Why Recruiters Research Using Social Media

Recruiting SystemYou’ve probably heard about recruiters and hiring managers researching job candidates and employees on social media because it has drastically changed the hiring process and therefore made a big splash. Most people have a lot questions about it. How many recruiters and hiring managers research candidates’ social media profiles? And why do they do it? What are they looking for? Let’s explore those questions. If you’re looking for a recruiting advantage, know that Recruiteze can help. Start your free trial of our recruiting system today.

How Prevalent Is Social Media Research for Hiring?

Social media research by recruiters and hiring managers has infiltrated the hiring process, and it gets more widespread every year.

According to a study completed for CareerBuilder this year, “70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring, up significantly from 60 percent last year and 11 percent in 2006.”

This was a national study conducted between February 16 and March 9, 2017 and included “more than 2,300 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes in the private sector.”

The study found that 3 in 10 employers, or 30% of them, have at least one person dedicated to social recruiting.

54% have found something on social media that caused them to reject a candidate, and 44% have been moved to hire someone based on something found on social media.

While the fact that more people said they had rejected a candidate based on social media sounds scary and may make job candidates want to avoid social media altogether, an even greater number, 57%, said they “are less likely to call someone in for an interview if they can’t find a job candidate online.”

You get sold on people you can learn about. If there is a candidate you can learn about versus one you’d have to dig deeper to find the answers to the same questions  about, who are you going to go with?

A 2014 Adobe study asked 1,068 hiring managers for their “attitudes and beliefs about the skills required for success in the workplace of tomorrow.”

When they were asked about skills they recommended to students, 61% of them said students underplay the importance of their social media presence for hiring. This was second only to 81% saying that employers seek out well-rounded candidates who can creatively apply their skills. That means it was the second most important piece of advice.

When asked what advice they would give students and recent graduates, 33% of them selected, “social media can make or break you, so learn to use it wisely.”

That was 3 years ago.

Hiring managers and recruiters also go beyond social media to a candidate’s entire online presence. The CareerBuilder study mentioned above found that 69% of employers search candidates on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The figure shot up 10% in one year from 59%. They would be looking for similar things as they’d hoped to find on social media hoping to find it in links, message boards, Q&A sites, and public achievements or the opposite in the news.

Why Do Hiring Managers Research Using Social Media?

Hiring managers and recruiters research using social media for many reasons and for much more than might be anticipated.

The 2014 Adobe study from above asked hiring managers to select 3 reasons why they researched potential job candidates using social media.

These were the findings:

  • I want to check for potential red flags for the candidate based on their behavior online – 77%
  • I want to see their communication skills applied in the real-world context – 53%
  • I want to verify the candidate’s resume and employment history – 43%
  • I want to see how interesting and creative the candidate is based on their profile – 31%
  • I want to see how socially adept the candidate is – 23%
  • Other – 4%

Recruiting SystemThe CareerBuilder study from this year found that 61% of hiring managers use social media to find information that supports the candidates’ qualifications for the job, 50% wanted to know if the candidates have a professional persona, 37% were looking for comments about the candidates from other people they knew and previous employers, and 24% said that they were looking for a reason not to hire a candidate. At least the latter is the smallest percentage. Guess that’s where a crowded candidate field combined with poor recruiting strategies gets us. When you need a better recruiting strategy, using a free recruiting system can help. Let Recruiteze take your hiring efforts to the next level.

The reasons CareerBuilder found for candidates to be rejected included:

  • Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information: 39%
  • Candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs: 38%
  • Candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion: 32%
  • Candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee: 30%
  • Candidate lied about qualifications: 27%
  • Candidate had poor communication skills: 27%
  • Candidate was linked to criminal behavior: 26%
  • Candidate shared confidential information from previous employers: 23%
  • Candidate’s screen name was unprofessional: 22%
  • Candidate lied about an absence: 17%
  • Candidate posted too frequently: 17%

On the positive side, some of most common reasons for candidates to be hired were:

  • Candidate’s background information supported their professional qualifications: 38%
  • Great communication skills: 37%
  • A professional image: 36%
  • Creativity: 35%

So, the most important things hiring managers and recruiters look for are honesty, communication skills, professionalism, creativity, and fit with corporate culture.

Bottom line: social media and other online gathering places give hiring manager and recruiters a unique opportunity to learn about and interact with candidates. They can see a 3D view of the candidate rather than just how they appear in an interview or on paper. This may be a benefit to candidates who don’t interview well or whose strengths may be best represented outside the resume. It also lessens the need for assessments and tests as recruiters can learn a great deal about creativity, personality, and language skills by browsing social media.

Social Media Research Happens Alongside Broader Social Media Recruitment Efforts

Another factor in social media research is the growth of social media recruitment strategies involving sourcing and advertising tactics. Hiring managers and recruiters become ever increasingly present on social media, where they network with potential candidates, build an employer brand, and attract candidates to job openings.

In a prior post, we said, “It is not only a perfect solution to attract talent, but also simplifies the entire process of recruitment in different ways. Even more, social recruiting makes it possible to reach out to a large number of qualified applicants.”

Social media recruiting is powerful. From that same post, when Deloitte initiated a social recruiting strategy, they found that 234% more traffic was coming from social media than any other source, and their investments in job boards and recruitment agencies could be greatly reduced.

With social media recruiting, you can build a powerfully attractive employer brand that brings in unprecedented applicants. You can find candidates in new places and build relationships with candidates for future job opening, reducing sourcing times.

This means hiring managers are not only looking for social media accounts after the candidates apply, they are also scouting for social media profiles that look like exciting prospects to reach out to.

It’s Ongoing Even After the Hire

Recruiting SystemSocial media research also happens after the hire. Some employers simply keep up with the social media accounts of current employees. Others integrate social media into employee engagement strategies and employer branding initiatives that keep the employee and employer interacting on social media and might lead to finding out what current employees are doing.

The CareerBuilder study found that 51% of employers were deliberately researching current employees on social media. 34% said they had found content that lead to reprimanding or firing an employee.


Social media researching has changed the hiring process. It can lessen costs, shorten the time-to-hire, and make the hiring process more 3D and personable. With marketing becoming dependent on social media, researching candidates on it seems inescapable. What can you do with social media and your recruiting efforts?

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