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How to Use Social Media To Recruit Employees

Sam Davtyan

These tips can put your company on the fast track to a perfect employee.

Love it or consider it a waste of time, social media has become a big part of how the best companies attract the best employees. Companies spend a significant amount of time building their brands and developing their online personas so that they can attract the best candidates for their open positions.

Recruiting new employees through social media is like many other recruiting efforts. It must be done with caution, and employers should remember that it is a two-way street. They may want to screen candidates’ Facebook profiles, but they should remember that candidates will also be looking the company up online.

Seeing poorly controlled comment threads, poorly maintained websites or social media feeds, or statements that don’t line up with their personal beliefs could be reasons that the potential candidate decides to pass on the offer. If your company has just started considering using social media to recruit potential employees, how do you get started? What pitfalls do you need to avoid?

Encourage your current employees to love their jobs in public

Do your current employees love their jobs? Encourage them to do so on their social media profiles (in ways that don’t cause confidentiality problems, of course). Simply talking casually about enjoying a company vacation, feeling supported at work, or being glad about something that the employer is doing for them can make an impression on their followers. But you want it to be genuine. 

After all, many of us use social media regularly to dislike our jobs and complain about our co-workers. People celebrating their experience at work is notable because it’s so uncommon that it might come off as fake. That won't help your cause. 

Look for your industry

Employers often ask where they should be spending their social media recruitment efforts. The answer is that it depends on your industry. Publishers and writers tend to spend a lot of time on Twitter, as do a lot of technology companies. Actors and models tend to head over to Instagram. Everyone has a Facebook profile, making it so saturated that effective marketing can be almost impossible. LinkedIn tends to be used by the same types of executives who go to conferences and network over lunch.

To find out where people in your industry spend their time, ask. Ask your colleagues, your friends in the industry, and other companies, what sites they find the most effective. And remember that channels you own, such as your newsletter and your blog or website, are also social media, and can be used to promote your business and connect with potential employees.

Build your brand as a great place to work

Every minute, millions of pieces of information is posted on the Internet and job search is not an exception. Your content marketing probably focuses on your products, services, frequently asked questions and industry developments. This is all great, but it is also a fantastic idea to include a slice of work-life posts, employee profiles and pieces that pitch the idea that employees at your company are fascinated with their jobs.

If you make a move to expand benefits for your employees, spread that news on social media. For example, Penguin Random House announced that a new workplace benefit would include money to replay employee’s student loan debt. This was particularly meaningful because jobs with publishing companies are notoriously low paying at all but the highest levels, and this income discrepancy is often associated with attracting white, upper class people to most publishing positions.

Spreading the news that your company is a good place to work will help interest employees, so that when your job posting goes up, they will already be engaged. 

Understand how Millennials think about employment

The first key is to understand how Millennials think about employment: specifically, how do they think about employment differently than their parents?

Previous generations anticipated finding a job that they would work at for their entire lives, get a retirement package, and be set for their twilight years. If they got fulfillment from their jobs, that was fine, but it was not necessarily what they were looking for.

Millennials tend to view employment as much more flexible. An unstable economy and crippling college debt has taught them to always be on the lookout for the next leap. Everyone is a job candidate all the time. Every interaction builds the idea of “I’d love to work for them,” or “that company looks like a terrible work environment.”

Understood and used properly, companies can trade on this to create better experiences for their hiring teams.

Be aware of the potential implications of prioritizing social media recruitment

Legal resources like the Society for Human Rights Management have rightly pointed out that there are some potentially legal implications to directly recruiting employees online. Job ads must include any appropriate notations about the company being EEO or affirmative action compliant. Some companies have chosen not to recruit online because they may learn sensitive information about a candidate they feel could be actionable, if they choose not to hire a person because of it.

Some companies, therefore, prefer to build their brand online, but use typical job ads on websites like Monster to actually do their hiring.

Another factor of which companies should be aware is that even though social media has penetrated deep into our society, not everyone has access to a computer. Many people who regularly go online do so through a smartphone. Applying for a job through a smartphone is a cumbersome and annoying process. While online applications should be an option, making sure that other routes are available ensures that a company is getting a fair sampling of people from many different class brackets.

Companies that want to recruit online should leverage their social media capital by building a brand, reaching out to potential candidates, and making sure that their employees are spreading the word that the company is a good place to work. If there are culture problems at the company, they need to be managed and fixed.

What advice would you give to a company that is just beginning to recruit online?

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Image Credit: Prostock-Studio / Getty Images
Sam Davtyan Member
Co-founder and marketing director at Digital Media Group, content marketing and branding agency out of Salt Lake City, UT. Helping small businesses reach their goal by providing useful knowledge and skills.