SHRM Releases New Study on Technology and Workforce Recruiting

February 16, 2016
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A new SHRM study shows technology is becoming an essential element of employers’ talent recruiting strategies across all industries and in all regions.

In the all-out war for workforce talent, social media and electronic devices have become a critical battlefield. That’s the thrust of a recent report from the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), Using Social Media for Talent Acquisition – Recruiting and Screening. Researchers surveyed some 410 HR professionals from their membership ranks and asked about whether and how they were leveraging social media platforms and electronic devices to reach their respective potential recruiting and talent pools.

The results indicate that social media engagement isn’t just an optional adjunct to traditional recruiting methods. It’s become an essential element of employers’ talent recruiting strategies across all industries and in all regions.

Some of the survey’s highlights include:

  • 2 out of 3 employers have made concerted efforts to improve mobile recruiting technologies and applications. For example, 4 out of 10 report that they have optimized their career websites for smartphones, and another 36 percent have also optimized their application process to accommodate cell phone users.
  • 84 percent of employers now actively use social media to recruit new talent. That’s a big increase over 2011. That year, only 56 percent of employers were using social media for recruiting purposes. Another 9 percent are planning to do so. That leaves 7 percent in the dark ages. We suspect a large number of those 7 percent who happen to work in the private sector will soon be losing their jobs and be replaced by smarter people.
  • The focus is mostly on ‘passive’ job candidates rather than active job seekers. These candidates are those currently working who are not actively looking to change employers, but who respond when contacted about other opportunities. Some 82 percent of HR professionals responding reported that the primary objective of social media recruiting activities was directed at reaching passive job candidates. 77 percent reported their social media efforts were intended to further employer branding and recognition.
  • 71 percent told researchers that they used social media to reach potential applicants with “a specific set of skills.”
  • More than 4 in 10 employers who responded to the report are using social media and online search engines to screen candidates, and more than a third say they’ve disqualified applicants or candidates because of information found on social media or using search engines to check out a job applicant. Respondents cited evidence of illegal activity or discrepancies with information on the application as reasons they disqualified an applicant. Only a minority (39 percent) allow applicants to explain any discrepancies before getting their resume’s tossed in the trash. The rest will probably never know why they were turned down for employment.

All that said, there are still some areas of mobile recruiting with some room for growth. Only 21 percent of employers reported they use technology specifically designed for mobile devices. And just 23 percent are leveraging this technology to provide applicants and other targeted workers with regular updates.

Just 17 percent even track whether their digital interactions with applicants occur on computers or mobile devices. And just 13 percent accept a social networking profile in lieu of a resume.

34 percent of employers report they have not yet taken any actions regarding leveraging mobile technology to reach potential workers.

Preferred Platforms

LinkedIn was the far-and-away recruiting platform of choice for employers – 96 percent of employers who use social media for recruiting purposes rely on LinkedIn. That’s been constant since 2011.

66 percent of employers who use social media for recruiting use Facebook, 53 percent use Twitter, and 35 percent use a professional or association networking site.

Just 12 percent use Google+ – and we suspect a bunch of those respondents work at Google or want to target their workers!

Only 3 percent use Pinterest. So all you guys with embarrassing Tumblr accounts are probably off the hook.