CDI Corporation

Finding Right-Fit Candidates through Social Media

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It’s no secret that employers research job candidates’ social media profiles to help them make hiring decisions. In fact, social media presence has become vitally important in the hiring process. According to CDI subsidiary MRINetwork’s 2017 Recruiter Sentiment Study, over 80 percent of employers and 90 percent of recruiters review social media profiles sometimes or all of the time for insight on permanent and contract candidates.

With the advent of social media, companies have more information than ever on job candidates. Hiring managers and HR departments can put together a more comprehensive profile of candidates, beyond what might be seen on a resume or gleaned during interviews. In addition to information about experience and skills, they get a better glimpse into their lifestyle, values and cultural fit.

John Lewis, director of sales operations for CDI, points out that social media, is a two-way street that affects a company’s ability to attract candidates: “While employers use it to put together a more complete profile of potential new hires, those candidates are most likely checking social media to determine if the company’s mission and culture are in sync with their values and career aspirations.”

Lewis offers the following guidelines on what to look for when reviewing the social media presence of potential candidates:

  • Do you see evidence of thought leadership? Often candidates register with networks or groups devoted to particular business sectors that offer market intelligence, and provide a platform for discussing trends and interacting with like-minded professionals. Look at the kind of information they are sharing and their comments on other people’s posts to determine if they possess leadership qualities, or if they are influencers who may have a strong following.
  • How frequently are they engaged in social media? Low frequency, for example, may indicate lack of tech savvy, or the kind of person who prefers one-on-one relationships. A frequent poster may be someone who has a point of view on a variety of topics, is a social butterfly, or simply wants to share experiences with friends and family in the most efficient way. Well-populated profiles on professional sites like LinkedIn typically indicate that candidates are thinking about their careers and keeping abreast of industry trends. Assessing these habits and patterns can help you decide whether a candidate fits the parameters of your position. Their posts and updates can also help you evaluate their critical thinking and writing abilities, which for some positions are essential skills.
  • What special hobbies or interests do they pursue? Although this may not reveal much relevance to their professional abilities, it can give you an idea about other talents they possess, their commitment to helping others, or their involvement with their communities – all of which may be qualities of benefit to your organization.
  • Do any of their posts run counter to the guiding principles of your company? Social media gives you the ability to research candidates before making contact with them, which can help you find employees who are the best suited to your company’s culture and mission. If their posts reflect your values and your goals, you will likely want to delve further into their suitability for your blended workforce.

Lewis observes that online personas are frequently misjudged or wrongly interpreted. “Top talent may be passed over based solely on an ill-advised photo or status update,” he says. “If the candidate scores well on qualifications, experience and accomplishments, it’s important to delve deeper rather than walk away too quickly, especially in today’s candidate-tight market. Using personal social media in the recruitment process carries the risk of violating data protection laws or other legislation. “Interviewing and assessment should be used to reconcile concerns that arise as a result of social media,” he advises. “You always want to avoid making candidates feel that they are being treated unfairly during the recruitment process.”

Although social media is a useful tool for evaluating candidates, Lewis does not regard it as a replacement for personal contact and tried-and-true recruitment practices for assessing candidates. “Placing too much emphasis on social media findings,” he warns, “can backfire if it results in failing to consider candidates who are qualified and interested in becoming part of your company.” “It could lead to overlooking or deterring strong candidates to the detriment of the business, especially in today’s candidate-driven market.”

CAUTION – If you learn of a candidate’s protected characteristic(s) such as (age, sex, race, color, religion, national origin, etc.) by reviewing the candidate’s social media sites, you may not allow that to influence your willingness to recruit that candidate. Likewise, you should not share that information with anyone involved in the hiring process.

Recent CDI Analysis

“Social media is a two-way street that affects a company’s ability to attract candidates. While employers use it to put together a more complete profile of potential new hires, those candidates are most likely checking social media to determine if the company’s mission and culture are in sync with their values and career aspirations.”

John Lewis
Director, Sales Operations
CDI Corporation

Employment Situation (U.S.)

U.S. employment gains exceeded expectations in November, with the country adding 228,000 total nonfarm positions. Bloomberg economists had predicted job gains of 195,000. The unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent in November, with 6.6 million people unemployed. Over the year, the jobless rate has decreased by 0.5 percentage point.

"These are really strong numbers, which is pretty exciting, since this is our first clean read after the volatility associated with the hurricanes," said Josh Wright, chief economist at software firm iCIMS, in an interview with The Washington Post.

The several consecutive months of larger-than-expected job gains and downward trending unemployment rate point to a strengthening economy.

Professional and business services added 46,000 jobs in November. Over the year, the industry has gained 548,000 new positions.

Construction saw an increase among specialty trade contractors, adding 23,000 over the month.
Employment in retail trade, transportation and warehousing and  financial activities was little changed in November.

Wages did not increase as much as economists expected in November, with average hourly earnings for all private nonfarm employees increasing $0.05 in November to reach $26.55.

Over the year, earnings increased 2.5 percent, falling short of the anticipated 2.7 percent growth, Bloomberg reported.

However, most economists believe that wage growth will accelerate as the unemployment rate continues to drop, The New York Times explained.

The strong November jobs report makes it likely that the Federal Reserve will vote to raise interest rates next week.

"Not that it was a hurdle to raising rates next week, but the Fed will feel very comfortable with this kind of a jobs report," said Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies LLC, in an interview with Bloomberg.

The vote to raise rates would close out a strong year for the U.S. economy.

The full Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be downloaded by
clicking here.

Employment Situation (Canada)

Canadian employment gains far exceeded expectations in November, with the country adding 80,000 jobs during the month, according to data released by Statistics Canada.

Economists had forecast that Canada would add just 10,000 jobs in November, Global News reported. The increase in jobs helped bring the unemployment rate down from 6.3 per cent to 5.9 per cent, the lowest rate since February 2008, when the recession began. Over the last 12 months, the unemployment rate has decreased by 0.9 percentage points.

The employment gains also marked the 12th straight month of job creation in the country, according to the Toronto Star.

"Just on its face, it’s a very large number – and following 11 months of gains it’s kind of running out of superlatives to describe it," said TD Senior Economist James Marple in an interview with the source. "It’s hard to argue the Canadian economy is not operating at full employment."

The gains help place the Canadian economy in a strong position going into 2018.

The majority of the job gains were in the private sector, which added a total 72,000 new positions. Public sector employment was little changed.

Wholesale and retail trade added 39,000 jobs in November, bringing the total jobs added over the year to 82,000.

Manufacturing gained 30,000 jobs, continuing an upward trend that began in January. Over the year, manufacturing has added 91,000 jobs, marking 5.4 per cent employment growth.

Educational services employment increased by 21,000 positions in November, while construction jobs grew by 16,000.

Agriculture shed 5,800 jobs in November after employment gains in October.

The sizeable increase in employment in November was accompanied by a jump in household spending and may signify that a predicted downturn in the Canadian economy "may be less severe than anticipated," according to the Financial Post.

The Bank of Canada decided not to raise interest rates Dec. 6, although in its statement, the bank recognized wage increases and "very strong" employment growth, Reuters reported.

Canadian ES Report:
Labour Force Survey, November 2017

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