Employee Engagement

4 Ways to Use Instagram for Recruiting

A tip sheet of four ways to use Instagram and social media to recruit employees and build a brand.

Using_Instagram_for_RecruitingIf a picture is worth a thousand words, Instagram has to be worth millions. Instagram is a social media platform where users can share pictures and short videos with the world. With more than 300 million active users uploading millions of pictures daily, it’s one of the fastest growing social media platforms.

The question for HR is, can this help with recruitment? If so, how?

The answer to that first question is yes, Instagram can be used to recruit talent, and many companies are doing just that. Here’s how:

  1. Building relationships with your talent pool and passive candidates
  2. Positioning your employer brand
  3. Conducting competitor research
  4. Conducting research on your target audience

There are some things to keep in mind when using Instagram to attract talent:

Build relationships

Hashtags: Just like Twitter, Instagram has popular hashtags. If you can work these into your posts you’ll reach more users. However, as we know, it isn’t always about reaching the most people, it’s about reaching the right ones. A great way to do this is to use a location-based hashtag. For example, if you’re hiring in Toronto, #Toronto would reach users that are in the ideal location to work for you.

Engage with your target audience. Engage with your followers, and even non-followers who match your employee persona, by commenting on and liking their posts.

Position your employer brand

Be Authentic: People follow your company’s Instagram to get an idea of what it is really like to work there. If your organization is on the more serious side don’t only post pictures of company parties or work outings. Choose to embrace both the fun and the hard work; the right candidates will love you for it. A great example of an organization who balances its corporate reputation out with fun is PwC Canada talent acquisitions Instagram.

Showcase your team: If you show the people who make your business possible this will let prospective candidates know that you value your employees and will value them. It also adds more of a human interest angle to your business. Marriot has been praised for their ability to do this well.


Show Off: If your company has won a recent award, Instagram is a fun place to display it proudly. A strong visual of a trophy or plaque is more exciting than simply reading about it in a tweet. Nothing beats the smiling faces of employees after a job well done.  Edelman knows how to do this the right way.

Connect Everything Together: Each social media platform used by your company is only one piece of the puzzle. To get the most out of each it’s best to link them through each other. Tweet your Instagram pictures and link your company website on your Instagram. A study by Buffer found that tweets containing shots from Instagram received 150% more re-Tweets and 89% more favorites.

Conduct research on your competitors

Because your competitors are selling similar products and services to yours, and trying to connect with the same audience, it’s worth looking into how they’re positioning themselves on Instagram. Do they have one? If not, then you’ve found yourself an opportunity. If they do, take a look at what they post. What’s working for them to get followers and interaction? A comparison between McDonald’s and Burger King Instagram can show you what I mean:



Burger King

Number of Followers



Number of Posts



Number of People Followed




Graphics, a mix of food,
people, and phrases

Lots of pictures of food


Dedicated to everyone who says, 
“i’m lovin’ it”. To our super fans – we salute you. www.mcdonalds.com

The official Instagram of Burger 
King USA. Download the Chicken Fries keyboard here: bit.ly/BKkeyboard


Burger King takes a singular approach posting only images of what they serve. These pictures give the impression that they serve delicious food but is lacking in personality. McDonald’s appeals to not only their buyers but potential employees as well.

Conduct research on your target market

Find your existing contacts from other platforms on Instagram and monitor what they post and how they interact. Use this to tailor your approach to communicating with your target market. Because users choose to interact with content, this is a glimpse into the psychographics of your target market such as their likes, dislikes, beliefs and preferences. For followers you already have, Instagram monitoring platform Iconosquare can show you what content you are sharing receives the most attention and by whom.

Follow hashtags being used by your target market. You’ll be able to see how they interact and how your company can be more relevant to them.

How are you using Instagram for recruiting? What are some of your favorite company Instagrams?


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