Oh boy has this article got under my skin!

Social media as part of the recruitment process; force for good, or all that is bad about humanity?

That is actually the end of this article. That is the question I am posing, but it’s certainly not where I started.

Just over a week ago we had our weekly huddle at Digital 51, this is where we each talk about anything and everything that is on our mind at that point. It’s where we share ideas, bounce things round, and hopefully solve a few problems.

I raised how I thought social media could be more positively used as part of the recruitment process.

I’m not talking LinkedIn here. We all know that is a tried and tested social channel for everything to do with work. My idea came from the fact I work with lots of Designers and their socials are full of fantastic examples of their work, passion and lives, and in many cases it brings their personality to life.

For me, using this as part of a recruitment process alongside the traditional CV or portfolio is a no-brainer, it just makes sense, and is a real positive.

When I went to investigate this further however, and I might have been a bit naive going into my search, but I was shocked in regard to the negative impact socials where already having on recruitment.

Writing in the Harvard Business Review in late 2021 Rose Wong for example wrote:

‘Social media sites offer a free, easily accessed portrait of what a candidate is really like.’

I started my article of the opinion social channels should be used as ‘part’ of a person review, it turns out in many cases these are being used as a stand along filter. A way of ruling people out.

Career Builder completed a large study in October 2021 which found 70% of employers reviewed social media channels when recruiting. OK, well that made sense to me, firstly you’ll have LinkedIn within that, and secondly maybe socials are reviewed after interviewing someone.

It turns out however this is not the case, as a further 54% of respondents confirmed they had rejected people purely based on their social media presence, without seeing anything further about the person (such as a CV.)

How can this be right?

How can looking at someone’s personal social media, in many cases without their permission, and making a decision about what they are like as a person, be right?

You can’t tell who someone is from social media, we all know that right? We all know that social media, especially FaceBook, TikTok, and Insta aren’t real life, right? This is not a true reflection on who people are, these could be anything in reality; escapism, fun, expressionism, or something they have forgotten about and not used for years.

Social media is not real life, so lets not make real life decisions based on it.

I don’t agree with the many articles I found which explained how to represent the best side of you, the most positive side of you, and all that is good about you across your socials. All of this just in-case a potential employer decides to stalk you prior to even meeting you.

Surely if a business is going to behave like that you would not want to join them?

For me, the potential of social media to improve the recruitment process has real positive potential. From what I have seen so far, we are however living the complete opposite reality of that.

So, I finish where I started; social media as part of the recruitment process, force for good, or all that is bad about?

What do you think?

This article was painstakingly written by Callum Green, Resourcing Partner at Digital 51. Do you agree with Callum that social media could be used in a more positive way as part of the recruitment process? Or are people giving permission to be reviewed by having their socials open for anyone to look at? Drop Callum a line on and let him know your thoughts, he’d love to hear from you.