Organizations Increasingly Use Social Networking Web Sites to Fill Jobs

Oct 8, 2008

Survey finds HR professionals still rely on time-tested recruiting techniques, however

Alexandria, Va. − Since 2006, there has been a 17 percent increase in human resource professionals who use social networking sites as recruiting, resumé verification, and applicant screening tools at least occasionally, according to a survey released today by the world’s largest human resources organization. And what they find can be damaging to an applicant’s hiring prospects.

The overview of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey, Online Technologies and Their Impact on Recruitment Strategies—Using Social Networking Web Sites to Attract Talent, showed organizations still recruit primarily through national online job boards (48 percent), but 3 percent of human resource professionals make social networking sites their primary recruiting source.

“Social networking sites will change forever how human resource professionals recruit new employees, check for corporate culture fit, and verify resumé accuracy,” said China Gorman, acting president and CEO of SHRM. “HR professionals need to use caution when they see potential inaccuracies on social networking profiles, and employees should be wary of how they portray themselves online. SHRM’s survey shows that negative information contained in profiles has more of an impact on hiring decisions than positive information.”

Key findings in responses from nearly 600 HR professionals:

• Negative information on an applicant’s social networking profile, such as personal views or values contradictory to the hiring organization, negative or slanderous discussions of current or former employers, friends, or co-workers, and excessive alcohol use, have a greater impact on hiring decisions than positive information.

• Social networking sites were most effective (“somewhat” or “very effective”) in recruiting for exempt/non-management (61 percent) and middle management (64 percent) positions.

• The top reasons for using social networking sites for contact and recruitment were to recruit passive applicants who might not otherwise apply (69 percent), followed by the ability to target applicants with specific job levels (40 percent) and skill sets (38 percent).

• Organizations who don’t use social networking sites to contact and recruit applicants cited a lack of staff time to add this recruiting method (49 percent), and questions about credibility of information from those sites (42 percent).

For more information on SHRM Surveys, please visit:


About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. The Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 245,000 members in over 130 countries, and more than 575 affiliated chapters. Visit


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