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92% of recruiters use social media to find high quality candidates. Therefore, it is becoming a universally adopted hiring tool. As a result, it is becoming increasingly important that recruitment companies understand which social platforms work best for them, in terms of attracting candidates and gaining new business. This is clearly being considered, due to the differing numbers in the amount of recruiters that are using each individual platform. 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn, 55% are using Facebook, while only 47% are currently using Twitter. This is because of the nature of these social networks, with LinkedIn primarily a business networking platform, with Facebook and Twitter less obvious fits for a recruiter. However, each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses for recruiters, a few of which are outlined below:

LinkedIn

One of the major obvious advantages of LinkedIn for recruiters is the fact that profiles are primarily made for business purposes. The employment history section on a profile means it is easy for recruiters to determine whether a potential candidate has the necessary experience to have a chance of getting a job. Furthermore, others sections, which include your skills and qualifications, are also seen on most profiles, meaning even more information can be attained about the suitability of a candidate. Another advantage is that it is relatively easy to build up a network of contacts, meaning any content that is promoted is seen by more people. For recruiters, they obviously want to promote their job vacancies in the hope of attracting interest in their roles. Finally, the company profiles allow a recruitment business to powerfully display the industries they work with, as well as allowing them to show any recommendations or positive references they have received in the past.

However, even though LinkedIn is the most prominently used platform, there are disadvantages that recruiters have to work against. Firstly, some candidates may see creating a profile as too much effort, due to all the details that are required, whilst some may not regularly update their profile, meaning their employment history is out of date. Another limitation is that it is difficult for job seekers to tailor their profile to a specific job role, meaning they may be overlooked when recruiters are searching for suitable candidates. Moreover, many people often accept most of their connection invitations, meaning their pool of connections is polluted, and a lot of potential suitable candidates may go unnoticed. Also, due to this inflated amount of connections, job seekers can often miss job openings on their news feed, meaning they miss out on potential opportunities. Finally, due to the ease of sending direct messages, a lot of people receive countless messages, meaning they are likely to ignore many of them, leading to recruiters growing frustrated at the lack of responses they receive.

Twitter

One of the advantages of using Twitter as a recruiter is the fact that it allows 24/7 service, while it is also free to use as freely as you like. Therefore, all audiences can be targeted, depending on who you are looking to attract, making it a very flexible platform. The fact that it is free to use is also a bonus, considering the money that will be saved on job posting and advertising costs. Another advantage of Twitter is that it allows a recruiter to get a sense of whether a potential candidate will be a good cultural fit for the business they are looking to recruit for. This can be done in a relaxed environment too, whilst a lot of time and effort can be saved by ruling a candidate out due to the nature of their social presence, instead of finding out their unsuitable character during a job interview later down the line. Furthermore, recruiters can take advantage of the hashtag feature, as this could drive potential candidates to your tweets promoting a job opportunity, meaning Twitter can be used directly to attain candidates for an available position.

On the other hand, Twitter does have disadvantages for recruiters, with one being that it is seen as a personal networking account. As a result, many candidates will look to LinkedIn when searching for a new job, and may not appreciate being approached by a recruiter due to the personalised nature of Twitter as a social network. Another disadvantage of using Twitter is that candidates could be ruled out of the process unfairly. This could be because a candidate is being judged on their presence on Twitter, where in reality, a person is likely to behave very differently on a personal networking account compared to how they would act as an employee. Therefore, discriminating using a social network to rule a candidate out of the running for a job is an issue of recruiting using Twitter. Finally, recruiting using Twitter means there is likely to be less loyalty to a recruiter from a candidate, due to the nature of the relationship held, meaning it is more likely that a candidate will not turn up for a job interview, or that they will just stop communicating with the recruiter, leaving the process dead in the water.

Facebook

Even though Facebook may not be seen as the obvious social platform for recruiters, there are advantages to the site compared to LinkedIn and Twitter. Firstly, company Facebook pages are often more engaging than the standard LinkedIn professional content that is shared, meaning more people are likely to be attracted to the opportunities that are available. Another advantage of Facebook is that it has a bigger audience and is a bigger network than LinkedIn, with more than 800 million active users worldwide, compared to just 120 million users on LinkedIn. Consequently, the jobs that are posted on a Facebook page has the potential to be seen by more people, meaning it is more likely that suitable candidates will come forward. Lastly, Facebook potentially allows employees to refer their friends and contacts through Facebook, meaning another avenue is available to be explored using this social network. Therefore, Facebook can be successfully used by recruiters to gain access to candidates as much as any other networking site online.

However, like the other social networking platforms, there are several disadvantages of using Facebook to try and recruit for vacant job positions. Firstly, there are many obstacles that prevent recruiters from contacting potential candidates, due to the privacy settings that are included on Facebook. It is also difficult to directly contact candidates on Facebook, meaning they most likely have to respond to posts that the recruiter puts on their account, or posts from the company page. As a result, it can be difficult to recruit using Facebook, due to the difficulty in approaching potential candidates compared to Twitter and LinkedIn. Another problem with Facebook is that it is more difficult to gain likes on the company page, meaning less people are likely to see the content that is posted. The only way of increasing the reach of posts is to use promotions and Facebook adverts, but these cost the business money, meaning Facebook no longer remains a free site for recruiters to use. Therefore, there are several limitations to using Facebook as a recruiter, but it can work well if utilised in an effective way.