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Is social media changing how employers recruit new talent?

Tuesday 13 August 2013

The use of social media to recruit new talent is increasing according to new research commissioned by workplace experts, Acas.

The research, carried out by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) for Acas, looked at how and why HR professionals and employers use social media when recruiting staff and the implications for the workplace, including the benefits and risks.

The research included a poll of 400 HR decision makers, a literature review and three case studies. It found that:

  • forty-five per cent of HR decision makers said they were already using social media tools in recruitment and 16 per cent said they were planning to in future
  • around 40 per cent said they would make greater use of them in the future
  • social media tools are often used as well as traditional recruitment strategies
  • there are a range of ways in which social media is used in the recruitment process including searching for potential candidates online and 'screening' candidates by viewing their social media profiles
  • the main reasons for not using social media were a preference for more traditional forms of recruitment and concerns over privacy.

Andrea Broughton, IES report author, said:

"Our research has found that there has been an increase in the number of employers using social media when recruiting, often to complement more traditional recruitment methods.

"The extent to which the profession relies on its use depends on factors such as the size and sector the organisation operates in. For example, young growth companies were more likely to use social media."

Anne Sharp, Acas Chief Executive, said:

"Organisations are getting more sophisticated about using social media when recruiting new employees. Employers should not be afraid to use these tools, but they need to consider the potential issues. For example, increasing the use of social media will require employers to think more strategically about their whole recruitment process and the extent to which it is appropriate and relevant to seek information about a potential employee's private life as part of a fair process."

Acas launched the first guide of its kind on Social media and how to develop a policy.

Notes to Editors

  1. pdf icon The use of social media in the recruitment process [516kb] is a research study carried out by the Institute of Employment Studies on behalf of Acas. It builds on previous work for Acas. This research project considers how and why employers use social media tools for recruitment, the risks and opportunities and the implications for provision of advice to managers, workers and employer and employee representative bodies. It also looks at the policies and strategies employers can put in place to manage legal and reputational risks. A comprehensive literature review is supplemented with case studies of three leading UK organisations that have used social media for the purposes of recruitment. Additionally a representative sample of 401 HR decisions makers (with a decision making role relating to recruitment) were polled during March 2013.
  2. Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a council made up of members from business, trade unions, academics and the law.
  3. For media enquires contact Clare Carter/Shumon Rahman, PR and Media Manager on 020 7210 3688 or Lou Owen, Communications Officer, on 020 7210 3920. For out of hours media enquiries contact 07825 691093.