Using Social to Find Passive Candidates

Employers prize passive job candidates and are turning to social media to find them, according to a new survey from the Society for Human Resource Management. Eighty-two percent of HR professionals are using social media for this purpose, according to the survey, titled Using Social Media for Talent Acquisition — Recruitment and Screening.

The survey finds that most organizations use social media to find managers (82 percent) and other salaried employees (87 percent); however, the use of social media to recruit for hourly positions is on the rise, with 55 percent of respondents using it thusly. Although LinkedIn is used by 96 percent of respondents for social recruiting, Facebook (66 percent) and Twitter (53 percent) are also becoming popular, according to the survey, based on responses from 410 HR professionals.

Although most organizations (84 percent) are using social media for recruiting, only a tiny minority of organizations (5 percent) use social media as their primary recruiting tool, the survey finds.

Mobile is, not surprisingly, a big focus for companies using social media for recruiting: 39 percent have optimized their careers site for mobile users, while 36 percent have optimized their application process for mobile. I actually found these numbers to be surprisingly low, considering the sheer number of folks these days who search and apply for jobs using their mobile devices. Regardless of whether you’re seeking passive or active jobseekers, once you’ve gotten their interest it’d be a shame to just chase them away with a careers site that looks clunky and inaccessible on a smartphone.

Legal concerns are one of the biggest inhibitors for organizations that don’t use social media for recruiting: 46 percent cited legal risks and concerns about discovering information about protected characteristics as the top reason. An equal number cited not having enough time as the top reason for not using social media for recruiting.

Social media can indeed be a powerful way to engage passive candidates with your organization. As I wrote in this piece last year, some companies are using social media to form online communities that give employees the opportunity to talk about interesting projects they’re working on. This way, even if you don’t have an opening that matches up perfectly with what a potential candidate is looking for, you can hook their interest for future opportunities and maybe even encourage them to spread the word themselves about what you have to offer.

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