10 Common Social Recruiting & Internet Sourcing Myths BUSTED

Common social recruiting and hiring myths

Busted! Common Social Recruiting and Internet Sourcing Myths

As a former dark horse of the recruiting world (I think we’re past those days though, right?), social recruiting  and internet sourcing have had plenty of time to accumulate some big, big, myths. Myths some staffing leaders and recruiting managers have held onto because, well, it’s just kind of hard to keep up to date on whats really going on with social recruiting and sourcing.

In my experience these myths create a life of their own and are furthered due to lack of recent knowledge, experience, and education.  Often times these same leaders who perpetuate these myths forget that with the Internet we are in the business of finding and driving people.  And that these people and candidates we are actively sourcing and recruiting don’t use the online and resources and tools in the same way that they are accustomed.

  •  My candidates aren’t on social media. Rubbish. Facebook has 1 billion active users, according to Yahoo! Finance. TechCrunch reports Twitter has 170 million active users, and Google+ has 100 million. You’re telling me your candidates aren’t using any of those social networks? Or Pinterest? Or LinkedIn? Or YouTube? Or Quora? Or Meetup? Or GitHub? I could keep going… but i’ll save it for another post.
  • Social media is awesome! Join every network right now! Just because I can name a lot of social networks, doesn’t mean I should set up a profile on all of them. By all means, research other social networks. Set up a company profile or page and give ’em the old college try. But you may find that some of them aren’t really worth your time. That’s alright! The best recruiters use data to identify which sourcing activities yield the best results — if a social network isn’t helping you out, cut it loose.
  • Google+ is dumb. If you went through that new social network evaluation I just linked you to and you think it’s dumb, alright, I believe you. But don’t discount the tremendous SEO value in Google+. Posts from Google+ are being indexed in the SERPs, and authors’ Google+ profiles are showing up next to those results and improving click through rates on listings. Even if you’re not seeing a lot of engagement on Google+, you might see a bump in your organic search rankings for your jobs as a result of your activity there.
  • Pinterest is only for B2C organizations and you can’t recruit on it anyway. It is totally awesome for B2C recruiters, to be sure. But usually when someone says a channel is only for B2C, the B2B recruiter in me takes that as a challenge to prove it’s not so. You can check out a blog post by Blogging4jobs own Jessica Miller-Merrell on How to Recruit on Pinterest.
  • I should only try to get fans and followers that will become candidates. Quality is important, yes, but don’t underestimate the power of a large social reach. Remember some of these points next time you bemoan acquiring a fan or follower that would not be a fit for your current openings remember:
    • More fans and followers means you’re gaining access to their fans and followers.
    • If they’re an influencer, their clout transfers to you by association.
    • When they share your jobs, your SEO improves.
    • They may still refer candidates your way.
  • If my friends and family Like every update, my social presence will rock. You can’t just have your mom and uncle Like every job post you put up on Facebook. The EdgeRank algorithm is a tad bit more sophisticated than that. You need a variety of people interacting with your content — both to grow your reach, and to show up in users’ news feeds!
  • I have to respond to candidates immediately, especially on social media. There’s no doubt a speedy response is appreciated, but it isn’t always required. People understand that you’re running a business. There are other things going on. If you get back in a timely manner, but not in mere seconds, it’s alright.
  • Do NOT get personal. The jobs you publish in social media should always keep your target audience in mind — but that doesn’t mean you can’t also publish content that shows your brand’s personality. Or, frankly, even your hiring manager’s personality. There are people behind your company and its jobs; don’t be afraid to show that with your own special brand of humor, pictures of people that work at your company, and links to news content that you find particularly entertaining … even if it’s not directly related to your industry.
  • Hashtags are not wicked important. You know those tweets that look like this? “XYZ is hiring #jobs #marketing that talks about #mobile #ATS”  The point of Twitter hashtags is that they join together common conversation threads. So while it’s nice to have a hashtag for an event, like a webinar or a trade show, don’t lose your mind if it doesn’t become a trending topic. It’s not necessarily going to blow your hiring goal out of the water if it does … think of hashtags as a way to be more user-friendly for those following the hashtag, not a way to make all your candidate sourcing dreams come true.
  • Social Recruiting is only for millennials. That’s not really an accurate picture of social media users these days. If you think the only people using social media are millennials — and they’re just not part of your target candidates — think again.
    • 40% of Facebook’s active users are over age 35.
    • 52% of 55-64 year old internet users have joined a social network.
    • 93% of U.S. adult internet users are on Facebook.
  • Social Recruiting is free. It’s free to join, but it’s still a resource investment. Yes, it’s often cheaper — 45% of recruiting leadership cite social media has a below average cost per hire, surpassed only by candidates generated from referrals. But just like any other recruiting channel, you’ll have to invest some resources behind social recruiting … and to really make it take off, it’s only natural you’ll have to up that investment (that investment by the way is in people who ‘get it’ and can do it the right way for you).

What other common social recruiting and hiring myths did I miss?  What type of resistance have you encountered when talking abou the benefits of internet recruiting and sourcing?  Feel free to share your favorites below.


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Jonah Manning

Founder @PeopleOps. Connect with Jonah.

Reader Interactions


  1. Kes Thygesen says

    Jonah, in addition to everything you mentioned, I’ve found using social media for employee referrals in businesses is very fruitful. I don’t know that there are myths related to social media for referrals, but I do know it’s not used for this purpose as much as it should. Think of the statistics you just listed about social media sites. 93% of U.S. adult Internet users are on Facebook — that’s a lot of people who can share your jobs with their networks. What do you think?

  2. Sharon says

    Great article! Social media is here to stay, so everyone needs to find away to play! But all the Facebook friends and twitter followers mean nothing without traditional “old fashioned” realistic “real world” connections. There is a price to pay to grow, social media is not free. Radio, tv, and print still can do the job of bringing “awareness” to the public.
    Check out the book by B.J. Mendelson, ” Social Media is Bullshit”.

  3. Rob Kelly says

    Very comprehensive list of myths, Jonah. I’m surprised that more recruiters haven’t taken advantage of social sharing on the job level (as in “social job desriptions”).

    We just released some facebook sharing data that was pretty interesting: On average, we found 7.3 Facebook Likes per job, 4.3 visits from Facebook per each of those Likes and 31+ engaged candidates thus visiting the job description.

    Fully article here: http://ongig.com/blog/social-recruiting/facebook-likes-traffic-job-descriptions

    Rob, Co-Founder of Ongig.com



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