the industry and even their response rates to posts etc. Potential employers can also identify typos and grammatical errors in a LinkedIn profile.
    This article was interesting!

    Great topic – and I think social media definitely has a space in the hiring process.



  4. Hey Estefania!

    I really liked this topic since my parents always told me to mind what I put on my Facebook page, but they never gave me proper evidences. I actually didn’t expect that much people hired based on their social networks. My personal believe is that Facebook is personal, and LinkedIn is professional. I decided to improve my visibility on LinkedIn and to completely lock my Facebook profile. As you mention in your post, if it is used in a positive perspective, it is definitely a leverage we must use for our future career (and I wish I did the Brand Me now). But as you say it can be a threat. I ask myself a question though, how about people who are not on social networks? Are those disadvantaged compared to the others?

    Thank you again for you post! I really enjoyed it



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s