The pitfalls of using social media for recruitment

With more and more job seekers turning to social media to find their next opportunity, we’re heading towards a revolution in recruitment.

Social Media for recruitment


Just a decade ago it was still considered best practice for job seekers to send applications by snail mail. Over time this was slowly replaced by the convenience of email.

Now we’re seeing platforms such as LinkedIn offer candidates the convenience of applying for a job with just one click. This presents many different challenges for the modern HR department.

Here are just some of the pitfalls of using networking sites for recruitment

Throwaway applications

With candidates able to apply for a job with your company so easily, it means that you could be inundated with frivolous applications from people who aren’t really that interested in working for you. They applied simply because it was so convenient.

Recruitment is a time-consuming process, particularly for small companies, so the best way to resolve this is to include a request that will discount the majority of applications.

It’s good practice to include a request for prospective employees to include a few sentences about why they want to work for your company and then simply ignore any applications that fail to meet this request. Time-wasters are unlikely to bother with this step.

>> READ MORE: The new LinkedIn layout: a quick guide for busy marketers <<

Alienating loyal fans

For companies who use their social media following to increase the reach of their job adverts, they can quickly run into problems with alienating loyal customers.

If you post on your social channels that you’re hiring and loyal fans of your company choose to submit an application, they might respond negatively if you go on to reject them.

As the conversation started on social media it follows that they will voice their concern there, which could be damaging to your brand.

To avoid this, it’s best practice to keep your job openings off Facebook and Twitter, unless you’re prepared to respond to any backlash. If you go ahead, ensure you communicate with every applicant individually and explain your decision not to take their application any further.

Legal side of social vetting

As workers are now applying for jobs through professional networking sites, it’s becoming easier for recruitment managers to find candidates on social networks.

This is still a murky area of recruitment, as employers can easily find themselves in trouble with discrimination laws if they make a decision based on a candidate’s social media presence.

You might think checking a candidate’s profile is just good practice, but this can consciously or unconsciously sway your decision.

The best solution for this is to create an ethical wall between the person doing the research and the person making the final decision.

The researcher will gather all of the relevant information from their findings, and then only present the legally permissible information. This will prevent any issues if the candidate calls in the employment lawyers to settle a dispute.

>> READ MORE: How to use social media for networking and generate leads <<

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