The default methods of connecting with prospective job candidates are quickly becoming obsolete. Billboards, classified ads, and stale online job board postings are not as effective as they used to be. While these channels remain an adequate solution for getting the message out that your company has an open position, they lack the immediacy and responsiveness to connect with candidates on a deeper level, the way that social media allows. 

The majority of people using the Internet have at least one social media account, and 79% of candidates in the job market are using social media in their job search. Smart hiring means going where the candidates are, and as a result, the recruiting market has shifted heavily towards social media recruitment. 92% of recruiters are now using social media to find high-quality candidates more quickly and more efficiently.

Social networks have equalized the playing field. They’ve granted more intimate access in both directions; candidates get to see what your brand’s business and culture are like, and your organization acquires a fuller picture of your candidates through their richly detailed profiles.  

Does this mean that if you make a Facebook profile, the candidates will start flooding in on their own? No. While social media provides the tools to identify, engage, and ultimately interview and hire new talent, doing so effectively requires a bit of planning and finesse. Thankfully, abundant resources can be found online (and in this article) to help steer your social media recruiting strategy towards success. 

Advantages of Recruiting Via Social Media

Once you’re aware of the many advantages of connecting on these networks, the decision to recruit using social media becomes an obvious one. Distinguishing features between social media and traditional web pages are blurring, with more websites integrating social features like direct messaging and comment sections. With so many people interacting with these social sites daily, being a part of the conversation increases your chance of grabbing the attention of ideal candidates. 

  • According to a 2015 study by the Society for Human Resources, 77% of employers on social media use it to boost their brand and recognition. 
  • 55% found social recruiting to save them money over other recruiting methods (much of social media is free to everyone.)
  • Social networks allow for targeted recruitment based on location. 51% of employers surveyed use social media to recruit in specific areas.
  • Companies use advanced search functions to target recruitment toward traditionally underrepresented groups, increasing candidate diversity. 
  • You can find candidates on the perfect wavelength for your company by connecting with them over shared ideas, passions, and mutual industry contacts. 

Social Networks Allow Personalized Communication

Direct messaging a job candidate, or sparking conversation via comments on one of their posts, is a great way to establish a personal connection. When a company-branded social account interacts directly and genuinely with individuals, it helps people to humanize that company as something more than a calculated recruitment tool.  

The online hiring pool is enormous, and candidates often recoil at the prospect of being sold or preached to. Candidates want to know what it’s like to work for you and whether the company culture is compatible with their values. Relying on generic bullhorn posts that target no one, in particular, might be the simplest thing to do, and they might catch the attention of those who were already interested. But if you want to find those candidates who will be personally invested and engaged, you’ll need to spend time connecting with them individually. 

Once a conversation with a potential connection is established, tell them what you have to offer for their talents and credentials and what in particular may have jumped out at you about their profile. Maybe they shared a thought-provoking opinion or anecdote, or you have a common interest. 

As you begin to steer these conversations toward recruitment, make sure to stay frequently engaged with such instant communication, and don’t leave candidates hanging on for an answer. When people get a quick response, they feel their questions and time are valued, strengthening their goodwill toward your brand.   

Consider Your Recruitment Goals

Every company has different hiring needs. Before settling on a social media recruitment strategy, consider the opportunities and areas for growth in your enterprise. Are you looking to improve the quality of your applicants? Do you want to look for candidates that align more closely with your company’s values? Striving for a better match at the start of the employment pipeline will boost your prospective employee’s satisfaction, helping with retention and morale. 

Take time to research what platforms competitors use most often in your brand’s space, what type of content they produce for various channels, and how their candidates engage with said content. You will also learn where your competition is not focusing their attention, revealing untapped blind spots and niches you can be the first to leverage to your advantage. 

Streamline Your Approach

If you divide your attention between dozens of profiles without any overarching plan, there’s a high potential for getting lost in the minutiae and burning out without accomplishing your goals. A necessary step in narrowing the scope of your efforts is profiling your ideal candidates and determining which social media channels they favour. Your messages and comments could be lost in the deluge of engagement on big sites like LinkedIn or Facebook, but if you go to more niche sites or specialized forums where your desired experts talk shop, you have a greater chance of cutting through the noise. 

Make sure to revisit your application process before enacting a social media recruitment strategy. The application should be as simple as possible, with a minimal number of steps and page redirects. Many candidates are put off at some point by a company’s slow, buggy application process. It leaves applicants with a bad taste before the potential interview even has a chance to start. Potential employees are accustomed to mobile-optimized websites with quick load times and clean, logical layouts. If your application is cumbersome and confusing, it may be a major recruitment barrier. 

Leverage Social Search to Find the Perfect Candidate

You’re probably familiar with the basic search bar on social networking sites, but did you know most have advanced search features built-in? You can pinpoint candidates that tick all the right boxes for any vacant role by experimenting with advanced filters. 59% of recruiters rated candidates sourced through their social media efforts as being of the “highest quality.”

Once you know what personal and professional traits will enhance and balance your brand’s culture, you can seek profiles with a compatible work ethic and industry background. 

On many social networks, especially LinkedIn, you can access a candidate’s full work and education history. A LinkedIn profile is many people’s dynamic online resume, so searching for candidates with the experience or education required for a particular role is easier than ever. While a traditional resume summarizes an individual’s professional background, social media offers insight into the person behind those credentials. Look deeply enough at a profile, and you may find they have additional skills, like the ability to speak a second language; they could also have a passion that aligns perfectly with one of your other open positions.     

While desiring candidates with certain traits and qualifications is understandable, it’s vital to avoid snooping too deeply and discriminating against candidates based on irrelevant (or protected) information. A person’s profile is usually curated carefully by them. However, there’s still a certain level of trust involved in going through someone’s social media profiles, especially once you cross the line from perusing public-oriented posts to sneaking a peek at content meant for friends and family. All hiring discrimination and privacy regulations should be strictly adhered to avoid undermining trust with candidates and causing potential legal issues. 

Let Your Brand Personality Shine

Likable, responsible company culture is key to being an attractive employer, and maintaining a positive social media presence goes a long way toward establishing that. Glassdoor’s survey found 84% of participants would leave their current employer in favour of one with a good reputation. Rather than putting out a barebones job ad, attract prospective employees by showing off your company philanthropy, the unique workspace, and testimonials or slices of life from behind the scenes. This is the social content that’ll start to engage interested parties in your company’s personality.

It’s helpful to think of social media as an online extension of your company. If you take pride in your painstaking customer service, show it off by leaving no comment or question unanswered. If you have creative people working for you, let them have fun channelling their talents into a video or profile piece. 

Many Hands Make Light Recruiting Work

The best companies in the world use multiple recruiters to scour candidate sources for potential hires. Whether your operation has dedicated recruiters, or just enthusiastic employee advocates and colleagues, encouraging them to join in on your recruiting efforts via social media is a great way to increase its effectiveness and reach. There are many ways to incentivize participation in your company’s social media recruitment, from rewards programs to competitions for the highest engagement. With a simple job listing shared to their own diverse network, your team amplifies your message to a new, previously untapped audience. 

While there’s value in strategizing a unified message, allowing your team to be themselves is important. Employees who enjoy working for you will be happy to share posts and integrate appropriate content onto their pages if they wish. Setting up the guidelines of what an acceptable post looks like should be covered in your social media policies. Regularly connect with your team about your expectations and goals, and nudge them in the right direction without being a social media dictator. The more explicit you are about the content you’d like to see and what things need to be posted privately, the less likely it is that your employees will cause your company to go viral in a negative way.   

Build a Following With Quality Content

Think no one will follow you just because you’re posting from a branded company page? 49% of job seekers follow potential employers on social media to stay aware of available openings, according to LinkedIn. The never abating 24/7 social media stream ensures that any given post will be seen, rated, commented on, and quickly discarded. To stay on the radar of potential hires, you need to update frequently, join in on discussions, and post content that’s entertaining, useful, or interesting. 

When deciding what to post, it’s useful to look at other creators and brands in your space and get a feel for what they’re doing. Look for the best blog article, video, or infographic on a given niche topic, and make your even better version. Make sure to put your brand’s unique spin on the idea, bringing your expertise to the table. Before posting, make sure all your social profiles are filled out as completely as possible with contact info, pictures, and other information that’ll turn up in searches. Incomplete profiles missing critical information are usually an automatic pass for qualified candidates. 

Not all content you or your colleagues post has to be a swing-for-the-fences innovative take on something. Many posts could outline your organization’s employee benefits and perks or feature associate profiles and success stories. Mentioning the more intangible positive aspects of working for you will attract modern workers who value things like a hybrid work environment, opportunities for advancement, stock options, and flexible scheduling. 

Content like blog posts, images, podcasts, how-to-guides, and interactive polls drive engagement and keep the conversation going, but the best return on investment is video. Social media users are ten times more likely to watch a video than engage with other types of content. Don’t limit yourself to Youtube-style videos–people like to tune into a live stream and interact with creators in real-time. A recurring livestream where you answer questions or highlight stories from your team is a great way to grow your audience by giving them direct, responsive attention. 

Targeted Advertising Can Help

Relying solely on your loyal community to share content, hoping that it’ll reach the right passive candidates over time, is an approach that can take a long time, especially if you’re just starting to build your social media audience. If you want immediate results or are looking to invest some of your recruitment budget, a targeted approach through paid social media ads can get your company’s message in front of the right candidate more quickly. 

Social media advertising is cost-effective and helps you target the perfect dream candidate through defining specific targeting parameters like location, certifications, employment titles, and professional interests. As you explore this option, you can adjust the demographic profile you’re after, change up your recruiting message, pull back on your budget if you’re not getting the desired results, or invest further if your ads are getting the desired results. 

Mastering the ‘Big Three’

A 2015 Society for Human Resources study surveyed job recruiters on what social networks they use for finding quality candidates. Here’s the breakdown of what recruiters most commonly use:

  1. LinkedIn (96%)
  2. Facebook (66%)
  3. Twitter (53%)
  4. Youtube (11%)
  5. Instagram (7%)
  6. Pinterest (3%)

Most people are using the big three social networks, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. That isn’t to say there isn’t tremendous value to be found elsewhere. Some of the most qualified expert candidates may be hiding on forums like Quora and Reddit or displaying their passions on Instagram and Pinterest. 

If you’re embarking on a social media strategy for the first time, the three biggest social networks have a plethora of tools to use to your advantage. Taking the time to master these tools on the most popular platforms will pay dividends in the future when you want to narrow your talent searches. Let’s discuss how to get the most out of these different platforms.  

LinkedIn

  • Use built-in job posting and application options for fast, efficient hiring. The “apply with LinkedIn” option auto-completes application fields with information from their updated profile, saving everyone time and potential errors. 
  • Search profiles by industry, prior experience, education, and geographic location. Consider upgrading to a LinkedIn Recruiter or Recruiter Lite subscription to unlock additional recruitment tools and search options. This also allows you to send more InMails to reach out to specific candidates.
  • Turn on your notifications, and check them as often as possible, so no one is left hanging.
  • Join one of the many specialized LinkedIn groups that cover almost any industry and topic. These groups attract members trying to establish themselves in a given field, joining conversations and hoping to be noticed by recruiters. After spending a short amount of time in one of these groups, you can check out the member lists and start networking with the top talent and thought leaders driving the discussion. Even if you don’t find your ideal candidate, you’ll be making connections that will lead you in the right direction. 
  • Keep in touch with past employees and new candidates you find that may not be the perfect fit for what you need right now. Comment on their posts to congratulate them on their achievements, and when a suitable position opens up, you may have an immediate new hire. Even if they aren’t interested, they may know the perfect person who is. 
  • LinkedIn has built-in job posting capabilities so that you can write up an enticing job description and list desired qualifications, click submit, then let the site’s speedy application process take care of the rest. 
  • Looking at data and analytics like how many clicks you’re getting, the demographics of your applicants, and who is viewing your company page is easy with LinkedIn’s proprietary tracking tools. Knowing this information helps inform you what posts drive traffic and engagement and what may need to be tweaked or revised. 

Facebook

  • The world’s biggest social network, with 2 billion monthly users encompassing 75% of all people online.
  • Finding relevant Facebook Groups and the Jobs tab are good ways to start recruiting on the platform. 
  • Create job postings simply by using the status update tool on your page. While the process is easy, Facebook doesn’t have LinkedIn’s robust application features, so don’t forget to link to the application on your careers page.  
  • Having a strong presence on the most popular social network improves people’s trust in your brand and increases their awareness of your company’s mission. 
  • Facebook makes it easy to build a diverse workforce. With worldwide reach, the platform provides the opportunity to connect with qualified candidates from virtually any background. 
  • One feature that helps you connect with your audience in real-time is Facebook Live. No extra apps or software are required for a decent live stream, and users on the platform can easily click the notification and jump right into your Q&A, office tour, or company event. 
  • Facebook began as a place for individuals to connect and share their genuine passions and interests. Encourage your team to create and share posts related to their work, growing the reach of your messaging exponentially. Many of them probably have like-minded friends and contacts who could be a great fit for your company. 

Twitter

  • Twitter features 328 million of the most engaged social media users in the world.
  • The tweet is a subtle art form akin to a social media haiku. It takes time to get the hang of distilling your message into 280 characters, but scrolling through your feed for a few days should give you a good feel for the cadence of Twitter communication. 
  • Twitter Lists let you prioritize a curated set of tweets that you see in your timeline. You can join lists made by other users or choose from Lists by group, topic, or interest. This is a good way to keep in touch with other professionals in your brand’s space and engage with their posts.  
  • You can tag other users with an @reply which can be commented on and seen by others in their network. Passive candidates that see the post may join in on the conversation, further spreading brand awareness.
  • Hashtags have been reinvented and popularized by Twitter, making the addition of a simple pound sign a way to vastly increase your message’s visibility. Using localized hashtags like #ottawajobs or #torontojobs might attract local candidates monitoring these hashtags regularly.
  •  If you’re looking to leverage the true power of #, use your creativity to put together some photo or video content with potential shareability, come up with a hashtag unique to your company or mission, and see if it goes viral. If the content is honestly produced, interesting, and useful, you may be surprised by how large your audience can grow. 
  • Twitter chats are group discussions on a given topic that take place at a particular time. You could join in on an existing chat to locate prime candidates leading the discussion or establish one of your own and have them come to you. 

Should You Partner With a Digital Marketing Agency?

Coming up with an effective social media recruiting strategy, especially with many active channels and content demands, is time-consuming and difficult. The ability to reach elusive talent, peruse credentials at will, find a candidate compatible with your company culture, and save money on recruitment make social media an essential component for hiring. 

If you want to maximize your social media recruiting potential and your online brand image in general, partnering with a trusted digital marketing agency is a viable choice.   

LRO Solutions, our sister company, can provide holistic guidance and support for your company’s online presence and social media recruiting strategies and execution. LRO Solutions specializes in price-conscious and efficient marketing strategy, branding, content development, web design, and social media recruiting.