More than half of the people in the world have a presence on social media. With access to such an enormous audience, it’s natural to engage with job seekers on these platforms. But is recruiting with social media the right move for your business?
The answer depends on what you need from a recruitment strategy, what platforms you intend to use and how far along your social media recruiting program is already. Brands with a strong presence on social media are more likely to benefit than brands starting from scratch. But even if you’re new to the game, you can find great candidates on social with the right approach.
Learn more about the pros and cons of using social media to recruit employees.
What Is a Social Recruiting Strategy?
A social recruiting strategy uses social media to find and engage potential job candidates. It’s one of many recruitment channels such as in-person professional networking events and employee referrals.
A social media recruitment process typically involves creating and managing profiles on popular social media networks, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. Besides having an active presence, these strategies require active engagement with potential candidates about job opportunities.
Because most social platforms provide analytics, recruiters can measure the effectiveness of a social recruiting strategy in terms of engagement and visibility. Tracking the number of applications that come from social media and the quality of those applicants also helps you gauge success.
Why Is Recruiting on Social Media Important?
Social media is a major form of interaction for people across locations and time zones. Your social media recruiting strategy is an excellent opportunity to expand your employer brand in spaces where people already gather.
Of course, social media recruiting is only one part of your overall recruiting strategy. Social media is best suited for top-of-the-funnel engagement with passive candidates. It’s also a good channel for raising awareness of your employer brand.
Magnify social media’s impact by combining it with lower-funnel recruitment tactics. When candidates already have a favorable impression of your brand from social media interactions, for example, you’re likely to have more interest and engagement from attendees at the local job fair.
3 Benefits of Using Social Media to Recruit Employees
In a competitive job market, employers need to use every available channel to find good talent. Here are three benefits of social recruiting.
Standard recruitment channels can be limited in reach, in part because of low usage. With social media platforms, businesses can potentially reach millions of people across demographics and locations. When your content is interesting or useful to job seekers, they might interact with your brand or even amplify the posts by sharing them.
The value of social recruiting to your business depends on which channels you invest in and the roles you’re trying to fill. While any social channel will drive traffic across demographics, consider looking at demographic trends among users by platform to target the people most likely to engage.
Facebook and Instagram users tend to be adults who are in the formative years of their careers, and a likely fit for early- to midcareer roles. A retail establishment may want to use TikTok or Snapchat, which have even younger audiences, to build a pipeline of entry-level sales associates. LinkedIn users, meanwhile, include workers of all types, but you might have better luck finding knowledge workers looking for remote roles.
Because social media channels aren’t exclusively intended for recruiting, you can reach people even when they’re not actively looking for a new role. Just getting in front of someone with meaningful content could be the first step to engaging and hiring the perfect candidate.
Your brand is usually more approachable on social media. Many people will comment on a brand’s post or follow them on social, even if they’re not ready to apply for a job or visit your careers page.
Your brand’s social channels are also great places to share thought leadership and showcase your company’s mission, purpose and priorities. While engaging users with thought leadership isn’t likely to immediately generate a return, this initial engagement could lead to a job application or referral down the road.
Social channels provide an excellent opportunity to build your employer brand at no cost. Recruiters can post updates about job roles, share images and videos of employee life, and network with ideal candidates and job seekers. The downside is that organic visibility and engagement with this type of content might be very low.
The other way to boost your social media recruitment strategy is through paid advertisements, including boosting the reach of your social posts. Rather than investing all of your budget in a one-size-fits-all promotion campaign, you can experiment with different audience types and content. Sponsor different types of posts at different times to see what drives the most engagement with your employer brand.
For example, a post linking to your careers page is the obvious choice, but not necessarily the best use of your marketing spend. Putting budget toward a thought leadership post discussing the company’s perspective on recent news could generate more engagement and awareness — potentially having a bigger long-term impact on recruiting.
2 Disadvantages of Social Recruiting
Although social media recruiting can produce a multitude of benefits, it’s not the right choice for everyone. Consider these disadvantages of social recruiting before investing your budget.
Social recruiting doesn’t promise quick turnarounds. It takes time to build reach organically and engage the right people. Social media recruiting primarily brings people to the top of your hiring funnel, so it’s less effective when you need applicants immediately.
Recruiters might need training on best practices for social media recruiting, including brand voice and tone, how and when to post and how to avoid reputational risk. This training can be time-consuming and costly, not to mention take away from other activities.
A person’s social profile may contain personal information that isn’t visible on a job application. Someone could have a visible disability, for example, or display photos of their children. This increases the risks of bias entering the recruiting and hiring process.
To mitigate this risk, you’ll need clear policies on how recruiters should interact with potential candidates on social media, including how you’ll direct them to your careers page or open job postings. These policies should also address how recruiters handle sensitive information. For example, while recruiters might engage with candidates on social channels, they shouldn’t ask for personal information in such a public forum.
3 Businesses Using Social Media to Recruit Employees
Plenty of brands use social media to recruit candidates every day. Here are three examples of companies successfully using social media to power talent acquisition strategies.
McDonald’s Australia executed one of the more creative uses of social media recruiting. The brand wanted to increase applications from younger talent with little or no experience. Since resumes weren’t important for entry-level roles, McDonald’s created a Snapchat lens allowing users to see themselves as employees and submit a brief video about themselves.
The “Snaplications” campaign generated almost 3,000 submissions in the first 24 hours and the first new hire within 48 hours. Overall, 15% of applicants advanced to the final recruitment stages.
Salesforce uses Instagram to engage potential candidates with its employer brand. In addition to the brand’s customer-facing Instagram page, Salesforce promotes the employee experience on its @salesforcejobs Instagram page.
The people behind the brand are front and center on the page’s posts, showcasing life at Salesforce and opportunities to attend conferences and other events. The page also highlights Instagram Story collections featuring Saleforce’s employee resource groups.
GE Power, a global energy company, uses its brand Facebook page to spotlight its purpose and people. GE Power regularly shares updates about its mission to embrace clean energy and support women in leadership roles (especially in STEM fields). GE Power shows prospective candidates how they might make a difference as an employee.
The “Ask GE Power” widget lets people begin the application process with one click.
Is Recruiting With Social Media Right for You?
Recruiting with social media can be an effective way to improve talent acquisition, by putting your brand in front of a wider audience, engaging passive candidates and reducing recruitment costs. In the long run, these benefits lead to better hiring decisions.
However, before implementing a social recruiting program, you need to be aware of the potential drawbacks. If you don’t have the resources to manage accounts or the ability to monitor for privacy and compliance concerns, recruiting with social media might not be the best fit. Weigh the pros and cons to see where social recruiting can augment your existing recruiting strategy and expand your talent pool.