On April 11th, SHRM released findings from a recent survey on social recruiting (SHRM Survey Findings: Social Networking Websites and Recruiting/Selection).  Having read through the results, I find there are no surprises. See for yourself below. So what am I least surprised by? Read on friends.

41% of employers target executive/upper management (e.g. CEO, CFO) when searching for candidates on social media.

Makes sense. If I was still running an executive search firm, I would have another data point that would lead to more heartburn and another headache. China Gorman (my inspiration for this post) points out in her post on the survey that the 41% of employers that use social networks to source executives “could spell doom” for executive recruiting firms. I say that the search firms are already feeling it big time. I’m not the only one. Earlier this year, Business Week published an article, “Executive Headhunters Squeezed by In-House Recruiters“, where they claim that the big executive search firms’ revenues are declining by nearly 10% a quarter.

Listen, I’ve been saying this for a long time and I’ll say it again. What were once closed networks monetized by the search firms have now been made open by social networks. I call this the single greatest advancement in recruiting in the last 10 years. The accessibility of data has created massive competition for the search firms. Employers armed with good data can run what were once 6 figure searches for a fraction of the cost.

More than half (57%) of employers do not have a formal or informal policy on screening candidates via social networking sites.

The only thing surprising here is that 43% of respondents claim to have some sort of social media screening policy. I’m not buying it. This is the real elephant in the closet right now for HR departments.  With very little precedent set by the Fed, it’s no wonder that employers provide little policy on screening job applicants with social networking sites. This topic is the one to watch in the coming months for sure. There is going to be a tsunami of claims in the next 12 months.

LinkedIn is the most commonly used social networking site for screening job candidates.

Guess what? This may be the least surprising piece of data in the entire survey. 92% of respondents that use social networks claim to screen job applicants using LinkedIn. For the record, LinkedIn was followed by Facebook (58%), Twitter (31%) and Google + (25%). The biggest surprise here is that 31% percent of the respondents mentioned they screen applicants withTwitter. I just removed the Twitter app from my phone.

Using social networking is less expensive than other methods of recruiting job candidates.

In 2011, 67% of respondents claimed they use social recruiting because it was less expensive than other methods of recruiting. No surprise. However, this year, only 57% percent responded that social recruiting was less expensive. Not a surprise either. If you consider LinkedIn a social network (I don’t but that’s another story), the 10% decrease in the number of people responding that social recruiting is less expensive makes a lot of sense. LinkedIn is expensive. Otherwise, I believe that people have come to realize that a sustained social recruiting strategy is expensive to maintain just like any advertising campaign (there is a story brewing here too).


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