Recruiting and Staffing

Recruiting and Social Networking: SHRM Research Shows a Few Surprises

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The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) debuted some new survey data at their recent Talent Management Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas.

Published on April 11, Social Networking Websites and Recruiting/Selection is interesting. And some of the data may not be what you think.

Employers use social networking sites during the recruitment process as tools to recruit candidates who might not normally apply. Expanding their reach to passive candidates, candidates with specific skill sets and candidates in specific geographies, recruiters seem to be very strategic in their use of social networking tactics and sites.

What? No policy on social media screening?

I’m not surprised by this data. But, here are some of the findings I did find a little surprising:

  • More than half (57 percent) of employers do not have a formal or informal policy on screening candidates via social networking sites.

Really? In this age of increasing regulation and compliance, the majority of employers don’t have a policy about using social media to screen candidates? No guidance for recruiters? No guidance for hiring managers?

I wonder if this is an “ignorance is bliss” approach or a calculated “we already have policies covering the use of social media at work” approach?

  • Employers that have policies on screening candidates are evenly split (21 percent each) in allowing or prohibiting the use of social networking sites for screening purposes.

This fascinates me. And it bears watching.

There are legal dangers in the offing. Court cases are starting to decide the legal issues involved in using social media sites for applicant screening. And recruiters and HR pros don’t want to end up on the wrong side of this one.

Social media and executive recruiting

  • About two-thirds of employers never have used or no longer plan to use social networking sites (69 percent) or online search engines (65 percent) to screen applicants.

This makes sense given the regulatory environment HR deals with today, and the fact that the courts are just starting to address these issues. However, it’s entirely unrealistic to believe that hiring managers aren’t using social networking sites to screen applicants.

I believe that HR isn’t. I don’t believe that hiring managers aren’t.

  • Some 41 percent of employers target executive/upper management (e.g. CEO, CFO) when searching for candidates on social media.

This is really surprising and could spell doom for the executive recruiting industry.

I would have expected a much smaller percentage of employers would use social networking sites for the recruitment of executives since it’s assumed that most employers turn to executive recruiters to find executive talent like CEOs and CFOs.

Changes from 2008-2013

If the use of social networking/media sites for executive hiring gives employers confidence to recruit executives on their own, a major shift in the executive hiring dynamic could be underway.

I was also interested in the differences in the survey question answers between 2008, 2011 and 2013. Not only are the percentages changing, the number of respondents is growing, which I believe means that social media is being integrated into more nooks and crannies of HR.

Take a look:social-networking-websites-and-recruiting-selection-shrm-2013

This is interesting on lots of levels. And I look forward to continued growth at the intersection of HR and social technologies.

Hopefully SHRM will field this survey again in two or three years.

This originally appeared on China Gorman’s blog at ChinaGorman.com.

For more than 25 years, China Gorman has held strategic business leadership roles in the human capital management sector. She's currently the CEO for Great Place to Work, a company dedicated to improving society by helping companies create better workplaces. Well known for her tenure as Chief Operating Officer and interim CEO of SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management), China also held the posts of President of DBM North America, and President of Lee Hecht Harrison, the global consulting division of Adecco, which became the performance leader in its industry under her leadership. Read her blog at ChinaGorman.com, and contact her at china@chinagorman.com.