Surprising Revelations About Social Media From Recruiters

Depending on the last time you looked for a job or changed careers, social media was either a completely non-existent or an absolutely integral part of your job search — things are changing that fast! On the other side of the career spectrum, of course, are the recruiters — those folks actually posting the jobs and trying to fill open positions.

You’d be hard pressed to find any recruiter these days who isn’t using social media in a big way in his or her job. We interviewed three professional recruiters and asked them how they ply their trade with the help of social media. Some of their tactics and observations may surprise you.

The In-House Recruiter: Jim Conti

The In House Recruiter

Jim Conti is a full-time, in-house recruiter for Sprout Social. When asked why companies such as Sprout Social need their own recruiters in-house, Conti says that the sheer volume of applicants for any posted jobs these days makes it a necessity to have someone dedicated to processing all of this data. “If we get 400 resumes, and let’s say someone spends five minutes reviewing each one, that’s almost the equivalent of a full work week, just to initially process applicants for one job,” says Conti. Add in active recruiting and scouting for talent, as well as providing education and engagement about the company on social media, and it’s easy to justify a dedicated recruiting position within an organization.

“Social media allows me to very quickly go through people’s online profiles to see if their public personas match the qualifications they’ve stated in their resumes.” Using this technique, Conti can quickly weed out candidates that have glaring inconsistencies between how they represent themselves online and on their applications.

Conti says for professional recruiters, it can be a challenge to integrate and quantify the success rate of any given social media platform; social savvy job searchers are coming at organizations from many different social media fronts. “You might have candidates apply for a job they saw on LinkedIn, while at the same time they’re engaging with the corporate and employees’ Twitter accounts, so sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly when, where, and on what platform a hire was made.” Since enterprise social media management is gaining more traction, Conti expects that these tools will get better and better at incorporating functions and routines unique to the recruiting world.

The Social Media Headhunter: Jim Durbin

The Social Media Headhunter

Jim Durbin, the self-described “social media headhunter” says that “social media can make a bad recruiter worse and a good recruiter great.” He cites as an example a recruiter (or even a hiring manager within a company) using Facebook to look for incriminating photos that might weed out candidates for an open position. As Jim puts it, “if someone is spending hours going through photos, is that really a productive use of one’s time?”

Conversely, a good recruiter can use social media not only as a tool to weed out bad candidates but as a way to dig for diamonds in the rough as well. Durbin says the one of the primary benefits he sees in using social media is the education and learning it provides him about the specific job and the vertical for which he’s trying to fill a position.

“Not every one of us is a ‘niche’ recruiter,” says Durbin, referring to the specialization that some recruiters have for specific industries or job titles. “If I have to recruit for a position that’s new to me, social media allows me to learn as I research and connect with potential candidates. Each contact I make tells me more about the job I’m looking to fill and gives me all the vital context I need to find the right candidate for the job.”

The Recruiting Consultant: Steve Levy

The Social Media Consultant

Another seasoned recruiting consultant we spoke with, Steve Levy, reiterated Jim Durbin’s statement about social media being a great tool to educate recruiters themselves. “Too many recruiters have no idea what they’re recruiting for,” says Levy, adding that the job descriptions a lot of recruiters post are not accurate representations of the jobs being hired for. In that respect, social media can be a means to find out what other people in this role are saying about the jobs they already have. In that way, job descriptions and job profiles can be customized by taking a more detailed look at the people already employed in those positions.

Levy also says that “social is not a platform, it’s a strategy.” In other words, the social network itself, whether it’s Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook is less important to his process of finding candidates than the actual content that candidates are posting. “I specialize in finding people who can solve companies’ problems. These problems and solutions can be found by strategically spending some time interacting with candidates on any of the major social media networks.”

Levy cautions that social media is a “poor platform for assessing someone’s future performance,” but that it can be a good way to gauge how well people “play together in the sandbox.” Recruiters need to interpret candidates’ social media footprints to determine if they will be good placements for the organizations they’re recruiting for.

Finally, he says that “social media is another arrow in the recruiter’s quiver, but not the only arrow.” Good recruiters should always use social media to help “triangulate and converge on the best candidates.”

How big a role does social media play in your recruiting process? Let is know in the comments.

[Image credits: Fredo Alvarez, Sprout Social (FB), Morgantis, Morgantis (2)]