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Increasing maturity of Social Networking Sites - International



  From Socializing to Recruiting Employees: Increasing maturity of
                  Social Networking Sites (SNSs)
Dr Trupti Dave                                                                                             Dr. Shikha Bhargava
Associate Professor,                                                                                        Associate Professor,
IPER, Bhopal                                                                           Oriental College of Management, Bhopal
          The use of social networking web sites (SNSs), like Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter has become
          extremely popular, particularly with Gen Y. Not only do these SNSs provide cost effective marketing
          and advertising space for companies, the recent trend is the tendency of employers, looking seriously at
          the possibility of using the personal information available on SNSs for hiring decisions. This paper
          tries to examine the viability of using personal information of SNS users for making recruitment and
          selection decisions and also find the pros and cons of this new method of hiring. The paper highlights
          the most popular professional SNS, Linkedin and its usage for the purpose of recruitment by Indian
          Keywords: Social Networking Sites, Recruitment, Selection
          The advent of Internet led to several changes in the business models worldwide by application of
          innovative strategies. One of the applications based on Internet, that has caused a new revolution is that
          of Social Networking Sites (SNS). SNS are web based services that allow users to create online
          communities based on shared interests and activities. Popular sites covered under this category are
          Facebook, Linkedin, Orkut, Twitter, MySpace etc. While the main reason for creation of these sites
          was to provide a platform for connecting with people irrespective of their physical location, the
          community effect has been further used in several ways by different groups including the business
          community. The popularity of the SNSs can be gauged by the fact that even the Government of India
          had taken the initiative to launch a Census 2011 Facebook page.
SNSs in India
          The current top SNS in India is Facebook, which, with a presence in more than 213 countries today,
          has been evaluated worth $81 billion recently and India has been ranked at No 6 position in the list of
          top contributors towards Facebook users. Today, every fourth Internet user in India has got an account
          on Facebook.
          Another popular SNS is, LinkedIn, the professional networking site which has reached 10 million
          members in India. LinkedIn is a professional network that follows the Six degrees of separation
          principle which refers to the idea that everyone is on an average approximately six steps away from any
          other person on Earth.
Popularity of SNS among Employees:
          According to Ma Foi Randstad, 87 per cent of Indian employees use the social media to find
          information about an organization’s work culture, 75 per cent track movements and events of their
          favorites companies, so that they are up-to-date for attending job interviews and 75 per cent would
          hesitate joining a company, if their co-workers have given negative reviews about the company.
          The other Key findings of the study were:
           90 per cent of Indian employees have an individual account on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.,
               of which 81 per cent use it for professional purposes.
           93 per cent of Indian companies are ensuring social media access through computers for
               employees at work.
           Employees within the age group of 35-44 use social networking the highest to further their
               professional interests.
           78 per cent of social media users in India use the platform only to present themselves
               professionally, whereas globally, only 29 per cent of the workforce uses social media to profile
               themselves as employees.
           The Indian workforce is much more active using social media, with 79 per cent having updated
               their social medial profiles in the last month itself. Globally, the level is much lower at 54 per cent.

                                                                             * DR. TRUPTI DAVE, DR. SHIKHS BHARGAVA

                    VOLUME:2,ISSUE:2                                                                                -
                    APRIL-JUNE 2014

SNS advantage for Organizational Hiring process
       Worldwide, companies like Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft are some of the largest customers of Linkedin, and
       they largely use LinkedIn for their HR and recruiting functions apart from sales and business development.
       Jobs listed on LinkedIn for India, include companies like Sapient, Electronic Arts, and Wipro.
       Today, IT-BPO firms such as Infosys Technologies, Wipro, MphasiS, Genpact, Accenture India, Google
       India and others are increasingly tapping social networking sites to hire managers at middle to senior levels.
       Adoption of Facebook advertisements for recruitment within the Indian IT sector has also started.
       The shift towards tapping social networking sites also emanates, as more and more people are getting to
       such sites to be connected with like-minded people and share the latest trends in their sector. Professional
       networking sites are the best places for like-minded people to meet and hence become a database for
       potential employers.
       Accenture India started to leverage social networking as a talent sourcing channel in 2007 to reach out to
       certain niche management consulting and technology leaders. Portals such as LinkedIn, Twitter and
       Facebook have proved to be extremely valuable to reach out to passive job seekers with niche skills and
       senior people. These sites are used as a platform to disseminate information to active and passive job
SNS Vs Job Sites
       Sites like and are dedicated to business networking, where people put up their
       professional details and get an opportunity to interact with other professionals. Such sites become a
       breeding ground from which recruiters can select the best of the pack. Networking sites as well as job sites
       cater to different spectrum of skills and levels. Both have well defined and seemingly well demarcated (by
       design) user defined solutions and hence effectiveness of one over the other cannot be generalized.
       Credibility is the key benefit of a social networking site, as users are able to view public endorsements by
       former colleagues and business partners, which are available on the person’s profile. Social networking
       sites can be used by recruitment agencies as people who are not very active job seekers can be contacted
       and offered job proposals, since these people usually don’t put up their CV on job sites. Tools such as job
       preference, location required, etc. that are available on job sites are not available at the networking sites.
       SNSs also have e-groups for various interest levels like mountaineering, supply chain management,
       cycling, etc. Most of the members in these e-groups are working executives with more than three-four years
       of experience and would not have posted their CV’s in job portals. As companies are present in these e-
       groups as silent spectators, they get to know about these candidates. For example, if the recruiters are
       looking for admin executives, they might log into e-groups in the domain of facilities—admin. They can
       also go through blog sites to understand the various profiles and interest areas of the candidates.
Different hiring sources
       Companies use different methods such as job listings on corporate sites, internal employee referrals and
       campus for hiring employees. The type of recruitment channel used by a company is based on the kind of
       recruitment needs. Different positions require varied approaches. While bulk recruitment of engineers
       would not happen through advertisements on social media, laterals for specific positions could be done
       more effectively through SNSs.
       Today due to the growing use and popularity of the social media sites, even HR consultancies are realizing
       the need to tap these sites. There are many people who are passive job seekers. Social media allows
       companies to get in touch with such people and convince them to make the shift. Also, firms ask if a person
       recommended by a Consultancy is on certain platforms or not and they want to see what kind of person
       they are dealing with.
       It is because of such reasons that at Capgemini, the recruitment focus has now become more on using
       Social media sites owing to the maturity of social media and also the better targeting it provides.

                                                                             * DR. TRUPTI DAVE, DR. SHIKHS BHARGAVA

                    VOLUME:2,ISSUE:2                                                                                -
                    APRIL-JUNE 2014

       The reason for this increasing engagement is simple. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are social utilities that
       help people connect and share. A factor that helps is that once an advertisement is liked, it registers on the
       user's newsfeed, making it visible on newsfeeds for all that user's friends. This is possible because today
       people are their real selves online and they connect with the people and brands they care about. Besides
       Facebook, websites such as LinkedIn, which defines itself as a professional social networking website, is
       being used by IT companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers' consulting arms in scouting for potential
       employees with specific skill sets.
       While PWC does not post advertisements on Facebook, LinkedIn is often used for connecting with those
       that could be future employees, given the wide expanse of networks that is afforded by such websites at
       Of course Linkedin has been favoured for years by recruiters, nowadays recruiters in companies and third
       party firms use social network sites to get an overall view of the individual, apart from his professional
       resume. It helps that people are highly free spoken on sites like Facebook or Twitter. Testimonials on
       Linkedin are also like reference checks in a way, used with caution.
Advantages of using SNS’s for Recruitment:
       The growing popularity of SNSs in recruiting employees is owing to following factors:
       1. There exists tremendous value in leveraging this media just because of its tremendous potential to
       multiply connections, create viral networks, reach talent faster, and at the same time serve as a great
       platform to communicate company’s value proposition as an employer quite effectively
       2. Helps the company to ensure that a prospective candidate fits into their culture and value propositions.
       3. Social Media profiles (especially LinkedIn) provide an insight on an applicant's past like his
       designation and communication skills.
       4. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer opportunities of cost-effective future employee
       outreach programmes.
       5. Social networking websites can be used for filtering candidates with particular skill and requirement
       6. Provide instant credibility to a professional’s profile, with the referrals and recommendations of the
       person, thus aiding recruiters in captivating their mindshare.
       7. For recruiters, social networking sites come to the rescue when one is looking out for candidates
       having niche skills or for roles based in alien geographies.
       8. Ability to identify both active (job portals) and passive (social networking sites) job seekers.
       9. Corporate alumni networks can be a powerful tool for recruitment and even brand building
       10. Candidates can include keywords and descriptions about themselves that will enable their profile to be
       easily accessed when recruiters and hiring managers search for a specific skill on these sites.
       11. Link through LinkedIn, seems to be the mantra of recruitment these days. Top IT firms like Wipro,
       Accenture, Cognizant, Mindtree and HP-Mphasis are logging on to the social networking site LinkedIn to
       recruit people at middle management levels. Tech firms are now realizing that middle-to senior-level
       managers and leaders are best hunted from platforms such as LinkedIn, where professionals are not
       necessarily disgruntled job seekers.
Pitfalls of using SNS’s for Recruitment:
       1. Using social media as a recruitment tool can at times be misleading. Instead of depending only on
       social media, an ideal situation would be one where the company runs a thorough screening of the
       candidate’s background before recruitment.
       2. While Social media like LinkedIn is helpful for hiring, for generic placement at junior and middle-
       level posts, companies still prefer other sources.
       3. All recruitment firms have their own database and as a source, database scores over social media when

                                                                                 * DR. TRUPTI DAVE, DR. SHIKHS BHARGAVA

                       VOLUME:2,ISSUE:2                                                                             -
                       APRIL-JUNE 2014

        4. Studies are needed to determine whether SNSs can be reliable and valid predictors of important
        organizational criteria.
        5. Job portal search can yield immediate results, but passive headhunting through social networking sites
        can be time consuming till sourcing patterns are identified
        6. Searching blogs or social networking sites can be time consuming and may not yield the ROI in a
        shorter time frame.
Do’s for a Job seeker:
        If social networking websites lend themselves to recruitment, it's essential to take care of what you post on
        Facebook.Linkedin, and other such SNS.
        1. Control your privacy settings -- luckily, Facebook allows you to control who can see what.
        2. Proper online behavior doesn't just include avoiding embarrassing photographs and comments you'd
             rather not want to be associated with in the long run.
        3. LinkedIn, a professional networking site with over 100 million users worldwide, recently released a
             study that said who you are connected to online -- your friend list – also makes a difference.
        4. The study also said you should post messages of your accomplishments. It'll help while getting
        5. Use the right words. Avoid words like 'dynamic', 'team player', and 'value add', since they appear
             empty to a potential employer. "Instead, note that you have eight to 10 years of experience or that you
             increased sales by a certain percentage," the study says.
Do’s for a recruiter
        The average user of social networks, mainly for job search has been found to be 37, therefore the GEN X-
        ers 1964-'80). Thats not to say Gen Y ('80-'95) does not use networking as a tool. Gen X need interactive
        media such as Internet banner advertising, job boards, e-cards, text messaging, mobile media.For
        Generation Y mostly interactive and alternative media work: job boards, Internet banner ads, networking
        sites, RSS feeds, blogging, text messaging, streaming video, flash e-cards, e-mail marketing, splash pages,
        mobile media, work well.However there are downsides to this as well. Discrimination might be a huge
        charge which might bring the lawyers to the doorstep if you reject a candidate for his Facebook profile. Or
        Social Network sites not meant for professional networking might be actually too personal. Or even the
        chance of mistaken identity always remains.
        Therefore there may be some precautions you have to take as suggested below:
        1. Be aware of rules of equal opportunities.
        2. Keep a paper trail and archive print-outs that you have used when assessing a candidate.
        3. Ernst & Young set up the company’s own profile and network, then makes sure that the organization’s
             reputation is not being damaged.
        4. Company information must be used responsibly.
        5. Constantly monitor your organization’s profile on the various sites.


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