A whopping 93 percent of the 1,855 recruiting pros surveyed in Jobvite's 2014 Social Recruiting Survey use or plan to use social media in their recruiting efforts.
The reason why is simple and powerful. According to respondents, leveraging social media improves candidate quality by 44 percent over those using only "traditional" recruiting techniques like phone screenings and filtering resumes based solely on skills and experience.
Social media allows not only information about a candidate's experience and skills, but a better glimpse into their lifestyle, values and their cultural fit, which is crucial for companies looking not just to recruit and hire, but also to engage employees and improve retention rates.
The Jobvite survey reveals that 80 percent of recruiters are using social media to evaluate a candidate's potential culture match. The emphasis on cultural fit is a major reason recruiters are doubling down on social media as a tool.
Use Social Media to Evaluate Cultural Fit
Social media's often used to highlight "what not to do" from a candidate's perspective (take down those photos of your bachelor weekend in Vegas, please), but what's often overlooked is its usefulness to recruiters and hiring managers as both a sourcing and a screening tool for new talent especially when it comes to finding talent with that perfect cultural fit, says Yarden Tadmor, CEO and founder of anonymous job search and recruiting app Switch.
"Traditionally, social media's importance to recruiting has been limited to the way it is used to weed out candidates who might be a bad fit -- in other words, those unprotected tweets can do serious damage when recruiters are evaluating potential employees. But social media, whether staple networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter or burgeoning apps like our Switch … has become a convenient and comprehensive way for recruiters to find, 'like' and connect with candidates," says Tadmor.
Filtering candidates through the lens of their Facebook profiles, Twitter feeds and other platforms helps determine whether prospects would fit the culture of a company and, perhaps more importantly, if they would be willing to consider a move, Tadmor says.
"The impact social media has had on our recruiting is immeasurable. When we're on the fence about a candidate's resume, we use LinkedIn to find out how involved they are in the LinkedIn community and throughout the industry. This gives valuable insight that was previously unattainable, and are key ingredients of our prime candidates," says Cristin Sturchio, global head of Talent at Cognolink. Sturchio adds that when using LinkedIn as a screening tool, she and her team look for candidates who've gained endorsements, who belong to professional groups and follow relevant companies and people.
"This tells us that they are engaged and active in their profession, and are likely to be engaged and active as one of our employees. You can't find that kind of information on a resume, and if you can, it often gets lost in more pressing details," says Sturchio.
Use Social Media to Evangelize Your Business, Mission and Values
From a recruiting perspective, having a well-defined social media brand can help attract the best passive candidates, says Tadmor. In fact, according to the Jobvite research, companies know they have to sell their workplace cultures not just to attract the right candidates but to influence their decisions about where to work, and attract like-minded talent. In addition, continued use of social media will help companies attract the next-generation workforce, as millennials continue to use social and mobile technology in their career efforts, according to David Hirsch, managing partner of Metamorphic Ventures.
Hirsch says that social media is the ideal medium for employers to broadcast their social mission in order to attract high quality candidates. "With mobile being the dominant way that millennials communicate and operate, we fully expect the way that companies will find new talent will continue trending toward more use of social media, as connections are made based on geo-location proximity, interests, passions, experiences, extended network, etc.," says Hirsch.
As more millennials enter the workforce, Hirsch says apps like Switch will become more important for both employers and employees, allowing them to quickly sift through the "noise" and find their perfect "match" in a way that's more in line with how millennials will expect to experience their job searches and how recruiters should target prospects.
Use Social Media to Advertise Open Positions
Of course, recruiters and hiring managers are still using social media in a more traditional way, to post open positions or as a platform to reach broader segments of their industry in hopes of luring potential employees, says Seven Step RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) president Paul Harty.
"A company might be using Facebook or Twitter to broadcast targeted industry related news for mechanical engineers. It also may have recruiters posting about mechanical engineers for those interested in related jobs, and then advertising those jobs through that commentary. That targeted outreach and profiling happens more than you think. Companies are finding people by Tweeting or posting a Facebook page to find the skills they are looking to acquire, regardless of position. However and wherever recruiters can find talent, they will leverage those channels to be where the talent community exists," says Harty.
Cognolink's Sturchio highlights that her organization also uses social media for job postings. "We also use Twitter to blast out our recruiting activities on campus, which allows us to find new candidates, promote our brand, and draw interest and awareness to find talent," says Sturchio.