How Social Media is impacting the Hiring Process

Social media started as a way to easily share and talk to friends, but the increased usage over the past decade has taken a great deal of privacy away from our everyday lives. According to Pew Research Center, 90 per cent of young adults in North America use social media, compared to 12 per cent in 2005.

The advancements of smartphones have made social media platforms shift from the computer to the mobile by creating apps. It has come to the point where networks like Snapchat and Instagram are almost entirely mobile-focused networks — so there is never a time we have to be without them. In a We Are Social 2015 survey, accessing social media through mobile devices has exploded in the past year, with 1 million new users accessing via phones every single day.

Social Media + Job Market

The surge of social media usage across platforms not only affects ones social life, it also plays an important role in the job market.

Going to a workplace with a resume in hand and dropping it off to the HR department is becoming a less practiced way of applying to jobs and recruiting employees. Nowadays the hiring process doesn't even require people to apply for jobs anymore. Recruiters search on social sites for potential hires using LinkedIn (94%), Facebook (66%), and Twitter (55%). This, in part, has to do with the shift of communication from offline to online and also businesses having to stay relevant by joining in on the action.

If you are job hunting, chances are your potential employers are going to investigate your social media profiles.

Before, the only background checks were to investigate criminal records of applicants; now social media is being used for investigating other personal criteria. And while unsavoury social findings may not seem like they would have the same risks as a major criminal conviction for employers, they can still have the same result: losing a chance at the job you want.

The Jobvite 2014 social recruitment survey found 55 per cent of recruiters have reconsidered a candidate based on their social profile, with 61 per cent of those reconsiderations being negative. The survey describes that the top negative influencers for employers include: illegal drug references (83%), sexual posts (70%), improper spelling/grammar (66%), and profanity (63%).

However, recruiters aren’t looking just for reasons to not hire you; they’re also screening for information that could give you an advantage.

The CareerBuilder survey revealed that 29 per cent of surveyed hiring managers found something positive on a profile that drove them to offer the candidate a job. This means you shouldn’t just focus on hiding or removing inappropriate content; you should work on building strong social networks and creating online profiles that make you more visible and searchable.

How a company views this

From a company perspective, you want the best and brightest talent to find you and apply. And the best place to find this fresh talent means being where they’re spending most of their time. Mobile use is an increasing channel for candidate engagement. Currently, 43 per cent of job seekers use their mobile device during their job search. Fifty-five per cent of recruiters plan on using a mobile career site to support recruiting efforts in the next year. Recruiters who are adapting to mobile are seeing the benefits such as: an increase of candidate quality and quantity (44%), time-to-hire (34%), and in employee referral quality and quantity (30%).

Many organizations look at an applicant’s social media profiles before they even make a first interview offer. The intent behind researching a candidate is to protect the company. By searching an applicant’s LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter account, it can reveal information to the company about the person behind the resume.

It's also important to look if a candidates' online and offline persona are synchronized. Take a moment to ensure that their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles are up-to-date and accurate in relation to their resume. If there are discrepancies of information between the resources, then that should raise a red flag.

Your brand is a very important and intangible element, and an available job is just one of many products you have to offer. As with any job opening, cultivating a social media presence for recruiting requires time and effort but it's an investment in longer-term benefits for your company. Using social sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter takes recruiting back to its grassroots of networking but for a digital age. Learn how this has impacted the traditional career path - and why it's all but dead.