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In this digital age, it is important to embrace all the opportunities that are presented to us. The traditional way of recruiting employees mostly involves inviting job application after which the interviews are conducted and finally the successful applicants are announced. This process requires both the interviewers and interviewees to avail themselves physically which can be both a very time consuming and costly process. In an attempted to find a solution to these shortcomings, it is important to consider social media for employee recruitment. This essay critically examines whether indeed social media can be applied as an alternative to traditional recruitment to come up with a strong argument. This will include the benefits that would accompany this method and how critics might argue against it in an effort to show the better side.
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Thesis: Social Media is an incredible platform for recruiting future employees
Benefits of Using Social Media for Recruitment
People are increasingly using social media sites including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google +. These sites have increased information sharing as billions of users around the world upload their personal and professional information into the respective accounts (Macarthy, 2018). Organizations have opened their eyes into social media as an opportunity to interact with the public and their potential customers. Additionally, many corporates have realized that social media is a great way to recruit future employees. This is due to the many advantages associated with this practice (Macarthy, 2018).
One of the benefits of using social media for recruitment is the extended reach that it offers. According to the ‘Statista’ website, it is estimated that 2.77 billion people are using social media (Statista, 2019). Such numbers are massive and hard to ignore. Thus if a given company runs a recruitment campaign across social networks, it has the potential to reach out to millions of potential candidates. Such numbers cannot be matched by a traditional advertisement in a newspaper. While newspapers and pamphlets are limited by factors such as geographical ones and limited copies, social media is not. Applications such as LinkedIn and Facebook are used across borders and at any time thus increasing the job visibility.
The issue of passive candidates is also solved through social recruiting. These are candidates who are not actively looking for employment but are qualified for the advertised position. With traditional recruitment, it is hard to reach out to such candidates but with social media, it is much easier. This ensures that the recruiting company does not miss out on potential employers who are highly qualified. According to Morgan (2016), companies are using talent pools which are “groups across social media platforms”. These groups are important during recruiting campaigns as they can easily be targeted (Morgan, 2016).
Money is saved through social media recruitment. Consider this: placing a job ad on a newspaper cost a lot of money yet low job visibility. A post on Facebook, on the other hand, is free and reaches many people. This is however not to mean that a corporation does not incur costs to run a social media campaign, but this cost is relatively lower. Such costs include those of paid advertising on Facebook and those of obtaining a recruiter license on the LinkedIn site. It is, however, worth it especially considering the returns of getting just the right people for the job and the cost per hire (Topolovec-Vranic & Natarajan, 2016).
Another important characteristic of social recruitment is that it saves on time. A post on social media concerning a job vacancy can be shared a million times in just a few hours (Aichner & Jacob, 2015). However, when it comes to traditional means, it takes a lot of time for an ad to reach adequate people, therefore, time wasting. To be fair, it takes a considerable while to build a corporation’s brand online but assuming that the company has already invested in this practice, then the recruitment process becomes very quick.
It is much likely to obtain highly qualified candidates using social media recruitment as compared to traditional means. Presently, sites such as LinkedIn contain people’s full professional qualification including their various work experience. Similarly, Facebook user profiles contain information on education and professional achievements. A potential employer has all this information at their disposal from a large number of candidates hence they are likely to select the most qualified candidate for the job. Traditional recruitment practices are only limited to the applicants, hence ignoring groups like those of passive candidates. Additionally, a full screening of the candidates is also possible. Unlike in the case where a candidate’s information is limited to the resume contents, social media offers an individual’s information on a wide range of issues such as their hobbies, talents, and personalities in general. Closely related to this issue is the issue of running background checks. Traditionally, recruiter boards required referrals to run a background check of the applicant. However, such a practice lacks efficiency as the referral contacts may not have full information on the candidate. Social media offers background information on an applicant, which is in most cases easily accessible hence making it easy to select the right candidate (Melanthiou, Pavlou, & Constantinou, 2015).
Every corporation has a culture that it identifies with (Melanthiou et al., 2015). This culture is communicated through social media and if the company’s brand is well built online, then potential candidates are usually well aware of such a brand culture. Furthermore, the recruiters can investigate the candidates’ information to select the ones who much with their culture. This also contributes towards the selection of highly qualified candidates and simplifies the process of eliminating bad candidates whose cultural practices do not match those of the company. For instance, if a person is found to have posted content that appears to support gender-based violence and the interested company has a strong policy against such a vice, then such a candidate is eliminated. This is not the kind of information that one would find in a resume.
Shortcomings of Using Social Media for Recruitment
Despite the benefits associated with social recruitment, there are shortcomings associated with this practice. One of these is that social media is largely considered informal (Melanthiou et al., 2015). With the exception of LinkedIn which has a professional touch to it, the rest such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are not considered formal sites. This fact brings several associated problems. Take a scenario where a potential employer goes through a person’s post while recruiting. The employer then finds the posts to mostly consist of funny shared videos. There is a likelihood that the potential employer will conclude that the candidate is not serious while this may not necessarily be the case. This, therefore, introduces some kind of bias into the practice. In fear of such bias, users might not be their normal selves in the sites hence introducing a chance of selecting the wrong candidate. Additionally, not every qualified is in social media, hence such candidates might be left out of the recruitment process which contributes to some bias.
Secondly, scammers are increasing by the day across online platforms. These fraudsters lessen the credibility of online recruitment. This is because they make it hard for candidates to substantiate between legit ads for jobs and fake ones (Vidros, Kolias, & Kambourakis, 2016). These scammers coupled together with the hackers spoil the process. However, social media sites are working hard to deal with such individuals by strengthening the security of the sites and encouraging the reporting of fraudulent activities.
Finally there are some restrictions associated with social media recruitment. Such include that some sites such as Twitter has a limited number of characters that one can post. Also, there are privacy restrictions, whereby in an app like Facebook, some users have set their information as private hence a potential employer may not access such info (Morgan, 2016). Closely related to this is that if one does not constantly update their information, or omit some info, or even have inconsistencies in their info, then they might miss out on their job opportunities.
From my argument, it is clear that Social Media is an incredible platform for recruiting future employees. The benefits simply outweigh the shortcomings. The following that social media commands cannot be disputed by traditional means such as newspaper adverts. The savings on time and money are immense given that these are two of the greatest assets in a corporation. There is also a high success rate in choosing the most qualified candidate for the job given the extended reach and the information available in social media sites. The passive candidates are also accounted for and additionally, the companies’ culture is easily incorporated in the recruitment process since a candidate’s cultural information is available on social media. On the opposing side are a few shortcomings which mostly have solutions. Although mostly informal, sites such are designed for professionalism while the informal aspect of sites such as Facebook enables the potential employer to view the real and actual life information of potential candidates. When it comes to scammers and hackers, social media companies have achieved milestones to ensure that such cases are minimized if not fully eliminated. Finally, social media sites are constantly encouraging users to update their information to ensure that it is up to date. Given this argument, it is certain that indeed social media is the best means for recruiting the most suitable employees.
Aichner, T., & Jacob, F. (2015). Measuring the degree of corporate social media use. International Journal of Market Research, 57(2), 257-276.
Macarthy, A. (2018). 500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and More!. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Melanthiou, Y., Pavlou, F., & Constantinou, E. (2015). The use of social network sites as an e-recruitment tool. Journal of Transnational Management, 20(1), 31-49.
Morgan, H. (2016). How Social Recruiting Impacts Job Search. Career Planning and Adult Development Journal, 32(2), 33.
Statista. (2019). Number of social media users worldwide from 2010 to 2021 (in billions). Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users/
Topolovec-Vranic, J., & Natarajan, K. (2016). The use of social media in recruitment for medical research studies: A scoping review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(11).
Vidros, S., Kolias, C., & Kambourakis, G. (2016). Online recruitment services: Another playground for fraudsters. Computer Fraud & Security, 2016(3), 8-13.
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