14 Ways Social Media Has Affected Talent Acquisition

What is one way that talent acquisition has been affected by social media? 

To help you appreciate the effects of social media on talent acquisition, we asked recruiters and associates this question for their best insights. From aiding talent sourcing to removing the middleman, there are several insights that may help you leverage social media to your advantage in business. 

Here are 14 ways social media has affected talent acquisition:

  • Aids Talent Sourcing
  • Showcases Company Culture Visually
  • Helps Discover Candidates’ Connections
  • Levels Playing Field for Recruiting
  • Offers Greater Insight into Candidates' Backgrounds
  • Enables Potential Talents Find Employers
  • Increases Potentially Harmful Biases
  • Drives Engagement and Transparency
  • Exposes Reputation
  • Makes The  World Smaller
  • Gives Voice To Candidates
  • Improves Advertisement and Data Analytics
  • Compels Companies To Steer Their Discourse
  • Removes The Middleman

Aids Talent Sourcing

With the rise of social media platforms such as Twitter, Reddit, and TikTok, there are now more ways to source candidates than ever. Recruiters can utilize social media not only to advertise job openings, but to also seek out talent through networking. By searching for keywords, hashtags, or in groups, recruiters can connect with talent they may not have found otherwise. 

In addition, companies who establish a strong presence on social media will often see an influx of applicants if their brand resonates with audiences. If a company's content is appealing enough, candidates will seek out recruiters or the career center all on their own.

Preston Sharpston, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at Smart USA

Showcases Company Culture Visually

Social media has become a great way to showcase culture to new talent. As the hiring market heats up, Gen Z has been entering the workforce. This is a visually motivated generation, and we have received positive feedback from social media recruiting efforts such as videos to highlight positions or team photos to emphasize culture. Talent Acquisition teams are challenged to keep up with ever changing social media sites to stay up to date.

Chloe Lange, Recruiting Associate at Govig & Associates

Helps Discover Candidates’ Connections

In today’s incredibly competitive employment market, talent acquisition teams must find various platforms in order to attract as many candidates as possible to build a pipeline.

Social media allows teams to connect with a vast array of active and passive candidates, but what is equally as important is the ability to connect with those candidates' connections as well. This is so valuable when you think about building your pipeline and sharing information with people who might not otherwise be driven to your job board. 

Jesse Knight, Global Director, Talent Acquisition at SBA Communication

Levels Playing Field for Recruiting

Before, talent acquisition relied primarily on job advertising to attract candidates to their career site, and the companies with the biggest budgets won the lion’s share of top candidates. But the organic network effect of social media has leveled the playing field, and the ability to post employer brand content has also given candidates a more authentic peek into how companies really treat and value their employees. Employers have never had more ability to meet the talent they deserve, and vice versa.

Debora Roland, Vice President, Human Resources at CareerArc

Offers Greater Insight into Candidates' Backgrounds

Before social media, employers’ only insight into candidates’ fit for a role or company was their resume and a series of brief interviews. Now, social media provides a much deeper look into candidates’ work history and professional network (LinkedIn), as well as their personal lives, pastimes and interactions (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc.). 

This allows employers to make more informed hiring decisions based on candidates’ personal brand and online behavior, and how these fit with company values. Because employees are company representatives both at and outside of work, social media can provide valuable insight into how well candidates will represent the employer brand once hired.

John Feldmann, Communications Specialist at Insperity

Enables Potential Talents Find Employers

Naturally, there is plenty out there about using social media to target those who you wouldn't normally have access to, finding candidates without fees and socially recruiting and headhunting as a competitive advantage. But it is worth remembering that this also works the other way, and potential talent, especially Gen Z's, are using a brand's social presence as a yardstick on whether they feel they would be a cultural fit and if their values align. They also have increased access to what those currently employed there are actively saying, and will now be looking at aspects such as flexible working, wellbeing, inclusion and sustainability through the lens of social media.

Lee Chambers, Founder and Psychologist at Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing

Increases Potentially Harmful Biases

While social media provides a resource and outlet for many positive purposes, it exposes recruiters and hiring managers to several detrimental biases while making decisions in the screening, interviewing and hiring processes. In much the same way that a résumé does not always match or highlight all traits of the candidate, social media often represents only a narrow portion of the holistic candidate. 

A candidate might not receive a call because of a cause they support; political stance; or at worst racial, religious or age discrimination. Lack of social media or locked public profiles can also introduce bias in terms of wondering what the candidate might be hiding. Let the screening and interview process determine how the candidate will perform on the job.

Matthew Higgins, HR Generalist and Recruiter at MASA Global

Drives Engagement and Transparency

Recruiting used to be commercial and impersonal. However, social and mobile applications can now be simple and user-friendly. People have always talked about your organization, and social networking and online forums have revolutionized talent acquisition by allowing prospects to participate in the discussion. Engage personnel and collect data to help you create a corporate culture that's worth tweeting about! Candidate expectations are high in today's connected and mobile world, thus recruiters must focus on making their life easier on mobile.

Travis Lindemoen, Managing Director of nexus IT group

Exposes Reputation

Talent acquisition has been affected by social media in myriad ways, but none more impactful than reputation. This could mean your company brand, your employees' reputations, or the reputation of your recruiters. In a world with constant connectivity, there is nowhere to hide. It's not just about your Glassdoor rating any more. Candidates have access to a full suite of social media tools that paint the picture of life at your company. It's up to Talent Acquisition and Branding to control the narrative.

Sarah Peck, Head of Talent Acquisition at AEVEX Aerospace

Makes The World Smaller

Social media has positively impacted the recruiting process in my experience. There are several platforms to engage active and passive candidates in a way that is meaningful, creative, and aligned to organizational objectives. With so many people using online communities the world of talent acquisition becomes smaller and closer. Social media has not only facilitated the means to reach a larger pool of candidates, but amplified the voices of the recruiters to share best practices, learn about recruiting trends, and provide support.

Shara Kyles, Sr. Talent Acquisition Specialist at PeopleScout

Gives Voice To Candidates

Companies must be intentional about catering to the needs of our evolving workforce to attract and retain key talent. Candidates and employees have "raised the bar" for companies by using social media to set their expectations. They have taken social media by storm to voice their perspective on key employment issues; the good, bad and in-between  (i.e. job dissatisfaction, lack of company DEI initiatives, or the candidate experience). The wide-spread influence of social media has set a new standard for Talent Acquisition and forces Recruiters to be creative in their recruitment efforts.

Kenus Lee, Recruiter at Southwest Airlines

Improves Advertisement and Data Analytics

Social media has helped with talent acquisition through the possibility of the advertisement of positions, career fairs, and different vacancies within the organization. Before social media, advertisement was mostly accomplished through newspapers and flyers. Social media has allowed organizations to save money by saving on paper costs, cartridge or ink costs, etc. In addition, using social media allows data analytics to see how well the advertisement is doing, how many clicks the advertisement is receiving,
how many views, and so on. From having this information, one can determine the best avenue to take for advertising positions.

Subrie King, Director of Recruiting at Cooperative Health

Compels Companies To Steer Their Discourse

If you’re an organization in start-up mode or entering a new market, social media can feel like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book- with unknown paths to traverse and unexpected turns along the way. It used to be “we must do everything and post everything” to be relevant on social media. Now, companies need to course correct and focus on sharing and caring. Share the story. Care for the community.

Start online discussions about things your organization is passionate about. Post informative learnings or case studies to LinkedIn groups to promote learning and growth. Speak at a community event or donate time to a local charity. With increased market presence the path is clear. A footprint is established. Candidates know your name. And look! You’ve started to build a pipeline to fill those open roles.

Rachelle Roberts, Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition at Slalom

Removes The Middleman

There’s no longer a middle man. HR, CEOs and other staff create job posts directly on social media. Job seekers reach out via private message to recruiters. In the past candidates would need to submit their resumes with little recourse other than an email or phone call to follow up. But today, interviews are often set up following a job post, with a direct message serving as a quick cover letter. In short, the process is short!

Erin Banta, Co-Founder & CEO of Pepper


The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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