Importance of Social Media in Human Resource Management

Historical Perspective

One of the most important functions of the human resource department is hiring employees. Hiring is a process that goes through a number of stages. The stages include advertising the job vacancy, screening, selecting the right candidates, and bringing the selected candidates on board.

Recruiting the right candidates is the most important thing since employees of an organization have a direct impact on its performance. For instance, the performance of the organization will go down if the human resource department hires the wrong candidates, but the performance will be good if they hire the right candidates.

As technological advancement continues, human resource has also come up with ways of recruiting employees online through social media. It is imperative to note that social media can be used for a number of reasons. Social media can be used to the advantage of an organization. It can also be used against it. Social media can be important to the human resource department in that it can be used to recruit and hire employees.

Over the last decade, employers have been creating social media guidelines that they use to guide their current and potential employees. Employers are finding social media as a useful tool that can be used to engage and manage employees. The Internet has taken over as the media that most job seekers are now using to look for employment opportunities. It is, therefore, the high time that employers take advantage of this development to get the best talent for their organizations (Madia, 2011).

A few years ago, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter were used just for social purposes and having fun. Today, on top of their social uses, these sites are used for more serious purposes such as job search and recruitment. Online recruitment has become a way of life for most organizations.

It would be a mistake for a large corporation that is willing to recruit employees to ignore social media (Madia, 2011). One factor that makes social media important is the fact that most of its users are the young generation who are looking for employment. Therefore, employers will be in a good position to reach a large number of potential employees by using social media. They will also be able to get the best talent.

Pros and Cons

Social media is a cheap means of job recruitment compared to other media that are used to advertise job vacancies. In the past, companies advertised jobs through the local newspapers and magazines. This is an expensive means in that the company has to make some payment for its adverts to be publicized. Posting a job advert in social media is easy and free in most sites. It saves on time in that one needs only to spare a few minutes to post a job advert.

This saves the company a lot of money. It is always important to keep in mind that most companies and business organizations have their main aim as making and maximizing their profits. Therefore, any means that they can save on costs should not be ignored. Social media recruitment is one of the ways of saving costs. Responses on social sites are overwhelming. The social media can reach a wide audience, thus it helps companies save significant amounts of resources if used effectively (Kulkarni & Nithyanand, 2013).

Social media has the ability to reach a wide audience within a short time. Most of the people who use social media are young, usually in the age bracket of about 18-30 years. Coincidentally, this is the same age group that is actively looking for employment. Most organizations want to employ young and talented employees.

The most convenient and effective way of reaching a large number of these young generation is through social media. Most of the young people do not read traditional media. Consequently, traditional media is not an effective way of getting the best talent for employers (Kulkarni & Nithyanand, 2013).

Recruiting through social media enables employers to effectively interact with potential employees. Potential employees can post their questions on the sites and employers can respond to those questions in real time. The major advantage of interacting with potential employees is that it is possible for the employer to build a good and close relationship with his or her employees.

In addition, the employer will be able to identify the best talent and build a close relationship with employees. Further, employers will be able to approach these talented young potential employees in the event that there is a job to offer. This makes the recruitment process much easier and effective in terms of yield and cost.

The number of referrals that social sites have is another fact that is beneficial to employers. For instance, a potential employee may not be in a position to see the job advert on Facebook or on Twitter in real time. However, he or she will see a re-tweet from his or her friends in case of Twitter, or a share in the case of Facebook. As a result, a job advertisement can reach many people even if they do not see it on their original Twitter handles or on their Facebook accounts (Kulkarni & Nithyanand, 2013).

There is also a benefit in that the level of transparency in online recruiting is very high. Many people have the feeling that organizations are usually not transparent in recruiting employees. As much as this may be true, not all organizations are unethical in recruiting their employees.

However, online recruitment could be effective in improving the level of transparency and create closer and tighter links between the organization and the community (Kulkarni & Nithyanand, 2013). The boundaries that traditionally existed between the organization and the community are broken down. This also has the ability to build a strong image for the organization and could be helpful in its marketing strategies since the customers also become loyal due to the level of transparency.

The candidate screening process is more accurate when the organization uses social media for recruitment. A company is able to follow on whatever potential employees are saying about the job when it posts jobs on social media. The human resource professionals are able to identify candidates who have the best potential to fill in the vacancy by following up their comments.

HR managers are able to identify a potential employee who has the highest talent. Human resource professionals are able to know potential employees’ interests and their ability to adapt to the organizational culture through the posts made by potential employees.

Cons

Social media is also associated with a number of demerits, despite the fact that it is beneficial during recruitment. Therefore, it is the duty of the human resource professionals to weight between the benefits and the limitations before making a decision on the method they are to use for recruitment. The following are some of the shortcomings of using social media for recruitment.

An HR will be violating the private data laws by looking into the profile of a potential employee. This could lead to the HR manager being charged under the law. Some of the charges would include discrimination, as well as a violation of privacy laws (Kulkarni & Nithyanand, 2013). Therefore, it is good to be cautious when viewing the private information of a potential employee. Such charges could be costly and a loss to the organization.

Using social media could, at times, be ineffective in that the voice could be lost among other voices. There is no guarantee that the job advert is seen by the target audience. There are a large number of people that use social media and the impact of an advert could be lost within the media.

To avoid such an incident, it is important for the human resource professional to engage the target audience by asking and answering their questions. This could mean that the one responsible has to spend a lot of time on the internet. This is expensive in terms of time.

Court cases/events of social media recruitment

Social media is associated with a number of issues that may lead to court cases. Social media should be used in the right way, and a lot of caution should be taken by organizations and HR professionals. There are rules and regulations that are put in place to ensure that the best practices are adopted.

For instance, the confidentiality of employees is an important rule. People post their private information on social media. It is the right of every user to have his or her privacy observed. One of the serious cases that HR professionals might face for using social media for recruitment is accessing the private information of an employee without his or her consent.

Social media is also associated with cases of job scams. This is where people post jobs for nonexistence organizations. Job seekers will see the job advertisements and apply for them. In most cases, such jobs are advertised by people who are after applicants’ money. They ask for money so that they can offer the jobs and then disappear once they get the money.

This is a case that has affected many people. It is serious in that it can harm the trust of applicants regarding social media recruitment. While it is difficult to find people who post such jobs, something should be done to track the sources of such job scams. This will improve the effectiveness of online recruitment.

The other case is posting negative public relations on social media by solicitors and people who pretend to be representatives of the companies they are posting about. This affects the image of the organization and spreads the wrong information to the society. Job seekers apply for jobs advertised by solicitors and, at times, they end up losing their money. This is a case that has affected the reputation of a number of organizations.

One of the important cases that represented this event was the Taylor v Somerfield case. In this case, Taylor posted a video on social media (YouTube) that showed him being hit with plastic bottles by one of his colleagues (Münstermann, Eckhardt & Weitzel, 2010). This was something that could have destroyed the image of the company and potential employees could have been discouraged from joining the organization.

Critical thinking questions

Having gone through the pros and cons of using social media for recruitment, there are a number of critical thinking questions that may emerge. Managers have to critically think about these questions in order to get the right decisions regarding online job recruitments. Despite the advantages that the organization can reap from online job recruitment, it could turn against them if the human resource professionals and the organizational managers do not get their decisions right.

In order to get the right decisions, the managers need to weigh between the benefits and the limitations of using social media recruitment. The decision should be overlooked if the limitations exceed the benefits. On the other hand, the organization should embrace the decision if the benefits exceed the limitations.

In the case of the pros, the two critical thinking questions could be: 1). How possible is it to identify the best and genuine candidate? 2). How much time can be saved considering that someone has to be online to respond to questions asked by potential employees? Failure to explore these questions exhaustively could see a firm fail to realize the benefits of social media recruiting since the initiative is likely to fail.

Regarding the cons, the two questions that may emerge are 1). How can an HR professional access the profile of potential employees without violating privacy laws? 2). How can the organization ensure that its post is viewed by the maximum number of target audience possible? These are critical questions that can save the organization from lawsuits and a bad image in the eyes of the public and future employees who may have had an interest in working in the organization.

References

Kulkarni, M., & Nithyanand, S. (2013). Social influence and job choice decisions. Employee Relations, 35(2), 139 – 156. Retrieved from http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=0142-5455&volume=35&issue=2&articleid=17068399&show=html

Madia, S. A. (2011). Best practices for using social media as a recruitment strategy. Strategic HR Review, 10(6), 19 – 24. Retrieved from http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=1475-4398&volume=10&issue=6&articleid=1958620&show=abstract

Münstermann, B., Eckhardt, A., & Weitzel, T. (2010). The performance impact of business process standardization: An empirical evaluation of the recruitment process. Business Process Management Journal, 16(1), 29 – 56. Retrieved from http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=1463-7154&volume=16&issue=1&articleid=1839228&show=abstract