SHRM Poll: Social Networking Websites Popular as Employer Recruiting Tool


More than half of human resource professionals are tapping into social networking websites to look for potential job candidates, a significant increase from 2008, according to a poll report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

The poll report—SHRM Research Spotlight: Social Networking Websites and Staffing, released at SHRM’s 2011 Talent & Staffing Management Conference in San Diego—found that 56 percent of organizations frequently scan LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other professional networking sites for recruitment purposes, compared with 34 percent who used the same social networks to find new employees in 2008.

“Employers are increasingly using social networking sites to engage passive job seekers—those who aren’t really actively seeking new jobs but might change for the right opportunity,” said Mark J. Schmit, Ph.D., SPHR, director of research at SHRM. “These sites can be valuable tools for organizations to find prospective employees with the specific skill sets and experience that they might not necessarily find through more traditional recruiting methods.”

Attracting Talent

Reasons employers said they use social networking websites to identify applicants are:

  • To seek professionals who might not otherwise apply or be contacted by recruiters at the organization (84 percent of respondents).
  • To use a less expensive method to recruit job candidates (67 percent).
  • To increase employer brand and recognition (60 percent).
  • To target specific job seekers at a certain career level, such as entry-level candidates, managers and executives (54 percent).

Most organizations using social networking websites to source job applicants check LinkedIn (95 percent), followed by Facebook (58 percent), Twitter (42 percent) and other professional sites (23 percent).

The SHRM poll found that organizations using social networking sites to identify job applicants are using websites, like LinkedIn and Facebook, most in recruiting employees for managerial-level jobs and non-managerial salaried positions.

HR professionals report that social networking websites are efficient in recruiting:

  • Directors and managers (58 percent of respondents).
  • Non-managerial salaried employees (58 percent).
  • Executives and upper management (52 percent).

Forty-one percent of HR professionals said they find social networking sites to be effective for identifying employees for non-managerial hourly jobs.

Looking Ahead

Some organizations not tapping into social networking sites for recruiting are open to using them in the future.

Approximately one-fifth of the companies polled do not use social networking sites but plan to at a later date. Only 21 percent stated that they do not use social networking sites and have no plans to do so in the future, down from 45 percent in 2008.