9 Best Practices for Recruiting via Social Media

Potential job candidates spend time on social media. Here are some ways to reach them.
recruit social media

As the labor market gains strength, more recruiters are approaching potential employees on social media. Recruiters communicating through sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter should follow some guidelines to achieve the best results possible.

“To be the most successful recruiter and hire the most qualified individuals, you have to keep up and really stay on top of latest trends,” said Clair Gonzalez, branch manager of HR and administrative staffing at HireStrategy, a staffing firm based in Reston, Virginia. In this candidate-driven market, companies need to improve and modernize their recruiting strategies to set themselves apart and attract passive candidates, she added.

Here are nine best practices for a strong recruiting strategy using social media:

1. Focus on the positions to highlight and attract. Jobs that have specific skill requirements are likely good options for using social media to recruit, Gonzalez said; generic job postings can yield thousands of résumés that are tedious to comb through.

2. Communicate compelling employer branding content. Gonzalez shared that HireStrategy worked with career site The Muse to feature HireStrategy’s company culture. HireStrategy employees now share a link to the content on social media and in their email signatures in order to share with their networks.

3. Understand the audience. To know on what social media channels and in which groups a company should post their job openings, recruiters should first understand where the ideal candidate is online, said Ed Nathanson, founder of Red Pill Talent LLC, an employer branding consultancy and recruiter training agency based in Ashland, Massachusetts. This can be done by asking applicants how they found the job posting or by talking to current employees. Chances are that people like them will spend time in the same digital space, he said.

4. Understand unfamiliar social media platforms before posting. While Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are some of the most popular social networks in the U.S., that’s not the case in other countries. Recruiters should spend some time on unfamiliar platforms to understand how others use the platform and to better understand some of the cultural norms, Nathanson said. “You don’t want to go in like a bull in a china shop; you want to fit in,” he said.

5. Share job postings with social networks. Gonzalez said her team shares and likes each other’s job postings, as this helps to reach more individuals’ networks and get more eyes on the posts.

6. Reach out to candidates with personal touches. As people feel inundated with information and messages, it’s important that recruiters make their direct messages stand out, Gonzalez said. “I feel like there is nothing worse than getting an email that seems copy and pasted. That is one of my biggest pet peeves. I get them all day, and I delete them all day,” she said. When she approaches a talented individual online, she tends to not start out with a sales pitch. She instead tries to be personable, show them that she took time to look at their profile and share a compelling reason why she is reaching out. To continue the conversation, she tries to share articles they would find interesting. It’s not until she has a job posting that is perfect for them that she pitches it, she said. She tells her team, “Relate; don’t just recruit.”

Nathanson reiterated this point, adding that barraging or posting on walls is obtrusive. Those recruiters who do so will get some wins, but this won’t last. Effective recruiters treat their practice on social media as a long play and build trust with potential clients by not asking for anything right away. They can offer industry news, interview advice or assistance for people asking for these in online forums. All of this builds a recruiter brand.

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7. Be careful to not introduce bias. While recruiters have access to more information about candidates, they should be sure to use that information to engage with the potential hire, rather than to screen them out of the running, said Kurt Heikkinen, president and CEO of Montage, a hiring software company based in Delafield, Wisconsin.

8. Continue a high-quality, high-touch experience throughout the application and interview process. “You can’t just have a great initial impression and not continue it throughout the candidate experience,” Heikkinen said. If the applicant finds the process after application to be archaic or inconvenient, they could become disillusioned. Therefore, organizations are investing in on-demand digital interviewing, self scheduling for interviews and AI chatbots to talk with candidates, he said.

9. Treat the candidate like a consumer. “The modern candidate is making a direct connection from their consumer experience with a consumer brand and the employer brand,” Heikkinen said. As consumers, they expect information at their fingertips, to have a high-tech experience and to engage through the media they consume every day. Their interactions on social media begin their impressions of the company as an employer, he said.

Lauren Dixon is a senior editor at Talent Economy. To comment, email editor@talenteconomy.io.