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Is Social Media Hype or Reality?

So what’s the deal… are employers REALLY using social networking sites and search engines to screen candidates? I used to believe this was true and in growing numbers until I saw the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Professionals) 2011 survey.  This begs the question, Is the use of social media hype or reality?

SHRM Data Indicates HR is NOT jumping on the bandwagon

67% of HR professionals say No, we are not using social networks to screen and don’t plan to.

59% of HR professionals say No, we don’t use search engines to screen applicants and don’t plan to.

This is from the 2011 study of SHRM professionals and 541 respondent answers were used. Here’s a link to the study so you can read this for yourself.

66% say they are not using social networks due to a concern about legal risks/discovering information about protected characteristics (e.g., age, race, gender, religious affiliation)

I scratch my head and wonder why these numbers are so high. Is it the respondents? Is it the year 2011? Is it how the question was asked, screening applicants, not recruiting applicants?  Here is other data showing the rise of social media being used to recruit/source/find candidates.

Microsoft’s Survey Says…

89% of recruiters and HR professionals said they were researching candidates online.

They called it online reputational information. In 2010, Microsoft commissioned a survey. 275 HR professionals and recruiters were surveyed during 2009 for this report.

Jobvite Says..

89% of companies will be using social networks to recruit

(that means to source candidates and announce openings). Jobvite is recruiting software and an ATS system.

45% say they ALWAYS use social profiles to assess candidates.

This survey was also released in 2011. Jobvite surveyed 800 respondents from the HR and recruiting industry.  Most were in a recruiting/staffing and HR role and represented technical, services and healthcare industries.  You can see for yourself by downloading their survey.

Other Sources Weighing in:


45% of companies plan to invest more in social recruitment

(a 2012 survey of 400 company representatives) TweetMyJobs shares job openings via Twitter.

Bullhorn Reach

48% of recruiters use only LinkedIn to recruit and 21% of recruiters are using all 3 social networks

according to 2011 survey of 35,000 recruiters in the Bullhorn user network. Bullhorn Reach is a social recruiting system.


There are many infographics showing the use of social recruiting and job seeker activity across social networks. So how wide-spread and how deep does this trend run?  The answer will vary depending on who you ask (the respondents), who conducts the study, the size of the company, and the industry. Some people are early adoptors, others are afraid of the legal implications, others don’t care at all and have asked for Facebook logins and passwords.

You can wait on the sidelines or you can jump in and test the waters now.  As I see it, it can’t hurt!

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rita Carey April 11, 2012, 10:34 am

    Hannah, I have been stymied by the conflicting information. I would like to see a breakdown by positions. One study that has been touted by many of us actually was based on hires in the $250,000. range. Not applicable to most of the people I serve. No wonder job seekers often have little confidence in the recommended job search strategies.

    • Hannah Morgan April 15, 2012, 6:35 am

      I think social recruiting/hiring is “hot” in certain pockets right now. It will be interesting to see where this goes in the next year or so. Who knows how main-stream this will get. Data has suggested that social media/networking usage varies by demographics so I think it makes sense to fish where the fish are.
      If we look at the use of social networking tools as a way to extend our relationships, then I see the investment of time in them invaluable!

  • Dave April 11, 2012, 4:24 pm

    This survey does not address the hiring manager. It’s possible that SHRM professionals do not use social media, but I would bet a lot of hiring managers will use it. To me, if a candidate isn’t on LinkedIn, they don’t exist. I want to get a better picture of who I’m interviewing, regardless of the HR policies and/or laws about discrimination. When I have 1 open position and 300 applicants, something has to help me narrow down the field.

    • Hannah Morgan April 15, 2012, 6:44 am

      The Microsoft commissioned survey DOES include hiring managers, though I didn’t make that clear in my post. I went back and looked at how they worded it in their methodology and it states “HR professionals, hiring managers and recruiters,”…
      Thank you for sharing your thought process as a hiring manager when screening candidates! This is always helpful for job seekers to understand!

    • Tric June 5, 2012, 1:18 pm

      Hi Dave, you mentioned getting a better picture of who you are hiring. Not that a physcial picture was the intention, but I did not see yours.. just sayin.

      I too am interested in how those hiring view a profile t o meet their needs and which social media platforms are best for B2B, B2C as well as C2B.


      • Tric June 5, 2012, 1:23 pm

        Sorry Dave, I went to see how to add a profile, an avatar or gravatar and it does not work here. My apologies for the observational comment..