How to recruit young professionals online for job vacancies

January 13, 2015 by Margaret Townsend

Young professional candidates know how to apply for jobs online. Here is how to recruit them for your job vacancies

Findings in a 2013 national survey from the PewResearch Internet Project showed:

86% of internet users took steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints and 55% of internet users had taken steps to avoid observation by specific people, organizations, or the government. 

While people were mostly trying to avoid hackers and criminals in general this survey also showed;

  • 11% had specifically tried to avoid employers, supervisors and coworkers


  • 19% tried specifically to avoid certain friends

Were you searching for their profiles online in the hope of offering them a new job at your business?  Labelling them as ‘passive candidates’ perhaps?  It’s unlikely you got anywhere near that 86% of internet users who didn’t want to be found and especially the ones who were specifically hiding from employers, coworkers and friends because there is nothing passive about the methods they used to remain hidden.

For the survey also revealed;

  • 36% did not use a website because it asked for their real name
  • 26% used a temporary username/email address
  • 25% posted comments without revealing who they were
  • 18% tried to mask their identity
  • 18% used a fake name / untraceable username
  • 14% used services that allowed them to browse the web anonymously
  • 13% gave inaccurate information about themselves

The average anonymity seeker had used between 3 and 4 of these strategies at one time or another.

It would be very difficult to imagine any of these people actively selling themselves in any real way or revealing anything about their employment history or other identifiable credentials in order to tempt a recruiter to get in touch and, sorry to break this news, but your ability to ‘find’ through clever online tactics is not likely to be better than their ability to ‘hide’.

The youngest adults of that 2013 survey (those ages 18-29) were more likely than their elders to take steps to be hidden online so the need to preserve privacy it would seem is more important to the younger generation who may be more astute at understanding their vulnerabilities in certain situations online in the first place because they grew up with the internet, after all.

It gets more interesting.  Those who have a college or graduate education are more likely than those who have not gone to college to have decided not to use a website because it had asked for their real name. 

Those who are employed are more likely than non-workers to believe internet use should be allowed to be anonymous.  Furthermore, technology users (including internet, cell and social media users) were more likely than non-users to say this.

The young people from the time of that survey are now employees in the 20-31 age bracket and that means recruiters and employers need to pay attention if they plan on hiring the best of that generation at any time in the near future.  Searching through resume databases and social media profiles is and will become more and more futile.

Recruiters beware, these Pseudo Socials – or put another way, three quarters of American internet users and the bulk of the young working professionals – will only be found in genuine and identifiable form where their privacy is secure and they have more control over their environment.

When looking for young professional candidates think about it from their perspective and do your research when seeking out websites that offer genuine privacy for them.  For instance, some social media sites do not allow pseudonyms to be used for profiles so the pseudo socials will not be there and if they are they will be reluctant participants. 

It will be easier for you to communicate your message and get adequately matched to the right candidates on sites where they are not searchable and have both the privacy to provide comprehensive information thereby assisting the job to candidate match and the freedom to interact with you directly when a match occurs. is a good example of this, offering lots more practical features too.

Make an effort to use services that support their aim of keeping control of their privacy, personal information and activities so that you won’t remain separated from them entirely going forward.

About the Author

Margaret Townsend
An experienced recruiter and job seeker, now co-founder of a private job search website. Blogs are full of practical tips and advice on career development, work-life balance, the job search and the job interview. Also writes in-depth unique articles about workplace issues such as gender diversity, HR practices, culture fit, employee engagement and gainful employment.


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