Social Recruiting

Hiring Success Glossary

Table of Contents

What is social recruiting?

Social recruiting refers to the process of recruiting candidates through social media platforms, like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, and other websites, including online forums, job boards, and blogs.

Social recruiting is also referred to as social media recruiting, social hiring and social recruitment.

While organizations have thus far generally used social recruiting as a way to augment more traditional recruiting methods, that may change as social recruiting continues to gain popularity. For example, according to one study, nearly three-quarters of workers between the ages of 18-34 found their most recent job via social media. Moreover, nearly 90% of recruiters report that they have hired someone off of LinkedIn.

When done well, social recruiting enables organizations to reach passive candidates, gather more referrals, target desired candidates, showcase your organizational culture, and save money.

Ultimately, social recruiting works because it inserts your organization into the orbit of where workers spend a considerable amount of their time--on social media.

How does social recruiting work?

For believers in social recruiting, the method offers a more-efficient and cost-effective alternative to conventional online recruiting, like

Social recruiting practices include things like:

  • Identifying potential candidates on LinkedIn.
  • Sending a potential applicant a direct message on Facebook.
  • Tweet links to available positions, and include relevant hashtags to build long-term cohesion.
  • Post employee photos on your organization’s Instagram account with a message encouraging others to join your team, apply for open positions (with links), or add their resume to your recruiting pool.
  • Creating videos to share on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram pages that highlight and outline your organization’s culture.

Tips for effective social recruiting

Each organization determines its own social recruitment strategy tailored to its own employment needs. From a philosophical standpoint, however, there are important fundamentals of effective social recruiting.

Network and directly engage with your audience: if a potential candidate adds a comment to an Instagram of Twitter post, for example, that suggests interest in joining your organization, so be sure to respond to them in a personal way. This can be as simple as using their first name and encouraging them to check out available positions. Making a personal connection, however small, is essential.

Make sure your social recruiting highlights, directly or implicitly, your company culture: you should have a clear and detailed idea about your organization's core values and culture. You should also be able to directly connect that culture and those values to your social recruiting outreach. How, in other words, is your social recruiting broadcasting your corporate culture to a broader audience.

Involve your staff: encouraging your staff to help in your social recruiting efforts is beneficial for multiple reasons. First, it expands the reach of your social recruiting content. Second, and mentioned in point #1, making a connection is essential. Creating the conditions where candidates might connect with peers provides another opportunity for a connection. Lastly, “selling” your corporate culture is most effective when assisted by employees. Organizations are obviously going to try and sell their culture, but candidates know that. To see that culture shared or advocated for by employees, however, is potentially a much more convincing sell.

Be consistent: social recruiting requires consistent engagement with your audience of potential candidates. In addition, you should always stay current with the latest industry trends and concepts by reading the top recruiting books published each year. Remember, social recruiting is not as simple as posting jobs and receiving applicants. The best candidates already have jobs and potentially are not actively looking to move. The way to attract those candidates, therefore, is to consistently build an attractive corporate brand and culture over time. This means posting regularly in ways that illuminate your corporate culture and organization goals. It also entails responding directly to people who reach out, comment, or share your content in a friendly and personal way. The goal, therefore, is to eventually create desire among potential applicants to join your organization as soon as a position opens up.

Choosing the right social media platform

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn all present potentially useful tools for social recruiting. Twitter enables organizations to share links to open positions, news about their company, etc. Facebook offers similar tools, but also adds the functionality of sharing photos and videos. Instagram is an ideal place to share photos and videos that highlight your corporate culture, showcase new products and services, etc. Further, many social media platforms offer advanced search features that are highly beneficial for social recruiting. These advanced features can help you learn more about the current audience of your social recruiting and help you target the right groups moving forward.

Facebook’s Graph Search allows you to search various variables of a user’s profile, including location, interests, areas of study, etc. You can, for example, search for something as specific as “people interested in SEO marketing and live in Los Angeles.”

Twitter’s Advanced search has more limitations than Facebook, but still allows you to search for people using specific phrases, hashtags, and keywords.

The most effective social media tool for social recruiting is LinkedIn. Because it is built for job seekers, employers and professional networking, the entire site utilizes a wide range of functions to help highlight your corporate culture and recruit potential candidates.

LinkedIn also offers an Advanced People Search. This tool offers search capabilities that are highly useful for recruiters. Many of these search features are free. However, some require a LinkedIn premium account.

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