Social Media Recruiting: Leveraging Social Platforms for Talent Acquisition

<div class="grey-callout"><h2>In This Guide You'll Learn</h2><p><ul><li>How to use social media to enhance the effectiveness of your recruitment search, including both paid and organic methods.</li><li>The pros and cons of using social media for recruitment.</li></ul></p></div>

Social media can be a great way of finding new people. It’s generally something that you’ll use alongside other Applicant Attraction Channels (for more on these see guide: How to Attract Enough Applicants).

Some Good Ways of Using Social Media to Recruit

  • Linking to job adverts. One of the first things you’ll probably do when looking for new staff is to advertise your role on a job site or, if you have one, on your company careers page. At this point, put a free link to your advert on your company Facebook, X (aka Twitter) or LinkedIn accounts. Hopefully your followers will see it and might even share it. Also, your post and link will show up in search results.
  • Employee referrals. Ask your staff to share a link to your job advertisement for free on their own social media accounts. This will cast your net much wider as you tap into your employees’ groups of followers.
  • Paid advertising. This means creating a post advertising your job and then paying to promote it. You can direct your advert to people who meet specific criteria, such as being of working age or located in a certain region. This can be a good way of reaching a particular segment of people.
  • Allowing jobseekers to apply through social media. You can set up adverts on some platforms so that users can hit an “apply” button to send their details to you without having to leave the site. This can dramatically increase the number of applicants you receive.
  • Posting your advert on social media groups. You’ll first have to join a relevant group. Then you’ll be able to post your advertisment there, where it should be seen by the audience that you’re targeting.
  • Generating an employer brand. Under this organic approach, you share content about your company’s culture and values in order to build up a following of people who are attracted to your vision. Jobseekers who follow you will then see your job adverts as you post them. Creating a following around your brand takes consistent effort and so may be harder for SMEs to achieve.

Pros and Cons of Social Media in Recruitment

  • Quantity versus quality of users. You’ll tend to reach more users through paid advertising and social media groups, fewer through your company and employee social media accounts. But the people that you reach through your own and employees’ accounts are likely to be of higher ‘quality’: they’ll have a deeper connection with your company than the more scattergun audiences that you’ll tend to find through paid advertising and social media groups.
  • Monetary costs versus time cost. Social media is cheap in the sense that it costs nothing to create a profile and to post. But if you want to use social media to generate a brand which will then attract applicants, remember that this takes time and effort to do. Given this time commitment, paying for an advert may be a worthwhile and relatively low-cost investment.
  • Useful targeting of adverts versus bias. It can be useful to be able to target your advert to a particular audience. But placing job adverts on social media sites may lead to bias. It’s been claimed, for example, that job posts on Facebook tend to be viewed more by genders stereotypically associated with the particular kind of job being advertised.
  • Audience reach versus quality. Social media allows you to connect with a large number of people. However, many of them won’t be relevant to the job you’re advertising. Some social media profiles may have limited or even completely inaccurate information about the user.

One final word of warning about the use of social media in recruitment. Once you’ve found some promising applicants, it can be really tempting to trawl through their social media to find out more about them as a way of screening, but you shouldn’t look through their accounts without their permission.

<div class="grey-callout"><h2>Key Takeaways</h2><p><ul><li>Use social media alongside other channels to attract more applicants.</li><li>The main ways of harnessing social media are: placing links to job ads on social media, getting referrals through employees’ social media accounts, paid advertising, posting ads on social media groups and using social media to create a brand identity that attracts relevant applicants.</li><li>There are various pros and cons to using social media for recruitment: quantity versus quality of the audience, money cost versus time cost, and useful targeting versus bias.</li><li>Don’t view applicants’ social media accounts, even if publicly available, without getting their permission first.</li></ul></p></div>

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Geoff Newman has dedicated his entire career to recruitment. He has consulted for many well-known international brands, and worked with over 20,000 growing businesses. He has helped fill over 100,000 jobs.

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We literally wrote the book on...

The secrets of great recruitment

The Secrets of Great Recruitment is a top-seller. It is easy to read and wastes no time in giving powerful actionable strategies you can use straight away.

Book cover for The Secrets of Great Recruitment