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A digital job application reference: how do social media posts affect the recruitment process?

Mahmut Demir (Department of Tourism Management, Faculty of Tourism, Isparta University of Applied Sciences, Isparta, Turkey)
Yusuf Günaydın (School of Tourism, Final International University, Kyrenia, Cyprus)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 28 October 2022

Issue publication date: 1 February 2023




This study aims to determine the influence of candidate employees' social media accounts (SMAs) on human resource (HR) professionals' hiring decisions as a job application reference in the tourism industry.


Using a qualitative approach, semi-structured interviews were conducted in tourism businesses, such as hotels, travel agencies, restaurants, bars, and ground-handling service companies. In-depth, open-ended interviews with 16 questions were conducted to gather data face to face between October 15 and December 20, 2021, with 38 HR professionals. The research questions were analyzed using thematic analysis and discussed under three main themes.


The findings of this study showed that HR managers in the tourism industry generally prefer to examine candidates' SMAs rather than traditional references because they can quickly and cheaply screen many applicants.


Social media (SM) is increasingly used as a crucial channel in recruitment within organizations. This paper contributes by filling a gap in HR management, which empirical studies on the influence of job applicant's SMAs on recruiters' hiring decisions have been limited so far.



Demir, M. and Günaydın, Y. (2023), "A digital job application reference: how do social media posts affect the recruitment process?", Employee Relations, Vol. 45 No. 2, pp. 457-477.



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