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How to recruit via social media

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Harness social media and use it as a shop window – what will make people want to work for you? We give our top tips on how to effectively engage with talent through the power of social media.

To attract the talent that can drive any business forward, it’s essential to be visible to your ideal candidates. Traditionally, businesses would have placed an advert in a newspaper or magazine, but they are now more likely to head for websites or specific media channels to recruit the best people.

Millennials especially are taking to social media more and more regularly, whether to communicate with friends, read up on the latest news or – you’ve guessed it – discover their next job role.

Research has found that approximately 73% of 18- to 34-year-olds found their most recent job through social media. Further research by Jobvite suggests that around 94% of all recruiters are already using, or plan to use, social media to assist with sourcing candidates.

These findings show that social media is a big deal, and if your company is already active on any of the many platforms available, you’ve already, whether you realise it or not, started your social recruitment drive.

Everything you’ve ever posted via one of your company’s accounts is, to some extent, a summary of what you stand for and an indication of the sort of person who will thrive there. Your social channels can be a major influence on a candidate, and could be the factor that results in them applying for a role.

Employer brand and company culture

The first rule of attracting candidates via social is to begin the process well in advance of actually advertising a vacancy. Social recruitment is about far more than just posting jobs; it’s about giving your audience a clear understanding of what you stand for and why they should be giving you their attention.

One of social media’s primary selling points is that it gives companies the ability to reach large audiences quickly and easily. This is something that should be continually used to your advantage, even when not recruiting.

Harness social media and use it as a shop window; promote the things that make your company different, and highlight the aspects that will make people want to work there. If your company offers quality training, talk about it. If you’ve recently won an industry award, make sure it’s publicised.

You need to build a two-way relationship with potential candidates; let them know what your company is actually like, and give them reasons to be on lookout for future job openings.

A word of caution at this point: it might be tempting to portray your company culture in a way that is slightly wackier or quirkier than it is in reality, but this should be avoided. Present an accurate picture of what you do and who you are; the last thing you want is to hire someone who is expecting a work environment that only exists online.

Authenticity is key; have a clear strategy in terms of the information that will be pushed out through your various channels. Understand what people want to see and then deliver information, legislation and behind-the-scenes snippets to keep them engaged.

Social recruiting tips

There’s room for a mix of fun and functional when it comes to your social recruitment marketing, as long as you keep the audience and channel firmly in mind. It can be valuable to give people an insight into the company’s social side, but there’s a time and, more specifically, a place to do that.

LinkedIn users, for example, tends to prefer a more serious tone and content that is focused around breaking news, industry trends and career development. There is an increasing trend for people to share the kind of posts that are more usually seen on Facebook, but that kind of activity often attracts a negative response in the comments, so it’s advisable to err of the side of caution.

In contrast, Facebook or Instagram lend themselves well to more lighthearted approach. It’s perfectly acceptable on these platforms to post fun content such as photos from company parties or an employee’s birthday celebration in the office.

If you’re concerned about what to say on social media, or how best to interact with your audience, consider approaches that would make for decent conversation in real life.

For example:

  • Ask questions
  • Tell (relevant) stories or anecdotes
  • Share news, insights and opinion

Also, by incorporating regular features – such as a Friday Q&A, for example – you’ll give your audience a reason to return frequently, and they will start regarding you as an authority.

Think about what gives candidates the most value, and ensure you shine a spotlight on everything that makes your company great. Why not speak to current employees and share their views on work life, or get a senior member of staff to wax lyrical about exciting projects they’re working on? Showing people why they should want to work for you is a far more effective technique than telling them.

By doing this you will build up a bank of potential employees who want to be part of your organisation. You will establish a pipeline of people ready and waiting for an opportunity to send you their CV as soon as a job is advertised. 

The application process

Once you’ve grabbed the candidate’s attention and posted up a job that whets their appetite, the next step is making them apply.

Let’s face it – applicants don’t always have the time to fill out extensive application forms, and recruiters rarely have the time to read them. This is why ‘one-click apply’ buttons have become more prevalent throughout social media, most notably on LinkedIn.

While this application method has been around for a while now – has been using it for a few years – it’s something not all recruiters have adopted. It’s certainly an option that should be considered, particularly as it assists a mobile or tablet user’s ability to declare their interest while on the move.

Research found that in 2016 almost half of the UK workforce decided to look for a new job, which means it’s highly likely your perfect candidate is ready and waiting for the ideal opportunity to present itself. By using social media to boost your brand’s attractiveness, and by giving talented candidates every incentive they need to submit an application, chances are you’ll be able to bring on board the talent needed to bolster your business in no time.

Shelley Hoppe

By Shelley Hoppe

Shelley is the CEO of Southerly; developing her communications experience in a corporate environment before founding Southerly to provide strategic content marketing consultancy to businesses large and small.

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