5 Steps to Establish a Social Recruitment Strategy

Press Release from Analytics Search

5 Steps to Establish a Social Recruitment Strategy

In today’s hiring landscape, talent acquisition teams often face a flood of job applicants, ranging from underqualified to overqualified, further complicating the hiring process. A social media recruitment strategy for talent sourcing can mitigate this issue by adding high-quality targeted candidates to the top of your talent funnel. 

The role of social media in talent acquisition has undergone a significant transformation.  According to Careerarc, 86% of job seekers now use social media in their job searches. Social recruitment, a key aspect of talent sourcing, can be employed in various ways, including social sourcing, social listening, candidate engagement, and recruitment marketing.

What is Social Media Recruitment?

Social media recruitment, commonly referred to as ‘social recruitment,’ enables you to utilize social channels to discover and engage passive candidates, as well as attract potential candidates to your job listings. This, in turn, boosts conversion rates at the top of the recruitment funnel and streamlines the overall hiring process. In simple terms, social recruitment opens up new avenues for talent sourcing and recruitment marketing.

Why is Social Recruitment Important?

This approach goes beyond traditional recruitment methods and provides teams with a more comprehensive view of different talent pools. Social media has become an indispensable talent-sourcing method to unearth talent through search filters, hashtags, or talent research strategies. Overall, social recruitment is a key driver of success for a talent sourcing program.

How to Use Social Recruitment:

  • Social Sourcing

Social sourcing refers to the process of researching and discovering candidates through social media channels and platforms. Social sourcing, a critical component of a social recruitment strategy, provides a unique avenue for talent acquisition to reach larger and more diverse talent pools. 

When talent sourcing, researching and cross referencing social sites can lead to increased success in candidate engagement. For example, researching coding repositories like Github to discover engineers, then cross referencing to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for direct messages provides limitless opportunities for talent sourcers.  

  • Social Listening 

Social media keeps your talent sourcer up to date with relevant conversations about your industry, your competitors, and your target audience – oftentimes referred to as social listening. By actively tuning into your target candidate’s social activity, it provides an opportunity to drive more meaningful interactions, which increases outreach response and candidate conversion rates for candidate engagement.

  • Candidate Engagement 

Candidate engagement is a form of outreach, generally as an ongoing outbound recruitment motion, aimed at converting candidates into talent pipelines.  With an overabundance of emails overflowing most candidate inboxes, social media serves as a strong avenue for message delivery. Consider how many people manage multiple forms of direct email accounts. These email accounts could be in the form of work accounts, academic accounts, and various personal accounts, such as Gmail or Yahoo. On the other hand, most individuals typically have only one of each social media accounts, such as a LinkedIn profile or one Facebook account.  

  • Recruitment Marketing 

Social media can help recruitment marketers develop relationships earlier in the game, which is why it’s key for talent sourcing to work in lockstep with recruitment marketing. Employer branding is the foundation for talent sourcing, and social media provides opportunities to showcase your employment brand’s personality and social interests which has shown to optimize candidate conversion rates.

LinkedIn shared that at least 49% of professionals follow companies on social media to stay aware of job opportunities. Recruitment marketing can utilize social media as an outlet to build talent communities, ultimately leading to increased engagement and conversion rates.

The 5 Steps to Establish a Social Recruitment Strategy for Talent Sourcing

The most important thing to consider is not being time bound as you get started. There is a misconception that talent sourcing is like a water faucet that can quickly be turned on and off.  Though, the reality is, talent sourcing is a faucet that has miles of pipe to travel before water actually flows out. 

Your social recruitment strategy relies on a few important factors. For instance, how established is your employer brand, what kind of resources are at your disposal, and which industry do you belong to?  While there’s several things to consider, here’s a straightforward, 5-step guide to assist you in putting together the essential elements needed to create a powerful social recruiting strategy.

Step 1: Set Goals and Establish KPIs

By establishing goals and attaching quantifiable metrics, you can figure out whether your social recruitment efforts are actually paying off. Solely aiming to add candidates to your pipelines isn’t enough. Set benchmarks that are realistic and achievable, that are well aligned to your business. Remember, talent sourcing is a long-term endeavor, and it’s recommended to be thoughtful and realistic about what can be achieved in a timeframe. 


  • Find more quality candidates (KPIs: sourcing channel effectiveness, conversion rates) 
  • Lower recruitment costs (KPIs: productivity goals, time-to-hire, agency spend) 
  • Better candidate engagement (KPIs: response rates and click rates for messaging)

Step 2: Calibrate with your Candidate Persona 

candidate persona, is a semi fictional profile of a target hire’s skill and experience, oftentimes with hypothetical information like demographics and behavior. Generally, candidate personas can define a target profile along with their digital habits, which streamlines social sourcing.

Your persona will also help develop an Employer Value Proposition or EVP. An EVP is a value statement from a qualitative and objective examination of all financial rewards, employment benefits, career development, work environment, and company culture. In short, your EVP is the answer to ‘why should a passive candidate even consider working here’ and is vital for outreach and messaging.

Step 3: Choose the Right Social Platforms

Utilize user demographic data to identify where your target profile may spend their time. This step may have already been completed during the development of your candidate persona. Other ways to complete this step would be to examine your current employees digital footprints and to research the sourcing habits of your competitors recruiting in the same space. Compiling these social channels will help guide your talent sourcing efforts.

Our complimentary eBook on Social Recruitment and Targeted Social Sourcing can be immensely helpful in this step, as it further defines social channels sourcing possibilities and their user demographics.


Step 4: Social Media Outreach and Social Engagement

Candidate outreach at scale is frequently carried out using targeted nurture campaigns, which consist of a series of personalized touchpoints aimed at familiarizing prospects with your employer brand and career opportunities. To achieve candidate outreach with high conversion success, it’s recommended to utilize a blend of automated email sequences with social media outreach and social engagement.

For social media outreach, it’s recommended to have a multi-channel messaging sequence in your outbound workflow. LinkedIn InMails, while effective in high volume, are a severely limited candidate outreach method when used in competitive talent pools. InMails have limitations around personalization, delivery tracking, and automating follow-ups, which can lead to them being overlooked within a cluttered inbox. In addition to InMails, try other delivery methods on social platforms like LinkedIn direct messages, LinkedIn Voice, LinkedIn Video, or Facebook messages.

Try to facilitate candidate engagement as a coordinated effort by involving team members, stakeholders, and executives. Sharing a job posting on their feeds can go a long way, but targeted social outreach can sometimes convert a hard-to-reach candidate to the top of your talent funnel. Also, Consider.com is a great tool for social media recruitment that allows you to access LinkedIn networks of all of your colleagues. The scale of a well connected colleague can be huge and this can be a powerful tool to drive referrals from within your own talent community.  

Social engagement is more than just outbound messaging. One of the most effective strategies in candidate engagement is using social listening on your prospects to gain insights into how to best connect with them. Prior to initiating any messaging, begin by researching their online activity. If they have commented on or liked an article, that should serve as your reference point for cold outreach. This level of hyper-personalization has consistently yielded the highest response rates in the industry. While it takes additional time, it substantially enhances response rates.

Step 5: Test, Monitor, and Optimize 

“What gets measured, gets managed.” Accurately measuring the success of candidate outreach can aid in establishing benchmarks for creating a repeatable social recruitment workflow and optimizing your nurturing strategy. It’s important to experiment with various cold outreach approaches to determine which ones best grab the attention and interest from your desired candidates.

A few example metrics to track:

  • Sourcing Channel Effectiveness – Measures the ROI on specific sourcing platforms.
  • Candidate Pipeline Speed – Tracks the period of time between initial contact to an accepted offer. 
  • Sourcing Productivity – Gauges your team’s sourcing efficiency based on activities, such as message volume or message-to-screen ratios. 
  • Candidate Conversion Rate – Assesses the percentage of contacted candidates progressing to either the first round or hire.
  • Response Rate – Calculates the percentage of contacted candidates who respond (accept or decline).


Social recruitment is a critical component of a talent sourcing strategy. Although LinkedIn offers a strong starting point, GoHire’s findings indicate that 98% of recruiters are already active on LinkedIn, indicating a saturated platform. Exclusively concentrating on outbound sourcing solely through LinkedIn can lead to constraints and self-imposed barriers to pipeline growth. Take a look at our complimentary Social Recruitment guide to learn how to seamlessly integrate personalized social sourcing strategies into your outbound workflow.

Companies Mentioned in this Press Release: