Recruiting Socially

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Right before racing off to the Atlanta airport, I was able to catch the tail-end of a SHRM session titled “Is Social Recruiting Really Working?” The session was moderated by Steve Boese, a director of talent-management strategy at Oracle, and featured several HR, recruiting and social-media experts on the panel.

One shared statistic was that 69% of employees plan to look for a new job in the next year. The message was that in light of this news, recruiters need to be as aggressive and creative as possible when looking for the best candidates.

The presenter asked the panel whether job seekers truly use Facebook to search for jobs and building professional networks, or is it mainly for personal use. Robert Hohman, CEO and co-founder of Glassdoor, pointed out that job-searching is inherently social, as many people find employment through friends, family and networking. Therefore, it’s silly to dismiss Facebook as a recruiting tool, and employers who do so will miss out.

Jeremy Langhans, program manager of global brand and talent attraction at Expedia, suggested that we shouldn’t merely focus on Facebook just because it’s the biggest and need to consider other social media as well.  But generally, “you probably need to identify someone in your company who can keep abreast of these trends,” he said.

John Sumser, CEO of, agreed that hiring managers shouldn’t pick one social network over another when searching for candidates. “You have to go where the people are because tomorrow morning, something else will pop up that you have to be aware of,” he said.

Even Pinterest for recruiting, someone asked? The answer was yes. Langhans said his company even recruits on Instagram, which allows them to post a picture of the office to convey the culture as well as the actual job description.

Another recruiting strategy is to take an actual video of your employees speaking about the company and post that online. “That’s the best way to do social recruiting,” added Langhans.

Boese then shared the statistic that 67% of employees found a job different than expectations set during interviews. Robert Hohman said that’s a reason Glassdoor was started, so that people can post their experiences online to allow others to get a clearer sense of prospective employers.

He added that such tools present a great opportunity for companies. “Social media is forcing transparency into the hiring process,” he said. “There are tons of people to engage with, and you can turn that into better recruiting.”

You have to be honest about the job opening because the company’s reputation is at stake. “If you promise a great work experience, and the hiring manager is a jerk, you will look stupid on Glassdoor,” said Sumser.

Hohman agreed. Because there are a lot of inefficiencies in the labor market, he said, companies can’t afford to give a false impression of their job offerings. Hiring the wrong employee can be a costly mistake. It’s bad for the company, the job seeker and the economy.

The panelists also agreed that companies shouldn’t be concerned if there are bad reviews on the reputation management sites, particularly if good reviews are prevalent as well. Ultimately, there are always going to be unhappy people. “The conversation isn’t authentic if [the bad reviews] are not included,” said Hohman.

The three panelists shared their key takeaways around using social recruiting: Start today. Don’t be afraid. And use the platforms as a way to have honest discussions with job seekers.

One audience member admitted she didn’t know how to get started. One answer? Get a young person as an intern – he or she will teach you all you need to know.

50 thoughts on “Recruiting Socially”

  1. I think it funny that companies are using a person social presence on these sites. I can understand maybe one or two. But going into that much detail it’s like an investigation. I already provided you with enough information to verify my right to work and run a background check. I guess that’s not enough. I wonder what shall become of the few of us who don’t want to Tweet, post of Facebook, exhibit our creative side on Pinterest, and be LinkedIn. If ever TMI was applicabe, it darn sure is now.

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