Social media coming into its own as tool for recruiting employees

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LinkedIn is one social media avenue being used for recruitment. (Mambembe Arts & Crafts/CC BY 2.0)

Social media is growing in popularity as a way of bringing onboard new employees, reports are finding.

Some 94% of advertising and marketing executives surveyed by The Creative Group said their organization uses social media for recruiting, with the top reasons being to post jobs and promote the company via advertising and posts from their corporate feeds. The sites they turn to most are LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest.

Social media channels “can be used to promote your company and connect with job seekers on an ongoing basis,” the study said. “Potential hires may use social media to do a little recon on you, too—and if they don’t like what they see, there’s a good chance they’ll move on to other opportunities.”

One of the more obvious ways to use social media for recruiting is to share links to job postings via company accounts. The study also recommends talking up the company’s culture and values, and showcasing staff.

“Social media is a necessary component for recruitment today,” said Matt Doyle, director of talent acquisition for North America at Sitel. “We will continue to heavily invest in social media recruitment from both an employment branding perspective and career opportunity perspective.”

One thing Doyle has found is that each generation uses different social media. For instance while Facebook is widely used, it is not used as much and to some extent very little by millennials, Doyle said. “We are finding that millennials are mostly using Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram in our U.S. markets. Many millennials think that Facebook is their parents’ social media.”

As for the way social media is used, “There are a myriad of approaches and campaigns that include job fairs, career opportunities, direct job postings asking candidates to apply and events and activities at sites that can attract candidates,” Doyle said.

Social media agency Socialfly is a definite proponent of using social media when looking for staff.

“We use our social media platforms as recruitment tools and will post on Instagram Stories, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and more to let our community know we are hiring,” said co-CEO Stephanie Cartin. “The traffic to our careers page on our website from Instagram has increased month over month.”

Socialfly also uses its Instagram account as a tool to highlight company culture and allows employees to take over the account every Friday to give a deep dive into their role and what life is like at Socialfly, Cartin said. “When we meet with candidates, they often know a lot about our company culture because they are following us on Instagram and share that it attracted them to Socialfly.”

Background screening company Sterling Talent Solutions’ research found that despite the pervasive use of social media, only one-third (34%) of employers in the U.S. perform social media checks on prospective employees, and the majority of companies are not performing social media screening.

Sterling also found it is common for employers to informally review the social accounts of candidates and recommended that those applying for new jobs or gearing up to move into the workforce carefully consider how they are portrayed via social media.