Benefits of using social media for recruiting

How to recruit the right candidates on social media

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118 minutes is how much time the average human spends on social media networks each day — that’s almost 2 hours. Overall, social media use makes up almost a third of all online activities. Given how omnipresent Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are in our daily lives, it makes sense for brands to reach out to consumers there.

But it’s not just customers they find on social media. More and more companies use social media as part of their hiring strategy in order to recruit future employees who will mesh well with their company culture.

Almost all professional recruiters now leverage social media for talent acquisition. And more than 50% of employees definitely see a company’s social media presence as relevant for their career decisions.

Social media recruiting is not just interesting for big brands but small businesses as well. They can boost their reach with less money if done right. It also works for hiring freelancers.

By engaging on social media companies can show their values and attract employees that fit. Click To Tweet

The reasons for making social media a part of your recruitment strategy are overwhelming. People already spend a lot of time on social media, and you can attract those applicants who really want to work for you based on your company culture.

Go beyond LinkedIn

LinkedIn is often the first thing that comes to mind when we think about recruiting via social media. And while it’s a worthwhile channel created specifically for this purpose, there’s a lot more that you can do beyond LinkedIn. Start thinking outside the box and take your recruiting to Twitter, Facebook or even Instagram as well.

One way to do this is to simply post job ads to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, really making use of the targeting features those channels offer. Or you can post openings directly to your social media channels, just like Scottish publisher Canongate has done here.

The string of tweets immediately shows Canongate’s casual attitude and sense of humour and will attract like-minded people. It alludes to the fact that the quality of life in Edinburgh is much higher than in London, and the publisher also demonstrates it’s aware of trends like Pokémon Go. And who doesn’t like having an office dog around?

Overall, the tweets give insight into the company culture applicants can expect to find at Canongate. The tweet also garnered a good number of retweets, so it quite clearly spoke to a lot of people.

Company culture matters

It’s not news that company culture matters in recruitment. Employees who fit the culture are happier, stay with the company longer, and this keeps turnover low. Engaging on social media is an excellent way for companies to show their values and attract employees that fit.

By building your “employer brand” or “company brand” on social media you give people an impression of your company culture. Of course, that also means your culture can’t be shitty, so fix your culture first! 😉

By reaching out on social media you can attract people who are already following you because they like your brand. It’s much more personal than if they just found your job posting on any odd recruitment site. It also raises your chances of finding talent who might not be actively looking yet, but who are open to a new job when they see an interesting opening.

Using your social media network to advertise job openings can also be easier and less expensive than posting to job-sites. Many companies can get away with posting jobs only on their own channels because plenty of fans with the right skill set will apply because they would love to work there. But even when posting jobs to recruitment sites like Monster, you should still make good use of your social media following as well.

How to attract the right candidates on social media

First of all, you need to find out where your target group/potential employees can be found online and set up a good social media presence there. Make sure your profiles are up-to-date and that you regularly engage with your audience instead of just yelling into the void.

Once you are recruiting, you should use social media to get the word out by posting your job opening on your own channels. Don’t just post a lacklustre link to your career site with the words “New job opening!”. Instead, make it engaging and interesting for your followers, for example, the way Canongate has done.

Use hashtags to spread the word, whether it is your own hashtag or a popular recruiting hashtag. There are hashtag lists you can start from but always do your own research as well so you can target your specific market.

Encourage everyone in the company to share job openings. After all, your existing employees will have to work with the new hires down the line, so bring them into the process early on. If employees share openings with their own networks, the new hires are more likely to fit in with the existing team. Similarly, share from your own personal accounts as well.

How to use hashtag campaigns for recruiting

If you want to invest a bit more effort, you can organise a hashtag campaign for recruiting new talent. Just like with any other social media marketing campaign, you pick a hashtag and plan your campaign around it. Tie your hashtag campaign in with social ads and use visual content, including social video. Like with all hashtag campaigns, good planning will get you most of the way.

Consider what you would like to achieve with your campaign. You could organise a hashtag campaign to fill specific positions or simply aim to raise your profile and put yourself on the map for future graduates. One of our customers used their hashtag and social wall at a recruiting event, another one uses it to further humanise their recruiting site.

Recruitment hashtag campaigns work particularly well if there are a lot of positions to fill or if it’s an industry-wide hiring drive, e.g. to get more minorities into tech, more healthcare professionals in a specific area, etc.

A social media hiring drive: #NHSwhereistarted

At the beginning of 2016, NHS Employers in the UK launched a hashtag campaign aimed at rejuvenating the NHS workforce. Only 6% of people employed by the NHS at that point were under 24. The campaign, run with the hashtag #NHSwhereistarted, asked people who had first entered the workforce via the NHS to share how they got started in order to inspire the next generation to pursue a career with the national healthcare provider.

The basic idea of the campaign was to share a photo of one’s first day at the NHS and nominate two other people to share their own “first day”. NHS staff of all kinds ended up sharing their career paths.

The NHS’ hashtag campaign was built on company culture. By letting active NHS employees tell their stories of starting out and success, the NHS was able to position themselves as an employer people are happy to work for. Considering the precarious state of the public healthcare system and ongoing debates about its financial state, this is no small feat.

The campaign was conceived by ThinkFuture NHS, a programme aimed at bringing more young people into the NHS workforce. They rounded the campaign out with blog posts about individual career journeys. Soon, the hashtag was picked up by hospitals tweeting out job offers as well. Furthermore, the campaign was nominated for a Health Business Awards 2016.

Set up a social wall at a recruiting event: #NorthernTechJobs

As mentioned before, it’s not just individual companies who use social media to recruit new talent. Organisations are also using hashtags to generally push career options for a certain industry and geographical area or to pool job offers from different companies in one place.

We Are Tech North, an initiative working on boosting the digital tech scene in the North of England, used Walls.io to set up a social media wall at Silicon Milkroundabout, a tech job fair in London.

Any companies posting with the hashtag #NorthernTechJob in their job postings on social media were automatically featured on a social media wall at the venue, allowing job seekers to scout for potential openings and immediately interact with companies they were interested in.

Social media wall using Walls.io for tech jobs recruitment at a job fair
We Are Tech North used a social media wall to promote job openings in the North of England at a job fair in London.

Bolster your recruiting site: #IKEAazubi

IKEA Germany has embedded its social media wall on its landing page for trainees at ausbildung.ikea.de. The wall features Instagram posts tagged #IKEAazubi (“Azubi” meaning trainee or apprentice) and gives future apprentices a glimpse into the life of current IKEA trainees.

The social wall transports company culture, and also shows young people considering an apprenticeship with IKEA Germany what they can expect. Seeing what being a trainee at IKEA is like counteracts uncertainties and motivates young people to apply if they can see themselves fit in.

IKEA Germany Walls.io widget on recruitment website
IKEA Germany embeds social media posts from their trainees on their recruiting website using the Walls.io widget.

How about you?

Overall, leveraging social media when looking for new employees has great advantages:

  • Better targeting: you can use social media ads to really drill down into your perfect target group
  • Culture fit: social media allows you to be found by people who really fit with your company, are already fans of your brand, and really dig your company culture
  • Lucky catch: you might attract talent who aren’t actively looking for a new job but who will find they’re interested once they see your post
  • Cheap reach: a good and perhaps even entertaining post will likely get shared outside of your own network at very low cost

Have you ever used social media to find a job? What was it about companies’ social media behaviour that made you apply or want to get a job with them? If you’re a recruiter — do you use social media to reach out to potential talent and how do you go about it?