Social Recruiting for Growing Companies
By: Catherine Conlan
Social recruiting can give the perfect candidate the means to find growing businesses like yours.
“Social media recruiting has become one of the easiest ways to reach qualified applicants and share a variety of messages about your brand in a world where media is more fragmented than ever,” says Michelle LeBlanc, a social media strategist at Industrium, a marketing firm in Portland, Maine.
Here’s how growing companies like yours can get the most out of social recruiting.
Find Your Target Audience
You may have already imagined the perfect person for the job as part of your hiring process. Now think about where a person with those attributes might look for a job, LeBlanc says.
Talk to your current employees both about the kinds of social media content they like and what drew them to the job in the first place, says LeBlanc. These insights can help guide you on the kind of content you should develop and where you should post it, she says.
You might be surprised by their answers, says Katrina Collier, a social recruiting expert at The Searchologist, based in London. People tend to use a variety of social media platforms, and job seekers might not be looking on the ones you consider the most obvious.
People who are tired of being contacted by recruiters but who still want to cultivate an online profile may be spending more time on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, so don’t assume those channels won’t help you.
“Today, 55 percent of companies are currently using Twitter for recruiting,” says Lauren Simonelli, Product Developer at Monster. “They're posting jobs, they're sourcing candidates, and they're engaging applicants on the platform already.”
Additionally, the Pew Research Center publishes information about social media usage, says Crystal Miller, CEO and principal strategist at Dallas-based Branded Strategies, a recruitment marketing agency. Pew breaks down demographics and can help you pinpoint which channel might be most effective for your efforts, she says.
Develop a Story that Engages Seekers
The content your company posts on its social media accounts – articles, photos, videos and other content – should tell a kind of story narrative. These communications can provide seekers with valuable information – from the latest industry insights to a behind-the-scenes view of your company culture that demonstrates your employer brand.
“The ‘I’ve got a job and I’m hiring’ line doesn’t do much anymore,” Miller says. Instead, communicate what the role entails and why it’s important, she says. This narrative can also be a kind of test for growing companies, she says: If you’re unable to articulate what the role is and why your company needs it, you may need to go back to the drawing board.
The objective: give visitors a clear idea of the how and why of working at your company. To a hire purchasing agent, for example, your initial posts might highlight the importance of reducing overhead at your company, Miller says. “Next, show what a day in that job might look like. Then show how you have fun at work, and maybe later something about social responsibility,” she says.
Sharing photos and videos of people working at your company creates excitement around the opportunities you offer, Collier says. “It’s about presenting your company in a way that makes people want to be a part of it.”
Customize Content for the Major Platforms
People expect different content on different platforms, so target carefully. Video, visuals, memes and humor will play well on Facebook, but might feel off on more business-oriented sites where long-form text or conversational tactics work better, LeBlanc says. Quick, humorous text and GIFs are great for Twitter, she says.
It can be helpful to think of Facebook as community-based or an “after work” mixer for candidates, says Emily Ceskavich, social media marketing manager at Social-Hire, a social media marketing agency headquartered in Orlando, Florida. Also, remember that Facebook’s algorithm favors native video and live video more than other platforms do.
Empower Employees to Serve as Brand Ambassadors
When employees participate in social recruiting, tap into their networks and generate new interest and leads for your brand. Ask them what they like about their job and what life is like at your company, Miller says. Employees can provide ideas and perspectives that differ from yours as the owner and can help make your postings more authentic.
Then, encourage them to post on their own profiles about what it’s like to work at your company. Don’t be afraid to have them share their challenges of working at your growing company on social media, as those insights can be compelling to some applicants, Miller says.
“If you’re in a high-growth mode, you need someone who’s OK with change and not a lot of structure. Find out how employees are handling that and create stories around those challenges and successes,” she says.
Measure Your Efforts
If you’re using social media for marketing, chances are you’re already tracking impressions and engagement for different posts. You can use the same approach for your recruiting posts as well.
“At Industrium, we use coded URLs for our clients that can carry data through to fields in an employment application so we can see which efforts are working,” LeBlanc says.
Running a survey can also be useful to understand brand awareness, which you can use as a benchmark over time. “This obviously is more costly, but can be helpful to better understand your audience and the challenges you may face in your field,” she says.
Above all, be flexible, as you may find that some efforts work better than others.
“If you see your audience responding to certain activities while others fall flat, then use the data and feedback you gather to refine your strategy,”
Ceskavich says. “Just like testing out different recruiting approaches, you’ll need to test which approaches and content elicit the response you’re looking for from the candidates in your target market.”