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Social recruiting: How to use social media to find the right talent

Written by David Pagotto

Running a small or medium-sized enterprise is challenging enough. The last thing you want is the added stress of sifting through stacks of resumes and hoping for the best when hiring new staff. However, this is where social recruiting can help.

With social media recruiting, your best hire might just be a tweet or a LinkedIn connection away. What’s even more compelling is that 54 per cent of active job seekers use social media to find their next job. That’s a massive talent pool that small business owners simply can’t afford to overlook.

So, with that in mind, this guide will dig into the basics of social recruiting and how to implement it in the recruiting process for your business.

What is social recruiting?

Social recruiting is the use of social media platforms to find, attract, and hire top talent for your business. This strategy comes with benefits such as cost-effectiveness and an increase in brand visibility with potential candidates.

Furthermore, social media is an excellent platform for showcasing your positive company culture and highlighting your success stories, company values, and your company’s mission.

That, in turn, can help build a strong employer brand, which is necessary for recruitment marketing. CareerArc’s research suggests that when active jobseekers like your employer brand, you have the potential to attract and retain as much as 84 per cent of them.

How to recruit on social media in five easy steps

If you’re ready to give social hiring a chance, you can get started. This choice will depend on the position you want to fill. Social listening tools such as Mention or Brand24 can help here by showing you where most of the discussions are happening around keywords related to the position. Once you’ve chosen a platform, use relevant keywords to search for these communities.

#1: Join relevant groups and communities in your industry

Industry-specific groups give you access to like-minded individuals who share common interests and a passion for your industry. So, your next star employee might just be hanging out there.

Even if not, you still have a chance of receiving referrals from other professionals who can point you to prospective candidates.

The first step is choosing the right social media networks. This choice will depend on the position you want to fill. Social listening tools such as Mention or Brand24 can help here by showing you where most of the discussions are happening around keywords related to the position.

Once you’ve chosen a platform, use relevant keywords to search for these communities. After joining these groups, don’t just lurk in the shadows. Get involved, participate in discussions, and build relationships. The more you engage, the more you’ll stand out when you eventually post your job openings.

#2: Involve your employees

It’s always a smart move to involve your current employees in recruitment. For starters, they have their own networks and connections that you can tap into. Plus, when they vouch for your company as a great place to work, that carries extra weight. But how do you get them involved?

Start by encouraging Employee Generated Content (EGC). Not only does this give you credibility, but this content also tends to be shared eight times more than what you post yourself. As such, encourage your employees to share your job openings on their social media profiles.

To strengthen your employer brand, you can also prompt your happy employees to share testimonials about their positive employee experiences. Sometimes, your employees may need a little extra motivation to take these actions. If so, consider implementing employee referral programs and offering incentives such as vouchers, gift cards, and extra annual leave days for successful referrals from their social networks.

#3: Invest in paid promotions

While organic social recruiting can be effective, paid promotion takes it up a notch. It allows you to precisely target your desired audience, ensuring that your job openings reach the right potential applicants.

After selecting your preferred social platform, use its advertising tools to define your target candidates. You can specify location, age, job title, skills, and interests.

Remember to optimise your ads to make them engaging for your specific audience. They should list the job role (of course) but also emphasise the advantages of working for your business. Accompany this with captivating visual content and clear calls to action like “Apply Now” or “Learn More”.

Use AI tools such as ChatGPT and Writer if you need assistance creating a compelling job description. Simply provide your company’s name, the role, and other details, and receive a well-written description. This is just one of the ways generative AI can streamline your small business processes. You may want to go through a generative AI guide to discover other ways your small business can benefit from this tech.

#4: Engage passive candidates

Passive job seekers aren’t actively searching for job opportunities, but the right offer from the right employer may make them consider new possibilities. You can connect with them on social media, engage with them, and eventually bring their valuable experience and skills into your business.

To get started, you need to identify these candidates. Simply search for keywords relevant to their job title, skills, or affiliations on social media platforms, as shown below.

The other option is to think about the brands you admire and connect with the specific employee you’re interested in. Here is how this works. Let’s say you have a software start-up and are looking to add someone who’ll lead your small SaaS marketing department.

Instead of searching blindly, you could connect with someone filling a similar role in another company you’re impressed by. This can be a great way to narrow down your search. The caveat, of course, is it’ll likely take a lot to convince them to join your team.

You can also use LinkedIn Talent Insights to spot them. Then, connect with these talents and start building the connection.

Share relevant articles, industry news, and employee testimonials on your social media profiles. When passive candidates view your company positively and consider you a valuable source of information, their interest may grow. This increases their chances of interacting with your posts as they scroll through their social media feeds.

If you spot a potential employee, don’t hesitate to build a relationship with them. There’s also a good chance you can bring them in by subtly mentioning the benefits they’ll get from working with you.

#5: Measure results using metrics

Measuring your results helps you to understand what’s effective and what’s not in your social recruiting efforts. This insight allows you to fine-tune your strategy.

For starters, define the key metrics that matter most for your social recruiting goals. Some common metrics to consider include:

  1. The number of applications received;
  2. Cost per hire;
  3. Time to fill; and
  4. Quality of candidate sources.

Furthermore, most social media platforms offer built-in analytics tools that provide insights into the performance of your job posts and ads. You can use these tools to track metrics like costs, engagement, click-through rates, and application submissions.

With this information, you can always revisit your strategy. For instance, if your Twitter ads consistently underperform with low application rates, you can consider making adjustments or reallocating your resources elsewhere.

Tips for social recruiting

Before you implement any social media recruiting strategy, make sure you work with a defined ideal candidate persona. This persona should include details about your perfect candidates, such as their behavior, social media presence, and career goals. This data helps you better align your recruitment in the right direction.

The final word

Social media is undeniably a game-changer for the hiring process, offering benefits such as increased visibility, a massive candidate pool, cost-effectiveness, and access to passive job candidates.

The first step to seizing this opportunity is to join relevant social media communities and get your employees involved. You can also use paid ads to target highly qualified candidates with your job postings. Furthermore, engage with passive candidates and prioritise measuring your results.

Finally, remember to work with a candidate persona and use chatbots and AI to streamline the process. With these social recruiting strategies in place, you will be well on your way to finding your next top talent through social media. Best of luck!

“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."

About the author

David Pagotto

David Pagotto is the Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN, a digital marketing agency based in Melbourne. He has been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years, helping organisations get more customers, more reach, and more impact.