Social Media and HR


Human resource management (HRM) has been implementing various information technology systems to improve its day-to-day operations and tasks. HR managers have, thus, been employing social media in their recruitment, selection, employee monitoring, training, branding, and talent identification and development. HR professionals have also been using social media and analytics to acquire and analyze data that enable them to find the employees with the skills, experience, and knowledge they need. In this regard, social media has triggered HRM success by lowering costs of recruitment and selection, enabling them to search for talented employees through predictive analytics and developing appropriate talent as well as branding of organizations. However, HR professionals face the challenges of language barrier, knowledge gap and inconsistencies, use of intellectual property, discrimination, and inaccessibility while utilizing social media. Thus, to better understand the effects of social media implementation on the company, it is crucial to learn the benefits and challenges associated with it, taking into account the experience of the Kroger Co., Zappos, and the Spitfire Group.

The Influence of Social Media on HRM Success

Social media has enabled HRM to faster post job positions, reduced the cost of recruitment and hiring, improved organizational branding, and enabled faster search and development of talents. Social media has given HRM the possibility to recruit employees easily and successfully since HR professionals are able to post their job positions in all their social media websites where followers can share with their friends, hence the ability to find a high number of skilled persons for the job openings (Bohmova & Pavlicek, 2015). Organizations can also browse social media sites to obtain lists of potential candidates for available job positions. For instance, an organization that needs highly experienced professionals can use Linkedln to identify potential candidates for job listings. Social media has also lowered the loss of recruitment. Unlike the traditional modes of advertising and recruitment such as television and radio advertising and face-to-face interviews that were costly, HR professionals use social media such as Facebook to advertise job openings and interview candidates only using a few dollars.

Moreover, social media has enabled HR professionals to improve their brand and monitor information that employees and clients post. In case an issue that may taint the image of a company occurs, HR employees use social media to rebuild it by explaining the happenings and possibly apologize; this is with the aim of preventing the issue from going viral and derailing the image of the company. HR manager can also use social media to monitor the information or any activities performed by employees (Bohmova & Pavlicek, 2015). For instance, social media has enabled HR managers to identify posts that are negatively related to the happenings of their organizations and devise social media policies that control the information posted by employees on the Internet. Social media has also contributed to the success of HRM by giving them the opportunity to identify and develop talents. The era of preparing training materials and travelling from one place to another is long gone. Social media has fostered the identification of employees with required skills through data mining and analytics as well as development of such talents (Wright, 2014). HR professionals are able to develop customized training materials and upload them to various social media sites for employees all over the world to read and gain the necessary knowledge and skills. Social media platforms have functionalities that enable employees and HR personnel to collaborate and share training content.

Challenges of HRM Professionals Using Social Media to Learn about Current and Potential Employees

HR professionals face the challenge of language barrier, gap in knowledge, inconsistencies, employment of intellectual property, bias, and inaccessibility. First, social media reaches a large audience from various language backgrounds, creating language barrier to HR professionals (Wolf, Sims, & Yang, 2014). At the same time, social media allows users to post their messages and communicate in various languages such as French, English and Germany. However, HR managers who are not fluent in multiple languages face difficulties learning information posted by current and potential employees in languages they do not understand.

Second, social media creates a knowledge gap and inconsistencies, especially when current and potential employees know that the information they post is closely monitored and they may be punished when they post data deemed inconsistent with requirements of organizations (Tyagi, 2012). In this regard, the employees may decide not to post some information that may have been helpful to HR professionals. Furthermore, they may try to post information that they deem acceptable to organizations.

Third, the use of social media by HR professionals poses a challenge of intellectual property among other legal issues such as a breach of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s requirements and discrimination. The employment of personal information of social media users without their consent may create lawsuits, especially when the social media users feel aggrieved by the act, which may violate the requirements of intellectual property. The reason is that in some cases, the owner of the property or information has to grant permission for its use (Tyagi, 2012). HR professionals may also face the risk of discrimination lawsuits when they target specific kinds of employees and disregard the others. Discrimination might be evident when the social media recruitment strategy provides limits for the number and category of members who join. For instance, for a social media platform that accepts a certain percentage of members of a specific race to be its members while disregarding the rest, HR professionals will be limited to choosing only from the number provided by the social media. HR professionals may also face law suit on discrimination based on age, gender, and race (Wolf, Sims, & Yang, 2014). Lastly, HR professionals may face the challenge of not obtaining the right information in instances when information technology (IT) professionals block employees from accessing social media sites through organizational information technology network system.

The Wright Article “How Facebook Recruits”

Organizations use data analytics to perform predictive analyses to help human resource managers recruit talented employees. For instance, Wright (2014) indicates that Facebook uses data analytics software from Entelo to help organizations find the talents it requires within a very short period of time. The company is able to use the software to analyze career lives of persons and come up with aggregated data of each and every person, enabling unearthing of talents (Wright, 2014). Entelo is also able to identify the employees who are going to quit their jobs, especially when it analyzes profiles of individuals in LinkedIn.

The Kroger Co., Zappos, and the Spitfire Group use social media to inform jobseekers regarding available jobs, identify required talents, and recruit them. First, Zappos, which is a company based in Las Vegas, has completely abandoned the traditional way of recruitment and decided to fully utilize social media to find and recruit employees (Robb, 2014). It has a platform that directs persons who seek job to sign up in its social media platform, Zappos Insiders, where they receive more information regarding the company’s processes and communicate directly to the company’s workers (Robb, 2014). In case of job openings, only members of the Insider social network group become aware of them. It gives the members of Zappos Insider top priority when there are job chances available in the company.

Second, Facebook and Twitter enable the Kroger Co. to recruit employees with the desired skills who come from desired locality faster and cheaper. It also informs its social media followers about its local job fairs, internship vacancies, and recruitment events (Robb, 2014). The social media platform has enabled it to reach a large audience that it could not attract using its traditional job advertising platforms such as radio and internal advertising. It uses social media to recruit persons for job positions that are not easy to fill and those that require employees who work per hour. Followers of its social media platforms normally tag friends and family members on job posts the company advertizes in the platforms faster. Therefore, the social media platforms are effective avenues for the company to connect with its local clients. The organization uses the platforms to get feedback regarding its recruitment processes, which enables it to upgrade or improve its processes (Robb, 2014). Nonetheless, the human resource manager of the company Katy Barclay indicates that even though social media is an effective platform for human resource functions, it requires active support to manage.

Last but not least, the Spitfire Group uses Linkedln to recruit persons with high experience and skills. The Spitfire Group develops software applications for large organization; thus, it requires employees with at least ten years of experience (Robb, 2014). The organization connects its social media platforms via FinancialForce HCM, which is a human resource management application stored in the cloud that gives the possibility to identify clients with the required experience (Robb, 2014). It uses the platform to put in place a database of professionals in the area where it operates, namely Denver area, creating a positive association with them, helping them realize their career goals, and recruiting them when there are job opportunities.


The success of HRM is attributed to social media enabling organizations to lower their costs of recruitment and selection, obtain appropriate talents through data analytics, and brand themselves. Social media has made HR professionals face the challenges of language barrier, knowledge gap, inconsistencies and risks of lawsuits regarding intellectual property and discrimination. The use of social media by HR professionals has improved HRM practices and should be implemented in order to enhance HRM success.


Bohmova, L., & Pavlicek, A. (2015). The influence of social networking sites on recruiting human resources in the Czech Republic. Organizacija, 48(1), 23-32.

Robb, D. (2014). HR technology: How three companies went social with recruiting. Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved from

Tyagi, A. (2012). Social media: Opportunities and challenges for human resource management. International Journal of Knowledge-Based Organizations (IJKBO), 2(2), 1-14. DOI: 10.4018/ijkbo.2012040104

Wolf, M. V., Sims, J., & Yang, H. (2014). Social media utilization in human resource management. Web Based Communities and Social Media 2014 Conference (WBC 2014). 8th Multi Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems, 15-19 July, Lisbon, Portugal.

Wright, A. D. (2014). How Facebook recruits. Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved from