Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Using Social Media Smartly While Hiring

More businesses than ever are using social media as a tool to help them in their process to match up the right candidates with the right jobs.

However, it’s a well-known fact that social media can be a minefield for recruitment with many factors to be considered before you even start. Will discrimination issues inadvertently emerge if you use social media as a screening tool? How representative of the applicant pool are social media platforms? It’s clear that social media will never be the only tool in a successful recruitment strategy, however, when following a long term strategy it can certainly be used as a tool to attract strong candidates. 

The top social media platforms used by recruiters are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn leads the pack with 94% of recruiters saying they use the platform, followed by Facebook (47%) and then Twitter (44%). But what exactly are these recruiters using social media for? 

poll carried out by Agency Central revealed that 77% of recruiters or recruitment agencies use social media primarily to ‘build a brand’. Only 14% said they use it primarily to ‘source candidates’, 9% said they use it primarily to source employers. Interestingly, 0% of respondents said they use social media primarily to screen applicants. The focus is very much on building brands with the other elements as secondary concerns.

This is a smart move. While using social media to source candidates and as a screening tool might work in the short term, a strong online presence for your brand is a far better long-term strategy. Become a consistent voice and a go-to place for information and you’ll start getting noticed more by the top talent. If you’ve done a good job, by the time you’re ready to post your next job opportunity, you’ll have a pool of enthusiastic candidates waiting eagerly in the wings.   

It’s really important to realise that while many recruiters use social media as a way to find candidates and sometimes even as a screening tool, it works the other way around too. A survey conducted by Jobvite showed that nearly half of job candidates used social media in the search for their most recent job. If your social media isn’t up to scratch, you may be putting off some of the better candidates for your latest roles. 

The key takeaway is that using social media for recruiting is about so much more than simply posting your latest job openings. It’s about building your brand and attracting talent in more organic ways. It should be part of your strategy, rather than the be-all-and-end-all of your recruitment strategy. And with our lives becoming increasingly digital, not investing in your social media risks being left behind. 

Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Optimise your LinkedIn company page 

For most businesses, LinkedIn is going to be the priority. It is an invaluable tool for getting your business in front of other people who work in your industry and provides a fantastic opportunity to share exciting company developments. Make sure you have fully completed your brand page so that you can see at a glance exactly what you’re about. This means that active jobseekers can see straight away whether or not they’re interested and will help your business stand out to those passive jobseekers who might be a good fit too. 

Once you’ve got your LinkedIn up and running, don’t neglect other channels. Facebook and Instagram are likely to be the networks you turn to next but don’t pass over more niche social media networks if they are relevant to your industry. For example, web developers might want to build their audience on GitHub while designers might want to start sharing more on Behance. However, it’s important not to spread yourself too thinly. It’s better to have an excellent profile on one platform, than several accounts that you struggle to maintain.

2. Know your audience

Millennials make up the largest generational portion of today’s workforce, so it’s crucial that you understand how they operate online. Research has made it clear that what this generation looks for in employment has evolved from the more traditional requirements of long-term commitment and a good retirement package. Now, job satisfaction and a sense of purpose are much more important for jobseekers. 

If your online presence is going to really speak to this generation, your company values and goals need to be clear in everything you publish. You’ll also need to make sure it’s clear how much your business values its workers and highlight how much opportunity there is for personal development. 

3. Showcase your company culture

Ensuring that the cultural fit is right for a new recruit can be integral as to whether or not the hire is a success. Social media can be a great place to show the world what it’s like to work for you. Your best brand ambassadors on this front will be your current employees. Get your employees involved and reveal what it’s like to work for your company on a day-to-day basis. Whether this is encouraging employees to post on their own social media profiles or producing content for your corporate accounts, this can add a more personal perspective which can feel far more genuine.

4. Start participating in relevant conversations

Once your page is up and running, you’ve made a few posts about the company and encouraged your employees to do the same, it’s time to start making a little more noise. Start making your opinions heard on the most important current issues within your industry and get your brand in front of the right people. 

This might involve writing an opinion piece on the impact of Brexit or Coronavirus on your industry, or perhaps the development of a new piece of technology that has the potential to alter the way you operate, and inviting others to start a dialogue with you on the topic. 

It might involve engaging on other businesses’ posts, adding to the discussion in a constructive way. To keep up to date with these posts, find out what hashtags are commonly used in your industry and follow these. Make sure you’re following the big names and stay in the loop with what they’re posting.

Actions like these will give your brand greater visibility online and get you on the radar of potential new recruits. 

5. Be consistent

Consistency is key. There are plenty of corporate social media accounts out there that started off with such good intentions, posting lots of quality content for a month or two before running out of steam and going quiet. This can be really off-putting for potential candidates who are trying to find out more about the business.

Set out a plan that includes a regular posting schedule. Make sure you take into account how much time it’s going to take to create the content you want to post. It might be better to start with a couple of high quality posts a week or month and ramping it up from there, rather than trying to post every day and quickly becoming frustrated due to lack of time and resources. One well-constructed opinion piece or graphic will be far more memorable than half a dozen hastily put together posts.

While you might not be posting every day, it’s important that some time is set aside to regularly log on and see what’s happening. Make sure you promptly respond to questions, messages and comments and check top hashtags and profiles for any new discussions that might be relevant to you. This will help maintain your visibility and nurture the connections that count.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to building a strong social media presence which is central to any modern brand. By showcasing your company online and engaging in the hot topics of the day, you’ll start being noticed by some of the top candidates out there. While it’s not a hiring strategy in its own right, following this sort of plan for social media can make engaging the right candidates much easier when it comes to recruiting.