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Social Media Recruitment: 5 Disadvantages to Consider

Social media platforms are an integral part of our lives. From connecting with friends to promoting businesses, they offer numerous advantages. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter bring their own challenges for professional recruitment. Hiring managers should keep social media in their back pocket but must be aware of certain pitfalls.

Here are five fast facts you need to consider before recruiting using social media.

Decreases Visibility

One of the significant drawbacks of social media recruitment is the limited reach of candidates across socials. While platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have an ample user base, few candidates actively use them for professional purposes. This means that companies relying exclusively on social media recruiting limit themselves to candidates who use these platforms for professional development and miss out on those who prefer face-to-face interactions and those without internet access. Up to 40% of candidates don’t use social media at all.

Skews Hiring Equity

Recruitment through social media can inadvertently amplify biases and contribute to discrimination in the hiring process. When employers rely on online reputation or social media presence, they may unconsciously favor or reject candidates on social media based on biased opinions such as age, ethnicity, or gender. These biases can bring about existing inequalities in the workplace and result in a lack of diversity. Additionally, using algorithms and automated systems in social media recruitment can inadvertently perpetuate bias if they are trained on biased data. For example, if the past hiring data reflects bias due to human decision-making, any algorithm trained on that data can learn and replicate bias when selecting candidates on social media.

While recruiting through social media offers certain advantages, such as cost-effectiveness and ease of communication, companies must be aware of its limitations. The disadvantages highlighted in this article should not be overlooked. Companies should supplement social media recruitment with other means such as job boards, professional networks, and partnering with educational institutions to ensure a fair and efficient recruitment process. 

By applying a balanced approach, companies can leverage the benefits of social media while avoiding the potential risks it could present. Recognizing these risks can help companies implement appropriate measures to minimize biases, ensure privacy and data protection, and thoroughly vet candidates’ qualifications and skills. This approach helps to expand the potential candidate pool, access a diverse range of qualified individuals, and further reduce the risk of exclusion of candidates in underrepresented groups.

Consumes Time

Except for LinkedIn, social media platforms were primarily designed for personal networking and casual interactions. When an employer uses these platforms to find candidates, they often encounter a lack of professionalism in the candidates’ social profiles. For example, people may share personal or political opinions, engage in controversial threads, and exhibit downright unprofessional behavior. Although this is illustrative of their personality, it can make assessing their suitability for a job difficult. 

This results in wasted time and resources as employers sift through irrelevant data. For example, consider a candidate in their mid 30’s who has not actively used their Facebook since their hard-partying college years in their early 20s. Now think how different they likely are over a decade later and how meaningless sifting through photos of them hungover may be concerning how they’d perform at work.

Lower Chances of Finding the Right Skill Sets

A recruiter can’t always gauge a prospect’s professional skill sets solely through social media recruiting. At most, an employer can expect to identify a few of a candidate’s passions and hobbies, but that doesn’t always translate to job effectiveness. Professional skill sets like project management, ability to work on a team, punctuality, etc., aren’t easily represented through social media. The only way to find those skill sets is through the tried and true method of resumes, references, background checks, and hiring interviews.

Harms Screening Process

While social media platforms can provide a tremendous amount of information about candidates, establishing whether the data is authentic or accurate can be tricky. Candidates on social media have the freedom to create a carefully curated social media presence, presenting themselves as clean and professional, which in some cases, is misleading. This can make it difficult for employers to confirm qualifications, experience, or skills. 

Pros and Cons of Using a Social Media Background Check

The pros of social media recruiting include:

Uncovers Major Red Flags: Social media doesn’t replace traditional background checks but can help rule out unsavory candidates. Did your ideal candidate post a status about stealing from their job? You can reasonably bet it won’t be the last time they do that. It can also uncover some highly biased beliefs. 

Niche Skills: As mentioned, there are better places to uncover candidate job-related skills than social media. The exception to this is if you’re hiring for a social media-related position like marketing or client management. Roles like influencers, social media marketers, etc., require an affinity for regularly posting trending and viral content. 

It gives you insight into how they handle professional privacy: At the end of the day, employees can reasonably post whatever they want on social media. Unless, of course, they actively post, in no uncertain terms, about their employer. For example, a simple status such as “I hate my job.” isn’t a big deal. Unless it’s “I hate my job at “insert your business name here,” those posts can ruin your business reputation and cause you to lose out on future employees, clients, resources, etc. 


The cons of social media recruiting greatly outweigh the pros. Here are the top three cons to be aware of.

Legal Repercussions: Prowling a candidate’s social media opens a business up to a few legal scenarios that are best avoided. For example, let’s say your candidate regularly posts about their disability. And you decide to make an offer to a different candidate based solely on that candidate’s qualifications. Later, the candidate you passed on who posts about disability discovers you were searching their profile during the hiring process. They could reasonably argue that they didn’t get the offer due to outspoken posts about disability. Even if you can prove otherwise, it’s better not to find yourself in that situation to begin with. 

Unreliable: As mentioned earlier, a person’s social media persona and work ethic are two different things with no relation between the two. Sure, you can search a profile and find out your candidate is the world’s biggest Nickelback fan, but how does that relate to whether they’ll go the extra mile on a team project? Focusing on their professional performance instead of their social life is best. 

Biased Hiring: Bias is often a part of human nature. That’s why the hiring process has so many compliance regs to limit bias. Social media recruiting may cause you to hire someone based solely on the fact that you like them due to their social media persona. 

Perhaps you and the candidate like all the same things and express similar opinions. Now imagine their competition, who doesn’t even use social media, comes across as a bit distant, but they have better qualifications. You may think you’ll always choose the latter candidate based on their capabilities, but that’s not always true. Do yourself and your company a favor – stick with the tried and true methods of the hiring process.


Social media recruiting is a modern-day tool any hiring manager can leverage. But it should never be your primary method of recruiting. If you need social media recruiting, consider using KarmaCheck as a partner. Our unbiased systems and protocols let us distill any social media profile down to the information you need to decide. Reach out today or connect with us online for more info.


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