Applicant search on social media: How important is the corporate culture on the internet?

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What influence do social media have? Company and the applicant selection? The answers to these questions open up the perspective of a deeply elementary question: When are companies actually ready for this type of applicant search? And when does it even harm the company? Best of HR –®

Here writes for you:


Katharina Daniels Best of HR –®Katharina Daniels worked as a journalist and PR consultant for the Focus, manager magazin, ADAC or the German Social Accident Insurance.


From the author:




Does social media really fit with us?

Charlie Chaplin's classic film was called “Modern Times” in the mid-30s. At that time, modernity referred to the industrialization of the world of work, today digitalization takes on this role. It does that Company nervous. But why?

Many corporate executives think that if they do not act now, show how modern and open-minded they are to the new media, they will not lure new, interesting newcomers on board - really? Or should be the first consideration before sometimes hectic social media activity: Does that (already) to us?

Company as Spiegel social development

What happens in companies is a Spiegel social developments Spiegel the self-image in dealing with each other, also in hierarchies, and the self-confidence of the actors.

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There are already changes here, which are often still more or less hidden, but are increasingly torpedoing the character of classical power structures through countless individual events.

Little sympathy for dusty corporate cultures

This can be seen in young, self-confident high potentials that companies now have to advertise for (and no longer the other way around).

Young people who see themselves as well the way of independence in creative networks and co-working spaces. And they have little sympathy for dusty corporate structures.

High potentials first ask about the corporate culture

It is not uncommon for high potentials to ask similar questions like these to the personnel decision maker directly in the interview:

  • How well-maintained and lively is your intranet?
  • And how well are you connected to the outside?
  • How open are you to portray your company in the social media?
  • How strong is the company against shitstorms, which can shake a company if it is not well prepared.
  • Can the company deal with the immediacy of new media?
  • Or it may even conduct embarrassing self-presentation (for example, when undercover employees of a company are active as supposed customers in chats and forums)

This brings us to the question: What influence do social and interactive media have on companies in general and especially on the selection of applicants in companies?

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Do not jump blindly on the wrong train

Not every new instrument or tool for personnel development and thus also organization design fits every company. The solution cannot be that companies now “blindly mad” think they have to jump on this train:

All others are already driving, at least it looks so. Beware, it could also be the wrong train. Nothing is more of a destructive impression that a company and its protagonists are not authentic than an image that a company invades, but which is not based on a solid and unthinkable foundation.

We have to - but are we ready for it?

For companies, the only question that can arise is “we cannot avoid it” - but what follows from this are the following questions:

  1. Are we ready for it?
  2. Can we deal with the people we have recruited in this way at all?
  3. Or would we have to think about something else, about our corporate culture?

Recruitment ways that cause damage

Many companies are often hectic, over-hasty: we have to be modern, eg with recruiting via social media, but unfortunately this is often a single step, which is not strategically underpinned; then the effect does not only fade, it can even cause damage in the worst case:

The company is getting people into the house it is not yet prepared for, meaning its demands for transparency, etc. It may not, on the other hand, properly classify the information circulating on the web, attach meaning to things that have none or the other way around. But of course it is always different.

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  1. Elizebeth pear tree

    Unfortunately, we live in a society that is in the process of being downsized - subject to outsourcing and staff reduction. The companies live on credit and only hire employees on a temporary basis in order to reduce them again in good time because they can no longer afford the responsibility and long-term salaries resulting from pensions for older people. It's a pretty sad situation and fair talking doesn't make it any better.

  2. Mathias

    I doubt that companies will find really suitable candidates via social media. But I like to be convinced of the opposite!

  3. Simone Janson

    Hello Mr. Brickwede, thanks for the supplementary numbers. Then we are looking forward to the publication of the report.

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