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A Guide To Social Media Recruiting & Its Impact On Ageism 

The rise of technology has facilitated the invention of many new practices. From email and apps to social media platforms, there are more opportunities to connect with people than ever before. 

As these avenues for connection have developed, more companies have pivoted in order to take advantage of these inventions. In fact, in recent times, businesses have begun using social media to hire new employees.

While both a time and cost-effective proposition, the rise of social media recruiting does have its negatives. Namely, the fact that older workers, who are already experiencing ageism, are further disenfranchised. 

With this in mind, while it’s important for businesses to take advantage of new opportunities, these opportunities shouldn’t be at the expense of others. Otherwise, businesses risk missing out on key talent and some workers may be forced into early retirement.  

Rather than using social media as the only recruitment process, HR has the opportunity to use this resource in conjunction with traditional means. Covering all bases and ultimately resulting in a more diverse and productive workforce. 

Defining social media recruiting 

In essence, social media recruiting utilises social media methods such as Facebook, LinkedIn and even TikTok and Twitter to create and share job postings with both passive and active job seekers. 

In this instance, an active job seeker is someone who is scrolling through job postings looking for work. In contrast, a passive job seeker isn’t necessarily looking for a job but is someone who is open to potential new opportunities. 

By posting job positions to a company’s social media page, the aim is to broaden the reach and connect with a network of potential candidates that has previously remained off-limits. This way, companies can find not only top professionals but also the right fit to join the business. 

The very nature of posting and sharing on social media means that at any given time, a poster has access to a seemingly unlimited network of people. For example, if business posts on the company’s social media page, followers and employees can share the post.

This means that there is a minimum of three networks that can now see for hire posts. However, keep in mind that these networks will also be able to see your other posts and comments. 

These other communication channels will provide curious job seekers with a unique insight into the business and the company culture. With this in mind, it’s important to share branded videos, photos, or documents that convey the business in a positive, accurate light. 

Understanding ageism

In its most basic form, ageism is discrimination based on a person’s age. However, ageism in the workplace can present itself in many different facets. For example, ageism could be present in attitudes towards older workers. 

In another example, ageism could exist when older workers are not provided with the same training and professional development opportunities that their younger counterparts are offered. 

Ageism can also present itself as a general undervaluing of skills. Finally, ageism can also be present in company hiring practices that are either deliberating or unconsciously skewed towards younger workers. 

The consequences of ageism

When employees experience ageism at work, the company and the individual suffer. For the company, displaying ageist hiring and firing practices when dealing with older workers means that the business is missing out on years of industry insight and connections. 

Additionally, ageist practices can affect everything from employee productivity to company culture. If workers experience or witness ageism, morale is ultimately lowered and as a result, productivity may suffer. 

If ageist practices are evident in the workplace, there could be a divide between employees, making it unpleasant to come to work. This could culminate in high turnover rates, which is another aspect that could also damage productivity levels. 

For the target of ageism, there are both mental and physical health aspects to consider. Without a job, these workers no longer enjoy financial security and may have to sell possessions or their homes. Self-esteem also falls, which may lead to anxiety and depression. 

These vast consequences are especially concerning when you consider the results of an  Australian Seniors report on Ageing in the Workforce. According to Australia’s over 50s, ageism in the workplace is a real issue.

For starters, 9 in 10 people surveyed believed that ageism is prevalent in the workforce. Meanwhile, 1 in 5 experienced age discrimination within the workplace firsthand. Additionally, over 2 in 5 people felt patronised at work because of their age. 

How social media recruitment contributes to ageism

In today’s business operating environment, normal practices and protocols have drastically changed. Employees are working remotely, under a hybrid or full-time arrangement. Video conferencing is on the rise. The broader business landscape is increasingly competitive. 

This changing working environment has placed increased emphasis on not only finding top talent but convincing them to come and work for the company. By embracing digital means, a company can rapidly find new talent. 

With LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter boasting 3.5 billion combined users, it makes sense that social media recruiting is rising. By advertising on social media, recruitment reaches a whole new network of candidates and there is also the potential to easily background candidates. 

However, by using social media platforms to identify and engage employees, one key demographic stands to miss out on potential employment- older workers. By not being across different forms of social media older workers may miss out on employment opportunities. 

Millennials are digital natives. Having grown up with technology, logging on to Facebook to look for employment opportunities is simply second nature. For some older workers, they lack an understanding of technology and looking to social media for job ads may be unheard of. 

By funnelling all recruitment opportunities through social media, businesses are inadvertently narrowing talent pools and contributing to ageist hiring practices. Social media is inherently geared to youth, as such, social media hiring can be seen as ageist towards certain workers.

This can be troubling on two fronts. First of all, these kinds of ageist hiring practices could have legal ramifications. Secondly, in an attempt to broaden their network of talent, businesses may be alienating a key segment of experienced and skilled workers. 

How to implement social media recruiting responsibly 

Recruiting has undoubtedly changed in the last few years. However, embracing new recruiting methods and completely abandoning tried and tested methods is a mistake on many different levels. 

To ensure that all recruitment practices are fair and free from discrimination, it makes sense to include social media recruitment as part of a broader recruitment strategy. This way, every target market can be reached. 

As such, as part of the recruitment strategy, look to social media platforms. Rather than just continually posting and reposting, make sure there are goals in place to measure the success of the recruitment strategy. 

Look to measures such as higher traffic to the careers page as well as increased post engagement and follower counts to highlight if social media recruiting is in fact helping you reach a broader audience. 

If these measures indicate success, the benefits are twofold. Firstly, the chances of finding the right candidate increase. Secondly, it’s a lot more cost and time effective to place ads on social media than through other avenues. 

A well-rounded recruitment strategy will also make use of other methods of finding candidates. By hiring recruiters and advertising on traditional job posting sites, all target markets can now be reached. 

Through social media, companies can find digital natives who present as the next generation of talent and perhaps technologically savvy older workers looking for a new chapter.

By advertising through traditional means, businesses can connect with older workers and also the younger generation who value traditional recruitment methods. 

In an increasingly competitive business landscape where companies seem to be perpetually hiring, the value of a recruitment approach that covers all bases cannot be overestimated. After all, a company cannot find top talent if job postings aren’t being viewed by candidates. 

Hiring practices in this new business landscape 

The rise in technology, coupled with a changing business landscape has changed traditional workplace operating policies and procedures. In this modern business landscape, some employees work at home while other employees remain in the office. 

Recruitment strategies have also changed. In order to attract top talent, businesses are turning to methods of social media recruitment to appear in touch and attractive to potential hires. 

However, while this new recruitment strategy might attract digital natives, it alienates businesses from experienced and skilled workers from older generations. This type of strategy may also alienate workers who aren’t aware of social media recruitment. 

Rather than alienating key segments of the market and displaying ageism, it’s important for companies in this new operating environment to implement a well-rounded recruitment approach. This way, the talent pool undoubtedly increases, across all age brackets. 

Such a sound approach to recruitment has numerous benefits. For one, a diverse company is more appealing to job seekers who are becoming increasingly in demand. Additionally, by recruiting from different age groups, the chance of finding the right fit increases exponentially.

Joe Calvin
Joe Calvin is a Blogger and an SEO professional. Co-founder of Bigmixseo, I have 2 years of experience in SEO & 1 year of Successful blogging @ pantheonuk.org. I have a passion for SEO & Blogging, Affiliate marketing, & to invest in high trading stocks. " Sucess is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of Enthusiasm."