3 Lessons About Social Recruiting & Hiring You Need to Know

Get started using social media in hiring and staffing. Learn more about getting starts with social recruiting and hiring by joining me on a Success Factors webinar 6/25 at 12 PM CST. Register here

I’m current decompressing after coming back from the SHRM 2013 Annual Conference in Chicago. I spent some time at the Hive which was the social media hub for the more than 15,000 attendees where social media experts including myself answered questions with attendees and discussed a variety of topics including mobile, apps, social media and of course social recruiting. I’m excited to say that adoption and use by attendees when it comes to social media, mobile and technology was at an all time high. I was never more proud when the hash tag, #SHRM13 trended as a top 10 Twitter hash tag for the first time. I remember being in San Diego just three years ago with 5 bloggers, no free conference internet and feeling like a leper when I said my full time job is working in social media HR and technology. Times have changed. The world, including HR got social.

3 Lessons About Social Recruiting & Hiring You Need to Know


Conferences like SHRM are fantastic because you are exposed to gigantic amounts of information, sessions and contacts in one setting. Unfortunately, the importance of retaining and using the information you learned and wanted to apply upon your return is often lost as you get back to life and back to the reality of work, home and HR. SHRM attendees tweeted nearly 30,000 times and in just 24 hours 1,3000+ instagram photos were shared. That’s a whole lot of social media in just a few days. If you attended the conference, you probably saw people tweeting, posting and snapping pics, but what does this have to do with social media in hiring, recruiting and human resources.

Social Media Users Are Becoming More Engaged on Social

Neilsen has a fantastic 2012 State of the Union Report regarding social media (download here) which covers social media use in the US, our habits and consumer trends of all things social. Because of the amount of research they do, they are able to quickly identify trends. Their findings point to social media not only becoming mainstream but the pace at which new social media users is starting to slow. While new users only grew by a little over 8 million users, time spent on social media increased by 24% showing their these social networks are becoming an even more important part of our every day lives.. The graphic, you see to your left comes from this report. While there is not a great deal of research surrounding social media use by job seekers and what motivates them to apply. (This is something I hope to change soon with my own future published research.) It’s safe to say, however, that consumer patterns and behaviors often mirror job search and workplace habits when it comes to social media. The only difference is that adoption of such practices mainly driven by HR technology happens 18-36 months after consumer trends are identified. The slow adoption is happening because the lead time needed while tools and technology to use in recruiting and hiring are being developed before they are adopted in every day use by recruiters, job seekers, managers as well as HR. 


Social Media Recruiting and Hiring Requires Pre-Planning & Strategy

I encourage companies to develop a SWOT analysis as the recruiting and hiring conversation begins to form around social media. While it’s tempting to want to dive into the pool head first by launching the company Twitter account with your summer intern, you, as the employer only have one chance to make a first impression. This impression is a lasting one and as an employer, how do you want to be remembered? A SWOT analysis stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. A consultant or company representative works to identify each of these fully understanding how the current social recruiting and social media tools, resources and technologies are being used being making recommendations on how the company recruiting team should go forward in their strategy. This means looking at the competition and different ways  your company can stand out using social media in recruiting and engagement. It doesn’t have to be super complex. You are likely already doing it just not in a formal SWOT analysis way. A report and presentation of the report findings is represented before a plan is put into place. Adoption of social media is at an all time high and companies with high profiles are being watched and monitored carefully. Employers want to go in with their best foot forward just like they ask job seekers to in a face to face interview. Social media is also a long term strategy whether for recruiting and employee engagement internal or external. It’s best not to leave the project execution to an summer intern who ends up calling me. It’s true. I’ve had 2 phone calls from interns who are working on summer projects in Fortune 200 companies that involve social media for internal communication and HR this week.

Automation is Not Social Recruiting

I’m a firm believer that an automatic jobs feed or RSS feed from your company career page is not a social recruiting strategy. Social media starts with conversation, engagement and relationships that lead to candidates making a buying decision to apply for a job and ultimately work your company. Many consumer facing companies call this social care. In hiring and recruitment, social media and engagement plays into what is called the Candidate Experience. Automation is a first step in leveraging social media in recruitment but it is not social recruiting. Confused? Check out my Social Media Hiring and Recruitment Hierarchy (graphic at the beginning of this blog) or on my personal blog, Workology.com.

Learn more about getting starts with social recruiting and hiring by joining me on a Success Factors webinar 6/25 at 12 PM CST. Register here


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions


  1. Sean P Kelley says

    Social media has been the buzz in recruiting circles re: conferences for some time now. Some say it’s not coming, it’s here. However, I think there are waaay too many recruiters that simply ‘don’t get it’. They use linkedin and that’s the extent of their social media. Spewing job postings on twitter is not an effective use. It perplexes me, and would be intrigued on how to get your team on the social media recruiting band wagon.

  2. Sujit Paul says

    Social media is getting popularity in recruitment area. Most of the people connected with the social networks, so its easy to find the ideal candidates from there. You may notice lot job post adverts in Facebook or LinkedIn.

    Anyway thanks for sharing the lessons. Cheers.



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