How to recruit employees using social media

By Abby Perkins

Years ago, companies and human resources departments relied on background checks and references to vet candidates. And when it came recruitment, word of mouth and employee referral were the gold standard.

While these methods still play a vital role in hiring, technology has made it possible for employers to recruit and vet candidates themselves, using the same tools they use to post pictures and keep up with old friends: social media.

Social media allows employers to seek out, communicate with and get a feel for candidates they’re considering hiring. But social media has an added benefit, too: information gleaned from social media often gives employers deeper insight into the character and personality of an employee.

Put simply, social recruiting is something you need to be doing. But implementing it into your hiring strategy requires a bit of planning. Here are six best practices to ensure that the process is effective.

1. Target your recruitment to job seekers
When it comes to finding candidates for open positions, social media gives companies a low-cost way to publicize jobs to thousands or millions of people. However, companies need to realize that job postings are exactly the kind of content that most of their followers are looking for. Instead of blasting out job ads on your company’s main Twitter feed, Facebook page or LinkedIn profile, set up a separate page that is dedicated to career seekers. You’ll get better returns, and avoid spamming your followers with irrelevant information.

On Facebook, for example, companies can create a separate “jobs” tab on the main company page. This strategy allows you to target open positions only at candidates who are actively looking for a new job. LinkedIn, on the other hand, can help you generate targeted leads by utilizing current employees as brand ambassadors. Ask employees to promote job positions on their own pages to extend your reach to candidates in the same industry or with the same skill set.
2. Consider your word choice
Social media sites may not look like traditional job boards, but many people use them in a similar manner. While some candidates will visit your  careers page every day, others will search Twitter and other sites using keywords and hash tags. This means that recruiters and hiring managers need to create concise, keyword-rich job descriptions that candidates can easily find – and that stand out in a crowd of job postings.

Think about the words your ideal candidate would use when searching for a job, and include them in your posts. Don’t be afraid to change a job title or rework a job description if you find it doesn’t contain the best words. Use trending industry terms, so that your posts will show up in conversations among qualified candidates in your field. On Facebook and Twitter, make sure your posts are tagged properly so that they show up in relevant feeds.
3. Don’t just focus on ads
Ads and job postings are one way to recruit highly skilled workers who are actively looking for jobs. Another way to attract top talent who may not be on the job hunt juts yet?  Build relationships and engage with potential candidates over time by sharing relevant, interesting information about your company.

Instead of just posting job ads, include information about company culture and events. Post pictures of new office renovations, or the new workout room that was just installed. If your company has a specific application process, consider posting interactive videos or slide shows that explain each step of the process. In fact, some companies, like Zappos, don’t post any job ads at all. Instead, their career pages are filled with content that lets applicants learn about the business and decide where they fit in best. 
4. Track results
Social recruiting efforts won’t do you any good if they don’t achieve the results that you want – great candidates. Experiment with different post types, images, and even wording. To determine which posts are working and which ones aren’t, insert a trackable URL into each tweet or post. This will allow you to track the number of views and clicks that each individual post drives. Analyze results to determine the most effective way to communicate with potential candidates – and then replicate your most successful efforts.
5. Be creative
Everyone knows they should be recruiting on the Big 3: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But the Web is full of other social media sites that have millions of users – many of whom are looking for jobs. Get creative and figure out how you can effectively use other social media sites to recruit, too.

Try Pinterest and Instagram for visual, creative posts and job openings.  Use sites like Quora and Reddit to interact with industry-specific communities and answer questions about your field of expertise. Even explore YouTube and Vine as platforms for sharing videos – consider uploading video tours of your company, or day-in-the-life videos from different employees.
6. Use social to vet candidates

Once you narrow down the field of prospects for a job opening, you can utilize social media to vet candidates as well. Search the candidate on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Compare the information there with what they provided to you in the application or interview.

Check for inconsistencies or omissions in professional information, but also get a read on the personality they present through social media. Do they post inappropriate content? Do they interact with and participate in conversations in your industry? Do they not post at all – or do they have their profiles locked up tighter than Fort Knox? What candidates do on social media can tell you a lot about what they’re like in real life.

Do you use social media to recruit or vet potential candidates? What are your best practices for success?

Abby Perkins is Managing Editor at Talent Tribune, a blog dedicated to all things HR.  



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