What is Social HR? – The new rule of talent acquisition

January 30, 2018
5 mins

#DidYouKnow: 92% of recruiters use social media for hiring, and there are more than 100 portals serving as job boards.

#DidYouKnow: Over 87% of non-management and salaried employees were recruited through social media.

#DidYouKnow: Over 82% of management employees came from social media.

The above survey by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) gives some deep insights into the rising importance of social media in recruitment.

What is Social HR?

Social media has seen an unparalleled rise in the last few years and has redefined the way we use the internet. It won’t be wrong if we say it has created a parallel ecosystem for individuals and businesses alike.

Now organizations, and even the government, can no longer survive on bi-monthly newspaper advertisements or get away with mere yearly employee brochures. They need to be active on social media to cater to employees, customers, and, sometimes, even business partners.

The challenge lies in not just finding the right talent through social media but also in nurturing it while ensuring enough privacy.

Often while dealing with talent challenges, HR is unable to draw the line between maintaining the traditions of the organization while doing away with the legacy model.

Especially, when it comes to tools like social media and individual freedom of speech for employees on online platforms.

Most of the concerns about being around the privacy or freedom of the candidates.

In an age where one negative feedback on an online portal can impact your prospects of getting the best candidates, it’s extremely important for Human Resource personnel to be conscious of the choices they make.

Here’s how you can use social media for your talent management purposes and how you can improve on Social HR.

How HR uses social media


Social HR, what is social HR, Social HR for hiring

Source: Social talent

The best way to screen the finest talent

Check out this detailed video on social media for the Human resource by Kristy Bryant.

While social media is credited to be one of the reliable sources for garnering information about prospective employees, it’s also accused of revealing information like religion, caste, color, political affiliation, gender, marital status, etc. These are the usual parameters of discrimination that work against diversity initiatives. Hence, it’s important for HR personnel to devise methods to screen talent smartly.

As Allyson Willoughby, former General Counsel and SVP of People (HR) Glassdoor, says on the use of social media in the screening process,

“Don’t do anything different with social media than you would do with a face-to-face interview.”

According to experts, the best way to deploy social media in hiring processes is to involve a third party who does the screening for you.

People who do the screening need to be educated about the exact requirements for the designation they are shortlisting the candidates for. This serves as a firewall between the employer and the candidate and ensures an unbiased approach. When they (HR) do the background check of the candidate through social media as part of the screening process, it’s important for them to keep a check on the legal implications of the process.

Use of pre-assessment tools, like Hackerearth Recruit, can also be a great idea for HR managers looking for zero human interference in their recruitment processes.

Like the US, India also has laws against discrimination against minorities in recruitment, so it’s important for the organization to adhere to the terms and conditions of these policies.

How should a Social HR use online properties wisely

One of the key challenges that have surfaced with the deployment of social media channels for recruitment purposes is that they don’t represent the global candidate pool.

According to a  recent survey, LinkedIn and Facebook have shown a smaller user base of minority communities in comparison to the general population. Hence, diversity initiatives take a hit in situations like these. Thus, the HR person needs to resort to traditional recruitment routes of job boards, advertisements in dailies, and mention it clearly on their website that they believe in equal opportunity.

You can even encourage your current employees to recommend their friends from minority communities and attach a greater referral bonus to such initiatives to boost your diversity efforts.

How can Social HR ensure positive image on social media

Recently, a few incidences surfaced where organizations faced the brunt of negative feedback from estranged employees.

Situations like these put the HR personnel in a tight spot as they don’t have much control over employees who have left the job and even if they do have, through some legal clauses, it’s not financially feasible for them to pursue the case against a single or a bunch of employees.

Moreover, it dampens the morale of current employees. The bigger issue with sites such as Glassdoor or other job portals is that they don’t really delete the comments sent by the reviewers.

The question is, how does HR counter the negativity against the brand?  

The wiser thing to do here would be to involve your social media managers or Online Reputation Management experts at the right time as larger organizations receive dozens of such negative comments on a monthly basis and that too on multiple portals.

Usually, digital marketing teams are equipped with tools that help you track down multiple websites in the shortest time. Identification of negative comments sooner helps counter them faster. A positive or humble reply to the negative comment or trying to understand the problem of the commentator gives the brand a better image.

At the same time, you can ask your current employees to write about their experience and give ratings to your brand on social media. This will help improve your ratings and thereby counter the negativity.

But while you fix these issues online, it’s important to sit back and consider why an employee is posting negative comments. 

If this happens regularly, then it’s really time to reflect on the organizational culture and make changes for the better.

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Social HR – Ensuring employee engagement and development

The rise of social media has given greater ideas to the organizations. Many big organizations have come up with their own internal networking platforms to boost connectivity and employment among employees.

For example, InterGlobe Aviation (IndiGo) has its own portal, My 6E World, which offers employees opportunities to socialize with peers and access necessary documents like leave policies, etc.

Portals like these are a constructive platform for employees to vent their opinions in a controlled environment and at the same time make it easier for HR to understand the mindset and trends.

A few organizations are introducing learning courses for their organizations in their intra-networks while encouraging their employees to “compete” in a friendly way to boost employee engagement. For example, you can give brownie points or perks for the highest scorers in the course. Some tech organizations are organizing hackathons to boost transparency in their appraisal or internal hiring processes.

Summing up, the presence of social media in recruitment or talent management initiatives cannot be denied. Social media has penetrated deeply into the processes and is now bringing both opportunities and challenges to talent leaders everywhere.

As we said before, it’s more like a parallel ecosystem which thrives on data and information and needs equal attention, both from the employer and candidate. People who understand its power, in the long run, will be clear winners of the Game of Talent.  

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About the Author

Arpit Mishra
Avid book reading advocate. Hardcore travel nerd. Technology freak. Follow me on LinkedIn to get more Insights on Tech Recruitment.

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