More Companies Using Social Media to Reject Job Candidates

January 13, 2016 – More than one-third of companies have disqualified a job candidate in the past year because of concerns about information found on public social media or an online search, according to survey results just released by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Candidates were disqualified for illegal activity and discrepancies with job applications, among other reasons. However, 39 percent of survey participants also allowed those candidates to explain any concerning information, an increase of 13 percentage points compared to 2011.

The survey also found that more than two-thirds (66 percent) of organizations have taken steps to leverage mobile recruiting to target smartphone users. Most commonly, organizations have optimized their career web sites (39 percent), job postings (36 percent), and application processes (36 percent) for mobile users.

Recruiting via social media is a growing phenomenon: 84 percent of organizations use it currently and nine percent plan to use it. In 2011, only 56 percent used social media for recruitment. For many organizations (81 percent) in 2015 it was one of many tools used; five percent said it was their primary recruiting tool.

Finding passive job candidates (82 percent) continues to be the top reason that organizations use social media for recruitment. This was closely followed by increasing employer brand and recognition (77 percent), and targeting job candidates with a specific set of skills (71 percent).

Overall, 43 percent of organizations said they use social media or online research engines to screen job candidates. Forty-four percent of HR professionals agreed that a job candidate’s public social media profile can provide information about work-related performance.

The report found that 73 percent of respondents said that LinkedIn was the most effective site for recruitment while Facebook, Twitter and professional/association social networking sites continue to gain momentum.


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“Social media is another way recruiters verify applicants’ employment history and ensure that they are still viable applicants,” said Evren Esen, director of survey programs at SHRM. “Social media is here to stay, so employers and employees are utilizing it in various ways throughout the job search process.”

The survey also asked about job levels recruited via social media. Responses compared to prior years’ surveys include:

  •  Non-management, salaried: 87 percent, unchanged from 2013 and up from 82 percent in 2011
  •  Management: 82 percent, up from 80 percent in 2013 and 77 percent in 2011
  •  Non-management, hourly employees: 55 percent, up from 48 percent in 2013 and 33 percent in 2011
  •  Executive/upper management: 45 percent, up from 41 percent in 2013 and 39 percent in 2011

Numerous other reports have surfaced showing the increasing role social media is having on recruiting. Another recent SHRM survey, “The Importance of Social Media for Recruiters and Job Seekers,” found that nearly two-thirds of companies (65 percent) found new hires through social media in the past year.

The study revealed that 57 percent of organizations found new employees through LinkedIn, 30 percent through professional or association network sites, and 19 percent through Facebook. Overall, 87 percent of HR professionals said it was either very or somewhat important for job seekers to be on LinkedIn.

A report jointly produced by The Boston Consulting Group and Recruit Works Institute, titled ‘Job Seeker Trends 2015: Channels, Search Time, and Income Change,’ found that a majority of job seekers (55 percent) now use the Internet to seek employment and 33 percent rate Internet job sites as the most effective channel for finding a job.

Other reports have also found a similar shift underway. According to the 2015 Work Trends report released late in 2015 by Adecco Group, the role of social networks and mobile platforms in the job seeking and recruiting process is becoming more relevant. Among social networks, LinkedIn remains the most popular platform for professional purposes, for both recruiters (61 percent) and job seekers (34 percent), whereas Facebook is the go-to network for all social activities including personal branding says the report.

According to data released by Peoplefluent, 69 percent of recruiting professionals said that social recruiting was one of the top five actions facilitated by technology for successful talent acquisition strategies.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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