These days, everyone has a phone in their pocket. As we become increasingly wired in as a society, the way we engage with each other and the landscape of business is changing. So where do modern recruiters turn when they need to source some great new talent? In a highly competitive job market, social media has become a powerful tool for recruiters as it allows them direct and more immediate access to job seekers. That truth has transformed the way that many recruitment professionals work as it is rare to find people these days without at least one social profile. In a work context, the platform of choice is usually LinkedIn but not always. So if you're planning to bring social media recruitment into your hiring bag of tricks, keep these 5 tips in mind.
Why use social media for recruiting?
There are many reasons why a recruiter would want to use social media. First, it’s easy to access and build talent communities on most of the social networks. Secondly, candidates reveal much more about themselves on social networks, so it becomes a place where recruiters can evaluate candidates based on information often left of resumes. Lastly, it’s easy to streamline hiring processes by using a combination of social media recruitment tools and the applicant tracking system to obtain quality applicants.
The 2019 Jobvite Recruiter Nation Survey of 800 recruiters indicated that, “74 percent of them believe hiring will become more competitive this year,” and, “67 percent said their biggest challenge in hiring is the lack of skilled, high-quality candidates.” Recruiters are turning to the most active social media platforms to promote their organizational brand and attract candidates, while simultaneously trying to make a connection.
What are the top 5 social media platforms recruiters should use?
Of the many social media networks available, recruiters can put the bulk of their effort into those that offer the best results. Each company has specific target candidates who may spend more time on one network vs. another, but here is a quick rundown of the social media platforms that offer up great candidates.
Facebook - Due to its sheer size and history (it's the largest social media platform in the world with 2.41 billion monthly active users), recruiters should be spending a lot of time here. Facebook has many opportunities for recruiters to advertise jobs on career pages, invite candidates to learn more about opportunities via live career fairs and information sessions, and the ability to make this experience branded is superb. As a bonus, this was the first platform many Millennials used to launch into the world of social media and some candidates will have old accounts filled with a treasure trove of information. Be respectful of any privacy features, of course, but make sure you're posting your job descriptions on this site.
LinkedIn - This one should come as no shock to anyone. Because it’s designed specifically for professional networking, LinkedIn is a top social networking platform for recruiters. There are currently 303 million active monthly users, 40% of whom visit the site daily. Many of the users are corporate decision-makers, so this can be a great place for picking up new clients, as well as attracting candidates. LinkedIn also allows for community branded groups and plenty of networking, although it is more private. Even if you're posting your jobs on traditional job boards, make sure you include a post on LinkedIn. The site gets 100 million job applications a month so it's worth getting in on that action.
Instagram - This fast-growing social networking platform is mobile friendly and heavily based on brands, so recruiters are using this to create direct engagement with users. You’ll find this to be a fresh way to build interest in your organizational brand, go live, and make recruitment fun and productive. While job postings might be difficult on this platform, engaging with users is easy. Many recruiters use this channel for building their personal brand and make use of the 24 hours story feature to share updates, recruiting success stories, and open roles.
Twitter - This massive social media platform allows recruiters to build candidate communities and branded career pages. Use hashtags (#) to identify new job postings by industry and include a link to your career website. Participate in Twitter job search events that attract new candidates. Like Instagram, Twitter is a good way to engage with candidates even without a formal job posting. The secret to Twitter is be fun, be brief, and post often. Because of the volume of tweets at any given moment, your tweets will have less staying power than on a platform like Facebook or LinkedIn.
YouTube - Admit it, you don't think about YouTube when it comes to social media recruiting, do you? The good news is, you're not alone. The bad news is, you're missing out. The largest video social media platform allows anyone to post videos to share company-branded information and insight. Recruiters can create videos about job searching and interview tips to build their personal brand or reputation, or they can highlight any job fairs or career-related events going on. Be sure to use YouTube to share testimonials of current employees too, which can encourage more candidates to apply to open roles.
What are the pros and cons of using social media in recruitment?
Be mindful of a few things before diving headfirst into social media recurring. Here are some pros and cons to consider:
- It's immediate and candidates can apply directly to job postings if you include the hyperlink in posts
- You can build a well-branded page for your company to attract candidates
- Interested individuals can review your social media profile to learn more
- Social media is mobile friendly which is where more candidates are searching
- Avoid using social media to stalk or spy on candidates (respect privacy)
- You cannot use the information found on a social profile as the basis for hiring decisions (follow all legal guidelines)
- You are limited by the features of each social network in terms of what you can do and how you can post
- Most recruiters need to be present on all the major social networks to be effective which is time-consuming
5 tips for recruiting on social networks
Once you have decided to start using social media as a recruitment tool, here are some tips that can help you make the most of this technology:
#1 - Set up a consistent and attractive brand on all networks: Your brand should reflect the values and culture of the organization. Be consistent and professional for a more ‘put-together’ image. Let candidates know what they can expect from the brand image you project. And if you are going to use multiple platforms then make sure you think about employer branding and provide a consistent brand presence across all of them.
#2 - Spend time on the networks preferred by your target candidates: Learn how to use analytical data to track the candidates who are noticing your posts and job listings. Focus on the networks where your target candidates are spending the most time. This might change for different jobs and different target audiences so pay attention to where you're getting engagement and focus there for the particular posting. Remember, social media changes quickly and you might have to be flexible in your approach.
#3 - Foster relationships and a sincere connection with candidates: Get to know candidates with friendly messages and invitations to learn more. Don’t appear pushy. Show a genuine interest in potential candidates and what they are looking for. Use the information in their profile to customize your introductions. If hiring for a marketing job on LinkedIn, for example, look at the candidate's profile to see if there's a talking point in their marketing background you can use to start a conversation. When it doubt, don't be generic. Candidates know a general query means a lazy or overworked recruiter and odds are good they'll pass you by.
#4 - Make it easy for individuals to apply for job openings: This is a good piece of advice for hiring in general but really put the effort in if you want to be successful with social recruiting. If your application isn't mobile-friendly or is too hard to use, your abandon rate is going to skyrocket. Streamline your social networks with your applicant tracking system so that candidates can easily apply for a job. Or at the very least, use a hyperlink to your job posting.
#5 - Use advertising sparingly for active hiring campaigns: Savvy recruiters will know that social media allows for targeted advertising. Use this to get in front of the right candidates, but only as needed. Your overall recruitment marketing strategy should be about building talent pipelines that are sustainable. You don't want to constantly be throwing money at the problem. However, for high powered positions or to find niche candidates this might be a strategy worth leveraging when the cost is warranted.
As you navigate social media for recruitment purposes, set up a system that helps you stay ahead of your tasks. Share valuable content and job leads on a consistent schedule. And set yourself up as a thought leader candidates will want to follow and engage with. Using social media as a recruiting tool helps deliver real-world information quickly and easily to the recruiter. It also lets you find passive candidates who might be browsing LinkedIn or searching through ads on Facebook. Hiring managers these days know the power of social media sites and well-planned talent acquisition strategies should include strategies around what platforms should be checked and how information gleaned in this way can be used. Make sure you always respect privacy settings and follow all the legal requirements of searching for candidates through social media. As long as you do, you may find social recruiting speeds up your hiring process and helps you gain a clearer understanding of the candidate you're about to hire.