Does your company have its sights set on hiring the best candidates? If so, in today's ever-escalating war for talent, you may need to bolster your recruitment strategy.
It’s not enough these days to post a job listing on your company website and hope that the candidate of your dreams will apply. It's also not enough to post ads on Craigslist and LinkedIn.
These days, you need to be active to attract candidates with the most talent potential. Otherwise, someone else is going to snatch up that dream employee.
In order to compete, you need to make sure your recruitment strategies are up to snuff. To attract the best talent on the market, you need to invest enough resources to recruit candidates on social networks.
What Is Social Recruiting?
Nowadays, the name of the recruiting game is social: social media.
As you might have guessed, social recruiting is the process of recruiting candidates through various social platforms.
According to Pew, 79% of U.S. adults are on Facebook, while 32% are on Instagram, 31% are on Pinterest, 29% are on LinkedIn, and 24% are on Twitter.
Suffice it to say that a lot of jobseekers regularly hang out on social networks. To attract these candidates, you have to hang out there, too.
Many companies already are.
Jobvite found that social media has been used by 73% of recruiters to hire candidates. And don’t assume this trend is all flash and no substance. According to Jobvite and LinkedIn and Altimeter Group:
It’s not surprising. Social media lets you learn more about prospective employees than a resume on its own. You can see their endorsements on LinkedIn. You can see their personality on Facebook and Twitter. You can gauge photography skills on Instagram. You can see what a person likes on Pinterest. All of this information helps you gauge each candidate's potential fit with your company culture.
Getting to know what makes a company tick on social media can be a powerful draw. So let’s take a look at how you can make the most out of social media. Keep in mind that each platform has its own unique features that you'll want to leverage for maximum impact.
How to Leverage Twitter
01. Make use of your network
If you have a great job and there's an opening at your company, ask your followers to broadcast the position to their own networks. Just don’t do it too often. That gets annoying. But every once in a while doesn't hurt.
02. Rejoice in hashtags
Those little “#” symbols before every word count. Use them. If you’re posting about a marketing job in Atlanta, for example, consider using #marketing #job in #ATL. And if you need a little guidance with which hashtags to use, try a tool like Hashtracking.
03. Search for colloquialisms
If you want to do outreach to potential recruits, know the local lingo. For instance, while a developer on LinkedIn might say they know Ruby on Rails, on Twitter expect them to use RoR. Or they might use Jet City instead of Seattle.
04. Showcase your personality
You can't simply post job openings on your Twitter timeline and expect applications from top-tier candidates to come flooding in. Instead, you need to engage your audience, share relevant content, and otherwise showcase your personality. Nobody wants to work for a boring company.
How to Leverage Facebook
01. Try out Facebook ads
People share so much on Facebook. Leverage that activity to target candidates.
Do you need someone with a certain degree? What about someone who lives in a particular city? Are you looking for someone who graduated college two years ago?
Facebook’s robust ad platform lets you target exactly who you want to target and remove anyone you don’t. You can also retarget ads to people who have already visited your Careers page. You know these people are already interested in your company, so Facebook retargeting ensures that they keep seeing your brand.
02. Create a jobs tab
There are countless apps that let you add a Jobs tab to the top of your Company page. LinkUp is just one example. This helps put your open jobs in front of the people who love your company and its products the most. According to one study, 67% of jobseekers who use social media are on Facebook. Don't underestimate your company's ability to land top talent on the platform.
03. Create a job-specific page
L’Oréal’s Facebook pages are an model of recruitment success. Its L’Oréal Careers page has almost 215,000 Likes and has become a dedicated hub to post job openings, answer questions from candidates, and share behind-the-scenes photos to give a sense of the company culture.
04. Use Facebook Live
Don't forget about Facebook's live streaming functionality. You can use Facebook Live to fortify your organization's recruiting efforts. For example, HubSpot has used Facebook Live to broadcast its recruiting team giving viewers application tips. You can similarly use the medium to give tips and tricks to prospective candidates to increase the chances they land a job with you.
How to Leverage LinkedIn
01. Test LinkedIn Recruiter
Do you want access to the entire network of professionals on LinkedIn? You can have it ... for a price. Depending on your needs, LinkedIn offers a few plans to personally connect with that perfect candidate. If you do commit to spending money, try their Recruiter Lite version first. It’s less of a hit on your wallet and probably has most of the features you need.
02. Target candidates with ads
Just like Facebook, people share all about their professional lives on LinkedIn. Use this shared information to target individuals at specific companies and with specific job titles.
03. Take advantage of Groups
Imagine talking to a whole bunch of people who do exactly what you’re looking for. There’s a LinkedIn Group for that. Let’s say you’re looking to recruit an inbound marketer. You’d want to join the Inbound Marketers Group, which has nearly 115,000 members! Groups can get pretty niche, which is great when you’re searching for a very particular type of individual.
04. Don't forget about InMail
Have your recruiters take some time to write personal notes to qualified candidates and send them through InMail. As a result, you can be near certain that the candidates you have your eyes on will see your message. It also shows that your company is willing to go above and beyond to land top talent.
How to Leverage Pinterest
01. Highlight culture
The visual nature of Pinterest makes it the perfect place to feature company culture, employees, and your brand personality to attract people who could really fit in. Pin photos of company lunches or happy hours, your office space, or latest projects.
Have employees represent themselves and their work, adding a personal touch to the board. Pinterest lets you expose your brand to a new audience and share your culture in an authentic way.
How to Leverage Instagram
01. Explore portfolios
We don’t mean this in the literal sense — candidates are not uploading their actual portfolios to Instagram.
But you can definitely find snippets of their work if you know where to look. Are you hiring for a videographer or content producer? What about an illustrator, graphic designer, artist, interior design, or chef? Search hashtags on Instagram to see pictures of their work (the hashtags can be as simple as #interiordesign or #veganchef).
02. Use Instagram for employer branding
Like Pinterest, Instagram is a perfect platform to showcase your company culture and tell your organization's story. Whether you want to include zany pictures that relay your company's personality or images that demonstrate thought leadership. The right strategy will attract passive and active jobseekers alike.
Try just a couple recruitment strategies on one social network first. Once you feel comfortable, ramp up to your next network.
Our client Geeks2U, an Australian tech support company, came up with an innovative strategy that leverages their strong culture to attract applicants. Geeks2U needs to find top-class and friendly talent. After all, they’re in the business of providing great customer service. Rather than just saying they’re a great place to work, they prove it.
Take a look at the screenshot below, taken from their Join Our Team page:
Geeks2U is using actual numbers to show that they have a great work culture. First, they display their individual happiness scores over time, easily showing prospects that Geeks2U has some very happy employees. And thanks to TINYpulse’s company benchmark reporting, they’re able to show that they are above average when it comes to employee happiness.
If you were a job candidate choosing between a culture you knew was positive and one you knew nothing about, which would you choose?
Companies using employee engagement surveys should consider publicizing their results on their websites and other platforms job candidates use to assess a company. If you’re like Geeks2U and you have really positive feedback, it’s an incredibly effective recruitment strategy.
Who doesn't want to work for a company full of happy employees?Creative Recruitment Strategies
To hire top talent, you need more than social media and other digital strategies.
Here’s a list of 10 creative techniques you can add to your recruitment arsenal:
01. Referral incentives
Create an employee referral program to get your existing workers to refer their friends and colleagues. Current employees know your company culture, so they’ll be able to pick people who will fit in. You can offer a monetary incentive, a free lunch, or some other perk.
02. Pay them to leave
Zappos has a great policy where they pay new recruits who aren’t a cultural fit to leave— a policy that parent company Amazon has copied. If employees don’t like the culture and aren’t fitting in, Zappos encourages their departure to avoid polluting the culture they worked so hard to build.
03. Sponsor an open house
Invite people to your office for drinks and snacks and just get chatting. They'll get to know some of their would-be coworkers and become familiar with what you're all about.
04. Attend events that are not job fairs
Look on sites like Meetup.com or your local chamber of commerce to see what events are happening in your area. You’ll get to network with relevant professionals that could be just what you need. You can also opt to host a hackathon or other kind of networking event of your own.
05. Consider past candidates
Remember that really awesome person you loved meeting but just didn’t have the right skills for a role? Maybe your needs have changed and now they’re the perfect fit. Don't forget about boomerang employees, either.
06. Sponsor school clubs and events
Do you need young candidates excited about marketing? Or maybe candidates ready to jump into the entertainment industry? Look to local universities and colleges and support student clubs in your field. It’ll put you top of mind when they’re looking for jobs.
07. Focus on fit
Sometimes you find a person with a personality and can-do attitude you love but they’re light on the skills you need. Consider training them up or supporting their continued education and professional development.
08. Talk about culture
When we tell employees about giving away 1% of our product to nonprofits and 1% of our time to community organizations, they perk up. Leverage the interesting things about your work culture that make you stand apart.
09. Say hello with joe
In a formal interview setting, candidates are nervous and are overthinking every answer. Casual coffee meetings allow you to see them in a new light and build personal connections. You’ll also gain valuable insights and find the right culture fit for your company by being able to observe the candidate in the new context.
10. Focus on perks that matter
Many companies don’t have the budget to offer free lunches every day, free parking, or weekly workplace happy hours. While those perks sure are fun, do they provide real value to candidates? Instead of focusing on the “free,” consider what’s really important to employees — offer strong mentorship programs or lots of opportunities for career growth.
Watch Out for Word of Mouth
Even people who don’t have contact with a candidate can impact their decision to join. What do the actions of your organization — and even those outside of it — tell the rest of the world about your company?
01. What do people think of you?
The age of social media means that bad news about a company’s behavior can become very public very quickly. It can create a bad reputation that haunts an organization, with ripples that reach potential applicants. Respondents to a survey from CR Magazine and Allegis Talent say that what they hear about an organization affects their job decisions:
And for those who would say yes? Many of them would only accept a job at a company with a poor reputation for significantly more money:
Even once they join a company, respondents would be swayed by what others are saying:
If your company makes a poor showing in the world of public opinion, don’t be surprised if new hires jump ship — or never sign on in the first place.
02. What do applicants think of you?
Reputations aren’t just about splashy scandals that make headlines. They can be created from unexpected sources. You may think that a recruiter only makes an impression on the applicant they’re interacting with, but CareerBuilder found that many applicants would share bad experiences:
Poor communication during the application process or a rude interviewer — it could all end up shared with the online world at large, free to be read by someone you might want to hire. Don't underestimate the power of Glassdoor.
03. What do your employees think of you?
Maybe the most important opinion of all comes from your current employees.
Even though recruitment strategies have gone digital in recent years, the members of your organization are still vital in finding you new recruits. According to a CareerXroads report, employee referrals are the single most significant source of hires, right above career websites.
This means that employee engagement and satisfaction affect more than just your current company. What your people say to their friends and colleagues can shape the future of your organization. If your employees are unhappy and telling potential candidates about it, you could lose out on the talent you want to hire.
Give your employees a chance to give you feedback, and then act on their concerns before unhappiness has a chance to fester.
Listen to how TINYpulse client Blue Box made use of anonymous feedback tools to make employees feel heard and stay happy even through a tough business transition:
The most effective recruitment strategies involve more than waving sky-high salaries and fancy perks in candidates’ faces.
The real way to get top talent is to use resources like social media and your own creativity to make yourself stand out from the competition.
It may take some time to get your recruitment game to the level you need it to be. But with enough hard work and determination, you can build a well-oiled recruiting machine that consistently sends top talent your way.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.