Repository logo

The role of social media as a tool for recruitment from the perspective of postgraduate students and HR practitioners.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Previously social media was the territory for teenagers and young students. Nowadays, millions of people have registered on social networking sites. Several companies worldwide have acknowledged its value. Melanthiou, Pavlou and Constantinou (2015) found that social media is being used as part of E-recruitment strategies in companies and is rated as being more cost- effective and efficient than LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are predominantly used for recruitment (Vyas, Mirji, & Hanji, 2015). Since there is minimal research on the topic in South Africa (Koch, Gerber & de Klerk, 2018; Cilliers, Chinyamurindi & Viljoen, 2017), the researcher’s aim is to contribute to the body of knowledge. The main objective is to explore the role of social media as a recruitment tool from the perspective of Postgraduate students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and Human Resource (HR) practitioners from various industry sectors. A mixed methodology approach was used in this study. The research instruments were questionnaires and interviews. A total of 175 questionnaires were distributed to postgraduate students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and interviews were conducted with six Human Resource practitioners from different organisations in South Africa. Reliability and validity of the study were conducted. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used for data analysis, including thematic content analysis. The quantitative findings showed that 95% of Honours students have a professional account on social media; more than 60% of them spent at least three hours on social media daily. Over 70% of the respondents indicated that they used social media for job seeking and the two most favoured sites were LinkedIn (67.1%) and Facebook (47.9%). The qualitative findings indicated that LinkedIn is favourable with regards to filling senior management positions; while Twitter attracts graduates for more entry level employment opportunities. Although the use of Facebook and Instagram surfaced in the feedback, it was not prominent nor extensively used for effective recruitment across industries in South Africa. Part of the recommendations that arose from the study was the training of Human Resource practitioners to use social media technologies optimally in the recruitment process. There is scope for further research on the topic regarding the privacy of social media as a tool for recruitment in South Africa.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.