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Asia – Social media still an unknown factor in recruitment

04 October 2013

Business leaders in Asia are using social media more often as a tool for recruitment; however, some remain sceptical about the reliability of scattered information posted online to assess whether a candidate is suitable, reports the Jakarta Post.

Andrew Grant, from consulting firm McKinsey & Co, based in Singapore, believes that social media enables companies to engage with potential candidates much earlier than before and find more talented people from the grassroots.

"In the past, we engaged with people from top universities in [China's] first-tier cities and social media actually enabled us to find what we called ‘diamonds in the rough'," said Grant, who was the managing director of McKinsey & Co's practice in China from 2005 to 2009.

“As social media leads to information transparency, it also enables strong companies to boost their search for expertise,” he added.

Wu Wenhui, executive vice-president of Siemens China, said: "We should embrace social media but use it with caution," adding that his company has a social media account.

He noted, however, that once a company opened an account on a social media platform for branding and recruitment, things can run out of control as netizens (internet citizens) can write whatever they want about the company.

Some 60% of companies were using or planned to use social media searches as a recruitment tool in 2013, according to a survey that polled 592 human resource professionals worldwide.

However, the "2013 Global Assessment Trends Report" released by SHL, a London-based talent-measurement company, in early September, showed that less than 30% of respondents believe that the data on social media is useful in determining whether a candidate is suitable.

Only 11% of those polled said social media is critical in hiring decisions, it said, adding that data acquired from social media is often subjective and chaotic.

The majority of HR professionals polled revealed that they seek information related to candidates' previous work history, education and recommendations from others when they review them on social media sites.

Jennifer Feng, chief human resources expert at online human resources service provider 51job.com, believes that in the short term social media can only be a supplement rather than a substitute for conventional hiring tools. "In China, people use social media as a tool to express their opinions and show their personal interests. Such information may not be appreciated by companies," she stressed.


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