SmartRecruiters Blog

What’s Social Recruiting? 25 Experts Weigh In.

“We need to bring recruiting back to its roots as a social activity,” said SmartRecruiters CEO Jerome Ternynck. 

But what is “Social Recruiting“? Even Wikipedia admits, “Social recruiting is a contested term. It is a concept at the intersection of recruitment and the embryonic field of social media. There are several terms used interchangeably including social hiring, social recruitment and social media recruitment.”

I’ve updated the crowdsourced social recruiting definitions, and then added a few of the internet’s most respected definitions:

Social Recruiting is…

matt alder social recruitingMatt Alder, Strategy Consultant for HR and Founder of MetaShift

“Social Recruiting is a concept not a defined technique. The three primary activities of Social Recruiting as Push, Pull, and being Genuinely Social.”


melanie benwell social recruitingMelanie Benwell, Managing Director at PathWorks Personnel

“Social recruiting is using social media and it’s many platforms to buttress existing recruiting methodologies. Social recruiting is a lot more fun than direct sourcing or mining job boards, so one has to be careful not to spend too much time on social media, as its returns are still being evaluated.”


bill boorman social recruitingBill Boorman, #Tru Recruiting Unconference Founder

“Taking a “social” approach to recruiting on and off line. It;s not technology, its more talk to than apply for.”


allison doyle social recruitingAllison Doyle, Job Search and Employment Expert at

“Social Recruiting is when companies and recruiters use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites to source and recruit candidates for employment.”


sean charles social recruitingSean Charles, Social Business Development Consultant

“Today’s social recruiting is a conversation that takes place in several spaces– public, private and internal (to organizations), where social networking facilitates hiring opportunities.”


Holly Fawcett social recruitingHolly Fawcett, Digital Marketing Manager at Social Talent

“Social recruiting is about defining your employer brand that gives employees reasons to pursue their career with you. It’s not poaching staff, it’s not about mass-hires, it’s about jobs and livelihoods with your company, and that message is delivered through contemporary social ideals and methods that reach real people.”


hr zone social recruitingHRZone, Leading Human Resources Publiaction.

“Some people criticize the term social recruiting when used to mean using social media to source job candidates, and say that recruitment that’s truly social needs to be conducted within a purpose-built social network rather than what are essentially public forums.”


doug kerkenDoug Kerken, Employer Branding and Talent Attraction Consultant at HireClix

“Social Recruiting is not simple. It means maintaining a fresh, authentic and accessible employer brand message on 3 major channels; Social Media, Search Engines and the Mobile web. Whether we like it or not society is moving quickly toward a digital, social, on-demand reality. The people we’re trying to “Recruit Socially” expect us to share only the best information with them on their favorite channel. They expect us to be ready for THEM when THEY are ready to engage us. That could mean someone is ready to apply to a job from our Facebook fan page on their iPhone. Social Recruiting is not an endless Twitter feed of job links and instructions to go to our ‘website or ‘this job board’ to browse and apply to our jobs.”


Holly Kolman social recruitingHolly Kolman, Online Problem Solver

I find that as a hyper-active social media user, I meet many people from different geographic locations and different business backgrounds. I do find that it is a lot easier to get recommendations (and give them) via Twitter and Facebook, even though the predominant recruiting network continues to be LinkedIn. I also find a number of experts by the answers they give on Quora. My favorite example of “social recruiting,” though, is the sheer randomness with which a Louisville, KY CFO made a hiring decision based on a chain of events set in motion by a single tweet that I made in 2008. Here’s the story, it’s a good one.


 Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 2.09.39 PMDave Lee, Brand Builder for Amazon and US Army

In 2007 as I was taking over the Army Strong campaign for recruiting I began to look at the value of using social media to communicate the value of being a Soldier. Based on my experience I take Social Recruiting to be more than the use of tools (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) to aid in the recruiting effort. Social recruiting is about connecting candidates with your employers. Its about providing a chance to learn about your culture. We did this in many ways, video responses from Soldiers in Iraq, a website filled with blogs from now almost 800 Soldiers as well as connections on Facebook, Twitter, etc. More about the program can be found on my blog


Autumn McReynolds social recruitingAutumn McReynolds, Employment Brand Sourcing Manager at Sodexo Careers 

Social Recruiting is more than sourcing candidates and advertising career opportunities on Facebook or Twitter. It’s about being present and active in a space lends itself to conversation, feedback and the sharing of information between an organization, job seekers and even consumers. You never know which customers today will be candidates tomorrow.


@blogging4jobs blogsJessica Miller-Merrell, Founder & CEO Blogging4Jobs

“One must identify, follow, share, and contribute to grow relationships, build rapport, and woo the top talent to your organization.”


SalimaSalima Nathoo, Workplace Innovator

“Social recruiting is an ecosystem of discovered and deliberate encounters. Interactions that lead to employment are those where organizational identity aligns with individual stories. Social media is where these narratives are both written and rewarded.


maro social recruitingMaro Onokpise, Recruiting Consultant at Healthcare Support Staffing

“Social Recruiting is the future of recruiting. I had a candid conversation with a recruiter friend of mine last week who works for one of the largest recruiting firms in the country. Many of these firms are stuck in the past and don’t want to embrace the concept of social recruiting and the fact that it is getting ready to run them over.”


robin richards social recruitingRobin Richards, CEO of TweetMyJobs

“It is a proactive process for job seekers and recruiters to search, converse, share, engage and refer each other using social media, web-based and mobile platforms.”


todd-raphael-large-social-recruitingTodd Raphael, Editor in Chief

“The term “social recruiting” is about as useful as the terms “diversity,” “empowerment,” and “robust’ — in that it has so many meanings that it essentially means close to nothing. I certainly don’t consider the use of social media in recruiting to necessarily be “social recruiting” (I’ve met people who like social media recruiting but dread phone calls and other interaction).


Social-HireTony Restell, CEO Social-Hire

“We would define Social Recruiting as being behaviour that encourages free and willing dialogue between both parties in the hiring equation: that’s to say between candidates and recruiters.

This is the equivalent in the connected world of a careers fair. Any candidate coming into the fair can choose to go and talk to any recruiter at the fair – and through discussion they will mutually decide whether there is a good basis for progressing hiring discussions further. In this sense Social Recruiting is highly inclusive.

This is quite distinct from traditional recruitment. Prior to Social Recruiting, all forms of recruiting activity had gatekeepers that would act as barriers to conversation taking place”


daniel smith social recruitingDaniel J. Smith, Peer Support Professional with Good Shephard Centres

Social Recruiting to me is the ability to use all the tools at your disposal to create, develop, nurture and watch relationships grow between client and candidate. It is also the ability to find the right people at the right time for the right situation. Timing is key and taking the time to nurture the relationship is one of many keys to success. Thanks for asking for my opinion.


Karen Siwak social recruitingKaren Siwak, Job Search Strategist

Speaking on behalf of candidates, social recruiting involves two way engagement with candidates before they ever submit a resume or access a career site. Without two way engagement, ideally in real time, it’s just regular old recruiting using the latest cool toys.


tom summit social recruitingTom Summit, Director at Genero Search Group

“Things like “conversations” or transparency or “free and willing dialogue between 2 parties” are all things that good recruiters have been doing for decades. Facebook or Twitter are not required for any of these. In fact wouldn’t you agree that the phone or face to face are really where conversations happen? There isn’t much meaning in the term Social Recruiting.”


DanyTraversy social recruitingDany Traversy, Editor in Chief at Affaires de Gars

“It’s the process of extending our recruitment strategy to the social media so we can recruit not only the active job seekers, but also the passive ones.”


Madalina Uceanu social recuritingMadalina Uceanu, Executive Search Consultant at Career Advisor

“I find it very useful to see how different and how common, in the same time, are all definitions of Social Recruiting. I think that we are facing a higher focus on Human than on Resources, making better sense of the need to relate at a more profound level to organizations or individuals, with the support of Social Media channels which increased the visibility of people and/or their interests (making thus sourcing &connecting easier)! But beyond that, I find that face to face interactions and relationship building abilities are still very valuable for the success of the recruitment projects.”

jacqui washington social recruitingJacqui Washington, Career Coach

“Social recruiting is when job seekers and recruiters use social networks to connect, educated and inspire people.”


chris young Async Interview social recruitingChris Young, CEO & Founder Async Interview

“Social Recruiting is removing barriers to geography, companies and people by utilizing web communities to increase transparency about a company and/or its employment opportunities.”


stacy ZaparStacy Zapar, CEO at Tenfold & Zappos Employer Branding

“Social recruiting is just communicating with candidates, being accessible, transparent. Better than hiding behind curtain.”


Social Recruiting is the buzz. Is it more about sourcing talent? Engaging with people? Or assssing potential hires? We can be certain that it is evolving into something big. How do you see it – what’s social recruiting?

David Smooke

David Smooke was the Director of Content Marketing and Social Media at SmartRecruiters and is the Founder of ArtMap Inc & AMI Publications.