4 min read

Is social media harming your hiring processes?

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With recent statistics stating that a huge 57.1 million people in the UK are social media users (as of January 2023), it’s safe to say that we are living in a digital age! Social media has become an extension of our personalities (whether you like it or not). We use it to connect with our friends and families, keep up to date with our favourite celebrities and even show our uninterested followers what we had for lunch. In addition to this, however, more and more organisations are utilising social media for recruitment purposes.

So, the big question is, can using social media within the hiring process be a game-changer, or will it just cause a headache? Let’s start with the positives:

Wider Reach

Social media isn’t all just cute photos of dogs and boomerangs of bottomless brunches; it’s also a great place for companies to post about job openings. Companies can showcase any new job opportunities on their social media platforms, which has the potential to reach a massive audience and, therefore, a larger talent pool of more diverse candidates. It can also be used to tap into the network of those more passive candidates who might not be actively looking for a role but could be an excellent fit for a particular opportunity.

Behind The Scenes Access

Whilst CVs can be a great way to showcase someone’s experience, qualifications and skill set, they don’t often offer much insight into the candidate’s personality and interests. Looking at their socials, however, should help shed light on what they are like as a person. That C-suite level Executive Assistant is also an avid cook and ultra-marathon runner with a huge vinyl collection; who knew?

Talent Attraction

If used correctly, employers can leverage social media platforms to showcase their company culture, workplace environment and values, which could enhance their brand and help attract top talent and, hopefully, candidates who would be a great cultural fit for the company.

Deeper Insights

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn can provide employers with information that wouldn’t necessarily be included on a candidate’s CV, such as their professional achievements, interests and connections. It could also help to gauge the candidate’s skills as they might highlight projects they have worked on or any endorsements they have received from current/previous colleagues, which offer a more well-rounded view of their capabilities and fit for the role.

Whilst there are some benefits of using social media within a hiring process, we must also be aware of the downsides!

Invasion Of Privacy

We often post personal photos/information on our social media platforms, not often considering prospective employers might snoop on them without us knowing. Social media (especially some platforms such as Facebook/Instagram) can feel like a personal diary of events and memories, so digging too deep might feel like an invasion of privacy.

Unconscious Bias or Discrimination

Unfortunately, this is one of the most significant downsides of using social media in hiring. Recruiters, hiring managers, etc, may unintentionally favour or discriminate against candidates based on several factors or characteristics such as ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation or other personal attributes. They may also discriminate against those not active on social media platforms!

Inaccurate Information or Imposters

Not everyone’s social media platforms accurately portray their life or achievements and can often be embellished. As such, relying on this information without it being verified can lead to hiring decisions based on falsified/inaccurate information, which can be costly to the organisation. In addition to this, although it is difficult to comprehend, more and more fake profiles are being created on social media platforms, think cat-fishing, but in the job world. With this in mind, spotting the real candidates from the made-up ones is not always easy!

So, to conclude, social media in hiring, do you or don’t you? Well, it's a bit of a rollercoaster. There are perks – a broader talent pool, personality insights, and potentially a better gauge of cultural fit. But there are also pitfalls to consider: privacy concerns, biases, and the tricky art of separating real from fake. Like any tool, it's all about balance, ensuring you use it wisely and as part of a broader hiring process.

Social media can be a great addition to your hiring process, but only if you carefully navigate the digital landscape.

Happy hiring!