The explosion in the use of social media by people across the planet provides a unique opportunity for recruitment companies.
Social media platforms are so widely used that it’s possible to use them to the advantage of the recruiter.
There was a time when jobs were placed in the classifieds or job sections of newspapers and those seeking jobs searched those sections on a regular basis. Sometimes companies attended career fairs, and those searching for a new job attended them as well.
But the world has changed. Not just in terms of the media we use, but also in how best to find the ideal candidate for your position.
- Availability and use of the internet continues to increase.
- More people every day use smartphones and mobile technology.
- Most people have up to five social media accounts.
So, what are the advantages of using social media for recruitment?
1. Showcasing and Networking
Even before you have an open position or you’re seeking candidates for a position, a strong social media presence will help in recruiting efforts. Your company’s website and social media accounts showcase your organisation and why it’s a great place to work.
You can use your LinkedIn page, Facebook page or Twitter feed to share photos of your team, your workplace, or update on company initiatives like a volunteer effort in the community.
Your employees can also be encouraged to use their social media to share positive stories about your organisation, and to share the organisation’s social media posts.
Every time you publish content on a social media site and it’s shared, it means more people are seeing it and more people are hearing about your company. That could lead them to remember the organisation and apply for an open position in the future.
Once you do have open positions, those considering applying for it will check your website and your social media feeds to get a taste of your organisation. If they’ve already been following your accounts, you will have positive name recognition to them when a posting appears. It’s important to think carefully about your online presence and to keep it fresh and relevant.
2. Posting Job Adverts
It’s clear that how we seek candidates has changed. As well, sometimes the best job prospect isn’t necessarily looking for a job.
Social media is the ideal way to find potential candidates who may not necessarily be looking for a new job, but who would be open to making a move for the right opportunity. It can also extend your reach beyond the typical job-posting sites.
But be wary, some people don’t take kindly to being prized out of a position they love. They also don't take kindly to being pestered once they’ve said no. This could happen if recruiters are pushy or if you don't have a CRM to log details and they’re contacted by more than one person.
So posting your positions on social media is an important step when seeking candidates. The obvious first posting would be on LinkedIn, the most popular social media platform for professionals. But look beyond that to other platforms that can help:
Which Platform Is Best?
You can use specific groups to target specific candidates, like LinkedIn groups, hashtags on Twitter, or Facebook groups. It is important to remember that people use different social media sites for different reasons, so it’s best to choose the one that best suits your needs.
Perhaps LinkedIn is the best and only site, due to its professional nature. But if you’re looking for graphic designers or photographers, for example, perhaps Pinterest or Dribble is a better fit.
Ask employees to share the posting and you will reach even more people, who will be receiving the posting from a friend whom they trust. Social media will allow you to receive more referrals with a greater potential for a mutual fit with a candidate.
If it’s important to the position, you will also be attracting those who are tech-savvy and part of the technology wave that isn’t going away.
This is also a good tactic because, for the most part, it’s free. If you decide to, you can also pay for advertising on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.
3. Screening Candidates
Employers can use social media as an initial screen for potential candidates. While you must remember that these are personal accounts, so there may be some funny photos or gag posts, it will help to gauge if someone isn’t a fit for your culture.
One example is if a candidate has a tendency to “troll” on Twitter – you likely don’t want to hire someone who takes pleasure in upsetting other people.
Social media can help assess whether a candidate is aligned with your company culture and values. Be careful you aren’t using social media to eliminate candidates based on your biases – race or religion, for instance. And don’t use social media to eliminate a candidate if you’re not sure about the fit. Meeting them in person is still one of the best ways to judge fit for your position.
It’s also true that some candidates won’t want their profiles viewed and don’t have them available publicly; on the other hand, more and more candidates are including links to their LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter profiles.
Neither is a bad thing unless you’re hiding something or making sensitive information public! If you’re headhunting a private banker then privacy may be considered a good thing. If you’re recruiting a video producer, you’re probably going to want to see some personality on their profile.
4. Monitor Your Competition
The best thing about social media is that you can see what your fellow recruiters are up to, or social listening as marketers call it! As a business you want your profiles as public and as popular as possible so there shouldn't be any issues viewing competitor activity.
Sentiment Analysis - How do people view your competition? What do they say in reviews? What’s is their mood like in post comments? And if it’s positive, do people say the same things about you?
Engagement Analysis - Are people engaging with competitor content. If so, why? People will only engage in something they have an interest in so it’s crucial you capture their imagination.
5. Support Your Inbound Marketing Plan & Content Strategy
Recruitment firms should have a marketing plan, and no a business plan doesn’t count; that’s a separate document!
If you haven’t got a marketing plan you could be missing out leads and customers. Your social media strategy should form part of it.
If you want your customers to get the most value, consider an inbound marketing plan. Inbound is the philosophy of getting your customers to come to you, you don’t want to chase them.
A content strategy is the tool you use to do this. If you create gripping, useful content that your prospects can use they’re more likely to use your company.
Social media is a fantastic tool for sharing this content in posts, videos or direct messages. You can view all your data in a CRM and see how it’s helping secure customers.
Disadvantages of Social Media
We don’t want to paint a completely rosy picture, because there are some downsides to social media. For one, it takes time. You can’t simply launch a website, set up LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, and expect immediate dividends.
You have to:
- Continually update content to ensure it’s relevant and fresh. People won’t keep coming back to see the same material.
- Build up your network of followers and connections.
- Be sure you’re connecting regularly – at least once or twice a week - with posts, tweets, blog posts, etc.
There’s also risk to inviting employees to use social media to share information about the organisation. It’s worth spending time developing a social media policy to ensure employees are not posting disparaging remarks about your company without knowing there are clear consequences to such actions.
There’s the risk that you may use social media to screen out valuable candidates. People change over time, so previous posts may not be reflective of a person at the present time. Some candidates may change posts or settings once they apply for a job.
Most people still keep their personal and professional lives separate, and consider most of their social media accounts to be personal.
You may show bias to candidates who have a great social media presence compared to those who are not as active online. Having many social media accounts that are posted to regularly doesn’t make a person the perfect employee. In fact, there’s a risk that person is doing their social media posts on company time!
Great Tool, But Consider Other Methods
When using social media for recruitment, use it as one tool in the entire toolkit. It shouldn’t be considered as a stand-alone recruiting instrument, but it can be leveraged if done properly.
Social media should back up an inbound marketing plan full of useful content and resources. Use social media to promote this content, as well as the methods we’ve already suggested.
Author Bio: Daniel Ross is part of the marketing team at Roubler — an employee time and attendance software founded in Australia. Their mission is to change the way the world manages its workforces.