Play It Again Sam – Looking Through HR’s Crystal Ball – Prediction Five of Nine – Talent Acquisition

Recuriting WEBIn the January/February issue of HR Magazine, Josh Bersin with Deloitte, makes nine predictions of “what’s in store for HR in 2015.”   This is part five of a series of nine articles looking at each of these predictions.

Networking has a long history beginning around the industrial revolution. Before that, people lived in stable communities and interacted with the same people for most of their lives. They knew approximately 150 people. This number is known as Dunbar’s Number. Its definition is that 150 is “approximately the number of people we are programmed by evolution to know with some reasonably degree of familiarity.” This is according to While networking via social media has not been around quite as long, networking to recruit is a classic tune and always stays at the top of the charts.

When working in human resources departments of hotels a number of years ago, we offered a monetary reward to those employees who brought in someone they knew to apply for a job. If hired, the individual had to stay at work for 90 days and then the incumbent received his or her reward. When going out and about, especially if we ate at a restaurant, we were given cards to give out to someone we thought would be a good addition to our team all the while, singing the praises of our hotel. One networking “tune”, the “old boy network” has probably been around since Adam discovered another male romping around on the planet. So recruiting via networking is certainly not new. The way we do it has a new melody.

This new melody is the highly acclaimed social media tool kit. Social media has changed almost everything in our lives. Not only is it a way for organizations to find people, but sites like LinkedIn are how candidates network as well. While coaching two gentleman in their career/job change, I noticed that neither had their picture on their LinkedIn profile and their LinkedIn profile contained almost no information and one of them had a typo! LinkedIn profiles are like putting your resume out there for the world to see. Like it or not, that is where recruiting today most likely begins.

According to the 2014 survey by, 73% of companies will invest more in social media recruiting, 51% will invest in mobile recruiting, and 63%$ will invest more in referrals. Some organizations claim that recruiting via social media gleans candidates that are 44% more qualified than through traditional recruiting methods. In addition, social media provides somewhat of a 3600 picture of their lifestyles, values, and cultural factors. In other words, will this candidate be able to sing on the same page with us and in harmony. The hiring company is not the only one using social media in recruiting efforts.

According to Jobvite’s survey some 80% of recruiters are using social media as well. In fact, the cultural fit mentioned above is the main reason recruiters use social media as a recruiting tool. Social media also provides insight into whether or not a person is involved in their industry. Despite surveys suggesting that most people hate their jobs, there are many people who have a deep love of their industry leading to a valuable depth of knowledge. Social media can really help shine a light on that aspect of a candidate. However, keep in mind that social media is not without its downside.

According to, social media does have its sour notes. Any company that recruits via social media, must be aware of legal ramifications. Allen Smith, JD, writing for SHRM suggests:

  • Do not ask candidates for their Facebook password [or any social media password for that matter].
  • Check social media at the end of the application process. [Regardless of when you do the check, if decisions are made for disparate reasons, you’ll still be swinging like a bridge over troubled waters].
  • Review all social media sites, not just select ones. [Read my comment above and just change when to where].
  • Review social media sites consistently. [While this might give you snatches of information that could be removed at a later date, I’m not sure of the reasoning behind this one, but hey, he’s the attorney].
  • Review only public content.
  • Don’t just look at the information the candidate has posted, but also what others are posting about the individual.
  • Provide the candidate with the opportunity to explain anything on their sites that might be in question. [I can see this opening a can of worms for any candidate that might have a trigger finger for suing].
  • Comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act

While social media recruiting has turned into a seeming free for all, it can be tricky. Referrals are still high on the list for many recruiters. Referrals are certainly not perfect and neither is social media. If I don’t like something on any of my sites, I hide it or unfriend people, or whatever it takes to remove the content. However, the time it takes to police three or four sites is a valuable commodity I do not have. I dare say this is the same for the single working parent with two or three children. There are alternatives like not being on these sites or keeping all posts private. Then one runs the risk of having the question asked, so what is she/he trying to hide. Moreover, the article by Deloitte suggests that managers play a role in the possibility of inviting legal issues.

According to Deloitte: “Many managers are not well-trained at recruiting…the [recruiting] system breaks down if managers are not assessing people well.” The latter part of this is a blinding flash of the obvious. Your entire hiring system must be made up of the elements that help match the right person to the right position. Managers must not be required to do a solo performance on recruiting. Paying attention to polices and processes that provide a big payoff require attention. Training and embedding good habits into the organization’s culture is a low cost, yet effective way to establish good recruiting habits.

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