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What Is Social Recruiting?

By Sandi Johnson
Updated May 17, 2024
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Social recruiting is a relatively new method of finding prospective job candidates using online social media and social networking sites. With the explosion of networking sites and online social tools in the early 21st century, employers and hiring managers now benefit from using social networks to find good employee candidates. Likewise, posts and profiles of both candidates and current employees have become beneficial for determining character, work and personal ethics, as well as professional experience. Whether used for networking to locate candidates, or as part of routine background checking procedures, social recruiting involves every aspect of employee hiring, from screening and interviewing to references and ethics checks.

There are no clear rules, guidelines, or criteria for social recruiting. In simplest terms, social recruiting involves networking with professionals, personal contacts, and online communities to find potential employees with the right skills, mindset, knowledge, and personality to help meet organizational goals. Much like job seekers are advised to network to find job opportunities, employers now network through online social media outlets to find candidates that are a good fit for current or future positions. The principles of networking through social media likewise convert to live social networking events such as meetups organized on social sites, events organized online, and other new venues.

In some cases, employers and recruiting agencies utilize social media to build talent communities, social networking communities for prospective employees, based around a particular company, agency, or industry. Rather than building a pool of applicants with nothing more than resumes, companies build talent communities through social recruiting efforts. Candidates apply for admission to an online talent community for a particular company, often learning about such communities through social media posts, advertisements, and virtual events. During the application process, candidates complete questionnaires, skill set testing, and other screening criteria, and upon acceptance, post additional information such as hobbies, interests, profile information, and portfolio examples, rather than just a simple resume.

An example of social recruiting in action are fan or business pages on various social networking sites. Hiring managers can post announcements regarding open positions. Such posts are shared among fans or followers, sent via text, email, or internal sharing options within the social networking site to those whom fans think might be interested. Prospective candidates see such posts, follow the links, and connect with hiring managers, often exchanging contact information, emailing resumes, or sharing links to pre-screening assessments. All of these social recruiting activities happen before the hiring manager and potential employee ever meet face to face.

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