Wanted: HR Professionals with Social Media Skills

By Aliah D. Wright Sep 1, 2011

Between May 26, 2011 and Aug. 24 2011, more than 1,000 new ads for HR occupations have included requirements for social media skills, nearly a 160 percent increase over the same period in 2010, according to WANTED Analytics.

The firm, which collects detailed hiring-demand data, said those skills include being able to develop new recruiting strategies and source talent by using the Internet and social networking sites. Those candidates looking for social media HR jobs need to be abreast of new, innovative sourcing techniques and recruitment best practices and know how to utilize web searches, apps, job boards and social media sites to create community and generate leads. Candidates for these HR jobs should do more than tweet job openings or scour LinkedIn or Facebook pages in hopes of finding talent.

WANTED said companies are looking for candidates who can:

Direct web traffic to corporate career sites through social media channels.

Proactively identify and attract passive talent through inexpensive sources such as social media.

Build and maintain a pipeline of prospects through networking and social media research, while maintaining a “robust LinkedIn profile.”

Learn and create Boolean search strings and perform advanced search techniques.

Assist in placing employment ads to appropriate sources, to include websites, social media and other sources.

Even though companies are actively seeking recruiters with social media skills, according to a recent poll from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), few businesses are using web-based resources, such as online search engines and social networking websites to screen applicants.

According to SHRM poll respondents, legal risks and ramifications ranked as the top reason why they did not use Internet-based resources to screen applicants. Other top reasons included a lack of verifiable data and a lack of job-related information found through those methods.

“One of the traditional concerns about allowing HR or any decision-maker in the company to look at social media sites is that they will have exposure to information and knowledge about an applicant’s or employee’s membership in a protected class or their participation ​in protected conduct,” said David H. Black, an employment attorney at Jackson Lewis LLP in Seattle where he is the legislative director for the SHRM Washington State Council and the Seattle chapter of SHRM. He said HR professionals should always proceed with caution when looking at the social media sites of applicants or employees or consider having someone else in the company (such as an intern) do this type of research when searching for talent.

“We’ve heard the ‘buzz’ about social recruiting,” said Bruce Murray, CEO of WANTED Technologies. “But the facts are showing that forward-looking companies are now expecting their recruiters to have mastered this core competency. Social recruiting has moved beyond ‘buzz’ and is definitely mainstream.”

According to WANTED, demand for social media experience should continue and recruiting conditions will be moderately difficult nationwide.

The five metropolitan areas with the highest hiring demand for HR professionals with social media skills during this period were New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia. Recruiters in New York placed more online job ads for HR professionals, the most of any city. However, of these five areas, Philadelphia experienced the greatest year-over-year increase at more than 400 percent.

Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM.​​​


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