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Recruitment in a digital world

In this article, you will learn what the application of digital technologies means for how employers are recruiting and how people get jobs.

Recruitment is a good example of an industry that is being profoundly changed by the digital economy, and that has implications for all of us. In this article, we will consider what the application of digital technologies means for how employers are recruiting and how people get jobs.

“Personal branding”

A standard CV (resume) may no longer be enough to stand out from the crowd in a rapidly changing global job market. According to a survey by Jobvite, employers are increasingly using social media to evaluate candidates in the recruitment process.

The main tools they use are LinkedIn (77%), Facebook (63%) and (surprisingly perhaps?) Instagram (25%).

Source: Jobvite 2018 Recruiter Nation Survey “The Tipping Point: Next Chapter in Recruiting”

Employers are positively influenced by a candidate’s professional social network profile if, for example, it demonstrates volunteering or social enterprise experience, engagement with relevant current events, and correct spelling and grammar.

Employers are negatively influenced towards a candidate by evidence of their inappropriate use of social media, such as posting selfies or drugs/drinking exploits.

Social media marketing

The basic principles of social media marketing can also be applied to ourselves. For example, creative videos produced by candidates are playing an increasingly important role in the application process, as are blogging, tweeting and participating in relevant online communities such as LinkedIn.

So, maintaining a ‘personal brand’ through online and offline networking is now an important aspect of career development.

For jobseekers this is not just about deleting a few embarrassing photos – it is about making sure that the information we display on social networks such as LinkedIn is going to actively encourage rather than discourage potential employers. We should make all that data actively work for us.

“Employer Branding”

It is worth considering the employer’s perspective as well. By using social media to identify key talent, and encourage conversation with selected individuals to build relationships with them, employers can promote their company as a “great place to work” which helps them to attract the best people. This is known as “employer branding”.

The best candidates might not even be seeking a new job, (only about 10% of the workforce are actively looking to move at any one time) but employers can easily identify and engage with key prospects through social media networks. “Headhunting” in itself is not new of course, but social networks offer a global dimension to recruitment and greatly increased scope to evaluate talent.


Social media management company Hootsuite is one example of a company that does employer branding well, as evidenced by a number of awards. Check out the article ‘How Social Media Is Making Job Hunting Better – For Candidates and Companies’ by Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, on the role played by creative social media activity in career development.

In summary, we should focus on making sure that potential employers will see positive activities and skills that help make us distinctive. Building our professional learning networks and developing a reputation as a trusted source takes a lot of work to maintain, but can reap future benefits in many positive or unexpected ways.

© University of Exeter
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