The most common definition used for social recruiting is that it is the process of sourcing or recruiting applicants through the use of social platforms as promotional and/or promoting channels by employers and recruiters. Career placement offices at university campuses also use social recruiting since social media is familiar to and often embraced by students and graduates as a job searching medium.
Social recruiting falls into two different classes. The first is internet sourcing using social media profiles, blogs, and online communities to find and search for passive candidate data and information. The second is social distribution. This involves using social media platforms and networks as a means to distribute jobs either through HR vendors or through crowdsourcing where job seekers and other influencers share job openings within their online social networks.
Since late 2009 there has been some discussion in the recruitment and social media communities about whether simply using social media as a communication and marketing channel can be called "social recruiting". The argument is that for recruiting to be truly social, it needs to build a community, facilitate communication within that community, and rely on social connections between community members to recruit.