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Social Media’s Impact on Hiring: 2011 SHRM Survey

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In April 2011, the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted a  SHRM Staffing Research Survey: “Social Networking Websites and Staffing.” A sample of HR professionals were randomly selected from SHRM’s membership database, which included approximately 250,000 individual members at the time the poll was conducted. The sample was composed of members with the job function of recruiting/staffing. For this analysis, 541 responses were used, yielding a response rate of 18%. The margin of error for this poll was +/- 4%.  In hopes of creating a stronger comparison, the results of the survey were compared to a 2008 SHRM Research Survey: “Online Technologies and Their Impact on Recruitment Strategies.”

What Did They Define as Social Media?

SHRM defined social media as any type of virtual interpersonal communication or media that included social interaction; media that transforms people from content consumers to content producers. It also included various forms of user-generated content and the collection of websites and applications that enable persons to interact online; such as LinkedIn; Facebook; Twitter.

Key Findings

More than one-half (56%) of the organizations currently use social networking websites when recruiting potential job candidates. This is a significant increase since 2008, when a little over one-third (34%) of organizations were using these sites as a recruiting tool.

Among organizations that used social networking sites for recruiting, the most utilized social networking website in 2011 was LinkedIn (95%). This was followed by Facebook (58%) and Twitter (42%).

The percentage of respondents who believe that social networking websites are efficient for recruiting nonmanagement, management and executive-level employees has increased significantly since 2008. One respondent mentioned, “Social networking websites allow an employer the opportunity to gather initial information about a job candidate before a single word has been exchanged.”

When asked  the top reasons they are using social networking websites for staffing, 84% of the organizations indicated they are using social networking websites to recruit passive job candidates who might not otherwise apply or be contacted by the organization (69% in 2008). In addition, 67% of the organizations reported that they use social networking websites because it is less expensive than other methods of recruiting candidates, while 60% also reported that they use these sites to increase their organization brand and recognition.

For more on this data, visit the 2011 SHRM Research Survey.


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