More than 80% of the respondents stated that they, the majority of the time, use LinkedIn for recruitment.
In this regard, they noted LinkedIn's business focus to be the most decisive factor. Compared to other social networking sites, such as Facebook, companies favor LinkedIn because of its strict focus on business-related content and information. Indeed, most of the respondents see Facebook and Twitter as rather "social" platforms, which often end up becoming a waste of time for recruitment due to their great amount of non-business-related information (e.g. members posting what they have for breakfast). The vast majority of the interviewees clarified that they simply do not have the time to comb through all the information that people publish on social media. Moreover, they explained this would result in extremely time-consuming recruiting activities, which might even decrease a company's efficiency. Also, they see Facebook as too risky for both the candidate's, and the company's reputation. Its extremely high focus on personal content (e.g. private pictures, videos, and comments) could harm a person's professional image, which could be associated with the employer. Furthermore, the interviewees stated that they do not necessarily see Facebook as a qualified medium to base decisions on.
According to the respondents, companies and recruiters have to be careful about how they select candidates based on individual information placed on "social" platforms like Facebook. There does not necessarily have to be a connection between a person's youthful folly posted on its personal Facebook account years ago, and the candidate's professional performance and attitude. Nevertheless, this is an aspect that the respondents valued differently. Based on LinkedIn's business character, the interviewees outlined the value of its diverse means to search, contact and review candidates as another advantage LinkedIn has over other social networking sites. In fact, LinkedIn's profiles that are akin to a digital resume allowing companies to access information about a candidate (e.g. profile picture), which were never possible before using traditional means of recruitment.
In conclusion, nearly all of the respondents pointed out that it is important to use LinkedIn, and social networking sites in general, effectively in order to benefit from its opportunities for recruitment. Otherwise, they can turn out to be rather obstructive, than supportive as a recruiting tool.
About the author: During her MBA at Pfeiffer University in Charlotte, North Carolina, Anna Schweifel worked for an American executive recruiting company based in South Carolina. While writing her Master's dissertation to complete her graduate studies in the United States, she conducted empirical research to gain greater insights for the application of social networking sites concerning recruitment across international companies. As part of her research, the author interviewed more than a dozen high-level managers from various companies located within the United States to outline the practical usage of LinkedIn and more for recruitment. The outcomes are four key findings that illustrate the American perspective of using Social Media for recruitment.