Social Networking Websites Gain in Popularity as Employer Recruiting Tool

Apr 11, 2011
Social Networking Websites Gain in Popularity as an Employer Recruiting Tool

San Diego, April 11, 2011 — More than half of human resource professionals (56 percent) use social networking websites to source potential job candidates, a significant increase from 2008 (34 percent), according to a new poll from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

The poll – SHRM Research Spotlight: Social Networking Websites and Staffing, which was released at SHRM’s 2011 Talent and Staffing Management Conference​ in San Diego – found that, not only are more employers using social networking websites to find new employees, organizations not using the sites currently are more open to utilizing them in the future. One-fifth of organizations (20 percent) do not use social networking sites, but plan to use them in the future. Only 21 percent stated that they currently do not use social networking sites and have no plans to do so in the future, down from 45 percent in 2008.

“Employers are increasingly using social networking sites to engage passive job seekers – those who aren’t really actively seeking new jobs, but might change for the right opportunity,” said Mark J. Schmit, Ph.D., SPHR, director of research at SHRM. “These sites can be valuable tools for organizations to find prospective employees with the specific skill sets and experience that they might not necessarily find through more traditional recruiting methods. The new SHRM poll found that organizations using social networking sites to recruit job applicants are using the sites most in the recruitment of employees for non-managerial salaried positions and managerial-level jobs, like directors and managers.”

The top reasons employers use social networking websites – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other sites – to identify applicants are:

  • to source passive job candidates who might not otherwise apply for open jobs or be contacted by the organizations’ recruiters (84 percent); 
  • to use a less expensive method than other ways of recruiting job candidates (67 percent); and 
  • to increase employer brand and recognition (60 percent).
Most organizations using social networking websites to source job applicants use LinkedIn (95 percent). Other sites are not used as frequently, such as Facebook (58 percent), Twitter (42 percent) and professional or association social networking sites (23 percent).

When using social networking sites to identify candidates, the majority of HR professionals fill non-managerial salaried jobs (82 percent) and management-level positions, such as director- and manager-level jobs, (77 percent). Fewer organizations fill executive and upper management (39 percent) and non-managerial hourly positions (36 percent).

HR professionals report social networking websites are most efficient in recruiting managerial-level employees, such as directors and managers (58 percent); non-managerial salaried employees (58 percent); and executive and upper management (52 percent) positions. Forty-one percent of HR professionals find the sites to be effective for identifying employees for non-managerial hourly jobs.

For more information, visit the research section of at Follow SHRM Research on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

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. Representing more than 250,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at and follow us on Twitter at

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