Friday 18 August 2017

Pros and Cons of using Social Media to Recruit

Social Media - there's no denying it governs everything consumers do. It's a valuable means of communication, and brand dissemination, between businesses and their market.

Most potential candidates and applicants for sales jobs will, too, use social media, and as of such it may be increasingly tempting to use social media to recruit sales staff.

LinkedIn seems to provide the best blend of business and social media - allowing individuals to display their experience, but it to has its caveats. To help you conquer the world of social media recruitment we've compiled a quick pros and cons list of social media & LinkedIn.

For a more in-depth guide on how to properly utilize social media check out 'How to Recruit Effectively with Social Media'.

Social Media Pros


Social Media recruitment is free, it costs nothing to go onto candidate profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (presuming they're public not private) and have a root around. While this doesn't equate to reading through CV's etc. it does allow you gain further insight into a candidate's life without spending any extra pennies. Here's our FAQ on Recruitment Costs.


As mentioned just above; using social media when recruiting can let you understand a candidate's personality, and how they behave outside of work. This can indicate if they're a party animal, if they share lots of interesting news - or even if they often say undesirable things for all to see. Do remember, however, that while someone may act one way in their personal life - it may have no impact on their professional capacities, it's about judging character in both realms. Remember, social media isn't enough to give insight into personal qualities - but the right interview questions can be.


By far the best advantage of social media is that it offers platforms for candidates to really be creative. There have been many stories of applicants using websites as innovative portfolios and CV's - but on social media people can constantly showcase their creativity. Social media permits recruiters to see if applicants are passionate about projects/interests and if they have talents which are harder to communicate in a CV or cover letter.

Social Media Cons

Discrimination Issues

It is illegal to discriminate for reasons of age, race, religion, gender, physicality, health, marital status, and more  (check out our article on discrimination law here). If a candidate has reason to suspect you've discriminated against them based on what you've found online you could be in trouble. Not only would you be liable to charges, but you could also have misinterpreted what you've seen. What is depicted online is not always the whole story, nor is it completely representational of a person's character.

Falsified Personas

Leading on from the last point, candidates can manipulate their social media output - making them appear far more desirable than, in reality, are. For example, an individual could share hosts of news articles on their Facebook - making them seem educated, without ever having read them. They could present themselves as composed and professional through their photo/media uploads - when they might not be. Take everything you see with a grain of salt.

Encourages Oversight

Using social media also overlooks relevant experience, it will never equate to a CV's capability at detailing an individual's experience and history. If you do choose to use social media in your recruitment campaign make sure you balance it by giving due diligence to applicant CV's, cover letter's, and references. Using social media is never enough on it's own - it won't give you a holistic idea of whether a candidate is suitable for your business. For more advice on analysing applicants, check out how to shortlist candidates.

LinkedIn Social Media Recruitment Campaigns and their impact

In short - it doesn't ultimately change the face of recruitment. But it does add another recruitment
channel, and it is an incredibly useful tool for recruitment.

LinkedIn has two major facets which alter the recruitment game:

Personal Profiles

Personal profiles are the basic user account on LinkedIn these let users market themselves towards other users, and companies. They can act as an extended CV, detailing employment history, skills, and personal qualities and interests. Skills can even be commended by peers to add credibility to claims.

Pros of LinkedIn Profiles

LinkedIn profiles are beneficial for recruitment because they allow for recruiters to ascertain an individuals skills and interest, and employment history, at a glance. This provides insight, and also validation to their claims. For a first impression its an incredibly useful tool - and can be used to reach out for candidates who aren't applying for roles actively should you wish to headhunt. Profiles also detail an individuals connections (people they've digitally networked with) - to see if they have any useful contacts, or if their contacts are spammy - suggesting they have little credibility and try to offset it with masses of useless contacts.

Cons of LinkedIn Profiles

Contrastingly so, LinkedIn profiles can contain falsified information, or have skills reviewed by peers - boosting their image to one above their genuine capabilities. As of such recruiting from LinkedIn has to consider alternate routes of validation - using references, checking CV, and always interviewing a candidate. Should you look at a candidate they will also get a notification to say you've been on their profile - which can be troublesome if you wish to remain unknown.

Company Pages on LinkedIn

Company Pages, albeit still in their early stages, are community facing pages for brands and companies. Allowing a business to share information with it's following, and must exist for users to claim they have worked there - all decent employers should have one of these pages. If a user claims to work for a business, and it doesn't have a page it would suggest the business doesn't exist, or isn't savvy enough to use LinkedIn. But maintaining one has pros and cons for LinkedIn recruitment.

Pros of Company Pages

Having a company page on LinkedIn allows you to interact with professionals in your market - allowing for you to work on your brand, and getting it into relevant spheres. Create and share the right content on LinkedIn and you can position yourself as an expert in your field. Perhaps, more importantly for recruitment you can post job roles on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has its own job posting system - allowing candidates to apply to you directly - however this is severely limited in function, and is typically a good way to create a longlist of candidates before slimming it down.

Cons of Company Pages

Company pages are also a burden - if poorly maintained it reflects negatively on your business, damaging your brand identity. Job postings on LinkedIn only allow for users to apply using LinkedIn's own 'quick apply' - which uses the information on a users profile to make an ad-hoc CV and allows user to type a brief cover letter. This means the information you get is rarely specialized, and provides a general overview - not helping at all to determine candidate suitability.

As of such using LinkedIn to post jobs cannot be relied on to find and recruit a proper candidate, it needs to be combined with traditional methods. Using a recruitment agency is often the best way, as they know the best circles in which to post jobs and to longlist candidates - and then shortlist them to deliver you a tailored selection of the best candidates. Recruiting alone, or purely on social media prevents you from getting the full picture, and while it can provide incredibly useful insight into an individual's creativity and talent, it's best to use it for a closer interrogation of already shortlisted candidates.

To find the perfect professionals for your business a recruiter can often provide valuable assistance, critiquing and shortlisting candidates to save you time and expense. Fortunately, Aaron Wallis do just that - better than anyone else,  see what we do here.

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