background check social media

Social media is playing an ever-increasing role in the recruitment process. This is the major finding from the latest survey released by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The survey report entitled “Using Social Media for Talent Acquisition—Recruitment and Screening” was released on January 7th, 2016.

The goal of the survey was to find out if organizations are using social media for recruitment. As such, thousands of HR professionals were interviewed about their organizations’ usage of social media for talent acquisition in 2015. Trends of social media usage were tracked from 2011 to 2013.

The survey revealed that 84% of organizations are currently using social media for recruitment. This is an increase from the 56% of organizations which were using social media in 2013. The survey data also revealed that 9% of organizations plan begin using social media for recruitment.

The reason why organizations are turning to social media is because of its growing popularity. As most people share both personal and professional lives on social media, using the different platforms can provide a great way to both engage and find out about more about potential candidates.

According to the SHRM survey, there are three major ways in which organizations use social media in the recruitment process. The majority (89%) use social media to post job adverts. Three-quarters of organizations use it to contact potential candidates. Two-thirds use social media to search for passive or active job candidates.

Part of the “search” includes sourcing for information which could reveal the suitability of a candidate for a given position. More recruiters are now utilizing this information to make critical employment decisions.

The survey results revealed that, in 2015, over one-third (36%) of organizations disqualified candidates based on information found in social media. Such information includes discrepancy in job activities or illegal activities discovered through social media searches.

disqualified-candidate-social-mediaEven then, many organizations don’t summarily disqualify candidates based on information found in their social media profiles. Almost two out of five (39%) of organizations give candidates an opportunity to explain any information unearthed via social media. This is an increase of 13 percentage points from 2011.

Despite the increase in social media use for recruitment, in most organizations, social media is only one of many recruitment tools. In the survey, 81% of organizations revealed that social media was only one of the recruitment tools they used in 2015. Only 5% of organizations cited social media as their major recruitment tool.

However, not all organizations use social media for recruitment. According to the survey data, 16% of organizations are currently not using social media for recruitment. Seven percent do not intend to use it even in future. There are two major reasons why some organizations do not use social media during recruitment.

The first reason is the risk of violating EEOC laws (e.g. by discovering protected characteristics like religion, race, age, ethnicity, etc). The second reason is the lack of human resources time to conduct social media recruitment. Forty-six percent of organizations reported both reasons for not using social media.

These reasons notwithstanding, most organizations are increasingly using social media for recruitment. Some are even accepting social media job applicants. According to the survey data, the three most effective social media platforms for recruitment are LinkedIn (73%), Facebook (14%) and professional or association networking sites (9%).

Although the SHRM survey mainly focused on the use of social media for recruitment, it also looked at another emerging trend i.e. mobile recruitment. This is basically the use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets in the recruitment process.

The survey found that 66% of organizations are currently leveraging mobile devices for recruitment. The major reason for mobile use is that most job candidates are now using mobile devices for job search and submitting applications. This is because popular job search platforms like LinkedIn and Monster offer access to mobile users. As a result, some social media job applicants actually use mobile devices.

Therefore, organizations are maximizing the increasing usage of mobile devices to streamline the recruitment process. They are doing this through optimizing their websites to offer mobile access, including mobile-enabled applications on their websites and making careers websites prominent on their homepages.

The take-home from the SHRM survey is that astute organizations are moving beyond traditional recruitment methods. They are exploiting the opportunities provided by technological advances such as social media and mobile devices to super-charge their recruitment. Any organization which isn’t utilizing these platforms could be missing out on opportunities to find great talent. Whoever desires to read the full report.