10 social recruiting tips that attract top talent

Last updated:
March 17, 2021
May 30, 2023
min read
Brendan McConnell
social media employer branding
Table of contents

As workforce demographics continue to shift to primarily Millenial and Gen Y workers, recruiters will need to adopt more innovative hiring techniques to locate and convert these new workers.One such tactic is social recruiting, which has become firmly entrenched in most recruiters’ toolboxes worldwide.The importance of social recruiting in 2020 couldn’t be more clear. 73% of 18-34-year-olds say that they found their last job through social media. On top of that, 92% of recruiters say that they use social media in their recruitment efforts.In other words, if you’re not currently using a social media recruiting strategy at your organization, you’re missing out on opportunities to connect with top talent in the younger generations. And, you’re behind the curve in an industry that has already firmly adopted social media for recruitment.Social recruiting is a fairly broad term and can be a bit confusing if you’re just starting out. Our social recruiting tips will help guide you through using social media for recruiting, sharing the tips and tools you can use to get started.Let’s dive in!

What is social recruiting?

Generally speaking, social recruiting is the act of using social media to identify, attract, engage, and convert active and passive candidates.Social recruiting strategies touch on a range of hiring and promotion tactics, including:

  • Generating and converting a continuous flow of inbound applicants using recruitment marketing tactics on social media.
  • Using social networks for active outreach to passive candidates, developing relationships with them, and encouraging them to apply to vacant job positions.
  • Using social media to share job posts and encourage others on your team and your network to do the same.
  • Using social media to build and showcase your employer brand.
  • Using social platforms as a key communications touchpoint in your candidate experience.
  • Using social media platforms as talent databases to research potential candidates based on their profiles, interests, and keyword usage.

The list above includes the most common social media recruiting examples. These are some typical ways that recruiters are using social media as part of their hiring strategies. But, because social media platforms are so broad and far-reaching, there’s endless potential to craft your own social recruiting strategy to match your exact needs and workflows.Before we move on to the benefits of social recruiting, we’d like to emphasize that these tactics do not need to focus on the big three networks: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.Think of social recruiting as a series of tactics and strategies deployed on the platforms that your candidates most frequently use. The big social platforms should certainly be on your radar, but so should channels like:

  • Blogs
  • Forums
  • Job boards
  • Review sites
  • Industry publications

All of these channels provide you with the opportunity to appeal to and network with your target candidate personas using social recruiting tactics.

Why are social recruiting strategies important?

Consider the two statistics shared at the start of this article that the majority of Millenials and Gen Y workers say that they found their last job through social media and that 92% of recruiters say that they currently use social recruiting tactics.This indicates that social recruiting isn’t an emerging trend. Rather, it’s deeply ingrained into the workflows and expectations for recruiters and job seekers today. People expect to use social media when searching for work, and they’ll expect recruiters and organizations to be present on their platforms of choice.

How important is social media for recruiting?

Apart from sheer expectation, social recruiting strategies offer many tangible benefits—these range from broad, generalized benefits to very specific tactical ones.Here’s our list of the top social recruiting benefits:

  • It allows you to tap into younger, tech-savvy professionals directly.
  • It enables proactive recruitment, helping you fill hiring pipelines in advance of need.
  • It enables you to actively and regularly seek out, connect with, and engage with potential candidates.
  • It enables less formal and more fluid conversations with candidates and helps both parties to establish fit for the role and company.
  • It allows companies to develop a unique personality and employer brand, backed up by content sharing and engagement in public posts and conversations.
  • It unlocks virality and dramatically broadens reach by giving candidates and employees the ability to share and reshare job posts and content.
  • It gives recruiters the ability to micro OR macro target candidates based on broad or specific attributes.
  • As a result of all of the above, social recruiting goes well beyond traditional “wait and see” recruiting on job boards or career sites.

To reap the maximum benefits from social recruiting, your team must lay out your goals, what success looks like, and how you’ll measure the results. Once this is established, you can focus on the most likely tactics to get you the results you’re looking for. As always, refine and adapt your progress as results start to come in.Now that we’ve defined social recruiting, and talked about its benefits, let’s dig into some tips for structuring and executing your strategy.

Our top-ten social recruiting tips for social media recruiting

The following social recruiting tips are designed to provide general guidance on creating and executing a social recruiting strategy. Your process, and the tactics you use, will inevitably vary depending on your goals, resources, and strategic priorities.With that being said, here are some tips for creating a social recruiting strategy at your organization:

1. Determine your goals and success metrics

Before you start any new strategy or tactics, it’s critical that you pause to establish what your goals are and what success will look like from your efforts.Are you looking to connect with more passive candidates? Or are you really interested in creating a strong employer brand on social media?Whatever your goals are, agree upon them as a team, write them down, and identify the metrics you’ll use to measure success.From there, choose the social recruiting tactics you feel will be most beneficial to your team and lead you to the desired results.

2. Define your strategy for passive and active candidates

Part of this strategy should focus on how you’ll interact with passive and active candidates. You’ll need different tactics and strategies to engage with both of these groups of people.For active candidates – or those who are currently seeking you out as a potential employer – you might consider:

  • Posting job ads to your social channels to generate interest from active job seekers.
  • Encouraging your employees to share your posts with their own networks.
  • Optimizing your social media pages and ads for a search to ensure active job seekers can easily find you.

On the other hand, passive candidates require a bit more active outreach on your part, and some more “head-turning” content. This could include:

  • Creating and sharing employer branding content that showcases your personality and values.
  • Using video to grab attention and expand your message and reach.
  • Joining LinkedIn and other niche social media groups to start conversations with passive candidates.

The lists above are not comprehensive. What’s important here is to ensure your strategies for engaging with active and passive candidates are tailored in such a way that appeals to those individuals.

3. Leverage social media advertising

Social advertising on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram offers the opportunity to very closely target your ideal candidate personas in a way that’s not possible with organic content.That’s because it enables layered targeting (i.e., location + interests + job title + age group) that lets you share content with the exact types of people you’re looking for. In doing so, you can also tailor your content and messaging to appeal to a very specific niche of people.Social media advertising can be used to target passive or active candidates by enabling you to share content and job posts with your specific targets proactively. This content can be ads, blog posts, videos, or any other piece of information you want to get in front of your target audience.Of course, paid advertising can be expensive, so you will need to establish how this fits into your overall strategy and what results you’re hoping to achieve.

4. Share content organically

One of the biggest advantages of social recruiting is the ability to share and spread organic content. Use your social channels as broadcast engines for your company. Regularly create new content that showcases your company, brand, and employment opportunities, and share them across your social channels.As you become more established and gain a larger following, your content is more likely to be shared organically. Encourage your employees to share content as well to speed up this process. Eventually, it’s possible to hit a point of virality with your content, where its reach and impact far exceeds the effort you put into creating it.

5. Offer the right mix of content

Choosing the content, you’ll create is just as important as how you promote it. You need to establish the right mix of messaging that both appeals to your audience and drives the traffic and conversion results you’re looking to achieve.Experiment with different mixes of content and check out social media analytics to see what works the best. This might mean splitting your efforts into thirds between promotional, value-driven, and personality-driven content. Or it might mean focussing on a mix of media like videos, text, and images.

6. Understand the social recruiting platforms you’re using

Being a savvy social recruiter means understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different platforms. All of the major social media platforms offer different experiences and opportunities for recruitment.LinkedIn, for example, is the best professional networking tool in the world. It’s perfect for searching for and connecting with professionals in a business setting.Facebook is an incredibly powerful targeting tool, letting you tightly refine your targeting and content strategies to connect with specific audiences.Twitter is great for candidate conversation around viral topics and provides quick answers and support to potential candidates.Instagram and YouTube are both employer branding powerhouses that you can use to showcase culture videos and images to large audiences.

7. Make and share quality employer branding content

It’s very important to keep in mind that any active outreach you do on social media is tied to your company’s social media presence. This social presence, and the content you share, is in turn, closely linked to your employer branding.As a result, it’s critical that you carefully curate the employer brand content you’re sending out into the world via social media and on your career site. Does it jive with the messaging that your recruiters are sending in their direct outreach? If not, then it might be time to re-think and refine your employer branding content.

8. Tap into viral trends and hashtags

A great way to get your organization noticed by your target audience is to be present in your industry’s major conversations.Encourage your recruitment team and social media specialists to actively seek out relevant conversations and viral topics. Engage in those conversations and provide value to the participants. This will keep your company top of mind and show that you’re active in your online community.

9. Use the right social media recruiting tools

Of course, all of the above tips are made much easier with the right social media tools. Here is a list of the most popular social recruiting tools in use today, and an explanation of how they can be used.

  • Use LinkedIn Recruiter as a core part of your recruitment tech stack to post job ads and track applicants. Leverage LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search to find candidates with specific attributes. Post and share valuable content on LinkedIn to showcase your employer brand and expand reach.
  • Hyper target niche candidates with Facebook Ads. Post job ads to targeted geographics on Facebook Marketplace. Use Facebook Graph Search to find people based on specific attributes found in a user’s profile.
  • Use Twitter Advanced Search to find niche candidates. Tap into hashtags and viral trends to join relevant industry conversations.
  • Share videos and photos showcasing your employer brand. Advertise hyper-targeted videos to niche candidates.
  • Curate a collection of employer branding videos that showcase your personality. Expand your video reach with YouTube ads. Optimize your video descriptions and subtitles for search.
  • Social media management platforms. Synch social media accounts to streamline and standardize content sharing. Schedule posts and automate responses. Activate chatbots to provide support after hours.

As you can see, the possibilities for social recruiting are practically endless. As the workforce continues to shift toward digital native generations like Millenials and Gen Y, these tactics are poised to become the primary ways recruiters interact with candidates. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to make social recruiting a core part of your hiring strategies.

10. Utilize your employees—they’re called social networks for a reason

Don’t underestimate the power of your people. People follow people; so, extend your employee referral systems to find new and appropriate candidates. They know the roles and the company culture, and what type of candidate would be a great fit.Make sure they understand your social media policy, though—a happy staff can be your best advocates, but those who don’t follow your brand guidelines will shine a bad light over your business brand and its processes.Sharing job ads, company posts, or posting their own content of company events and news will further your reach, and likely to appropriate parties.

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