Social recruitment is a powerful way to showcase your company culture. At the 2021 Recruitment & Selection conference, Carla Sedres unpacked how social media can help hiring managers and companies better engage talent online.
Thank you so much, Fatima. It’s so good to be joining you today on this awesome journey together. Let me just share my screen, and then we can get stuck in.
As Fatima mentioned, today I’ll be chatting about social media and your recruitment strategy. But let me first introduce myself properly. I’m Carla, and I’m currently an account manager at OfferZen. At OfferZen, we enable great companies to find great tech talent within South Africa. A milestone that I was recently able to hit was helping 100 software makers find awesome new roles within a 12 month cycle.
A bit about me. I come from a marketing background, and before I joined OfferZen, I worked at a media intelligence company that specialized in tracking everything online, any mentions and so forth. I worked within a sector that helped analyze this data, that assisted companies to better understand the public’s perception. We also helped them change that perception in the community. Having this experience and seeing how powerful social media is for brands, I felt that the same principles could be used in this new generation, a new age of recruitment.
So let’s jump in. Right now, 73% of this community has said that they have found their last job through social media. This is a big chunk of the talent pool that’s currently out there. 89% of recruiters say that they found and hired someone off of LinkedIn. That is a large portion of the recruiters out there. And if so many recruiters are already using a form of social media to recruit, why shouldn’t you be?
In today’s session, we’re going to cover exactly what social recruitment is, why it works so well, who exactly it targets, and practical ways that you can start using it. We’ll also touch on the when and how of using social recruitment.
So social recruitment, in a nutshell, is using social channels to help build a talent pool. If you think about it, COVID has forced us to spend so much of our lives online. It’s how we communicate with our friends and family, how many of us are now working because everything’s gone remote, and it’s how we stay up to date with what’s happening in the world.
It’s estimated that we’re spending 20% more time on mobile apps, and social media use has increased by 18% since lockdown. So now is the ideal time for recruiters and businesses to start engaging with the community on social media, because once COVID has passed, it’s still going to be the best place that you’re going to get the best form of engagement on.
Some examples of these social media platforms are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and that’s just to name a few. Social recruiting allows for a high-speed and low-cost approach to your recruitment strategy. In fact, many of the social media platforms that your brand is probably already using allow you to post on there for free.
The reason why social recruiting works so well is because it inserts your organization into the orbit of where your current employees and potential employees are spending such a large amount of their time. The reason why social recruitment has become so popular in the past few years is because the average internet user has at least five social media accounts. That’s five different opportunities for you to be engaging with them, five different areas where you could be building a talent pool from. So this means you’ll have a wider reach when you want to be building up a talent pool.
By adding a layer of social media to your current recruitment strategy, you’re able to attract passive and active, actively looking candidates, through this engagement. This allows you to target a very specific and ideal talent pool. It helps you boost your employee brand, and showcase the great company culture that you have.
It offers a visual representation of what your company culture looks like from your employees’ point of view. This is very important. Candidates, when they’re researching you and your employees, they’re going to trust what your employees are saying about you and how they position you online.
Social media helps you build a strong brand, which enables you to position yourself as an employer of choice by building a community on social media, and that’s very important. We want to be building a community on social media. This will indirectly allow you to build a talent pool through that community.
When it comes to social media, the assumed trend is that it maybe targets the younger generation, and to some extent, that is true. If you had to ask anyone between the ages of 18 and 35 how they approach their job search, I bet you a majority of them will say they’ll choose some form of social media.
The younger generation have their own scorecards, so it’s very important for us as brands and companies to position ourselves well on social media. These candidates don’t always give you the opportunity to reposition yourself and your company once they’ve scored you down based on things they’ve seen online or heard via social media.
But more than anything else, social media allows you to target a wide spectrum of age groups on social media when you’re looking to build up a talent pool, so you still have access to the seasoned generation as well. If I reflect on my immediate circle, my mother has at least two social media accounts that I know about, because she nags me on them. My aunts and uncles, they have access to social media as well.
My mother was recently retrenched in the heart of COVID, and majority of the interviews that she’s gone on this year were positions that she found on Facebook, her friends sharing brand pages and saying, “Hey, they look like a great company. Why not engage with them, check if they have any open roles?” And she recently found a job through Facebook. So not only are you able to target the younger generation, but you can also get your intermediate and senior hires on social media as well.
Job search on social media
When I look back on when I was actively looking for a new job, this was a bit of my experience and my journey using social media, which I thought would be useful. The first place I went onto was LinkedIn. This allowed me to find open roles and companies that were looking for the type of positions that I was interested in. Once I made a shortlist, I was able to go onto the website to learn a bit more about them, what they’re doing, and to see if they’d partnered with any other companies that I might know. It also gave me the correct links for the social media accounts.
The second place, or the most important place, that I went to was Instagram. Instagram gives you a great insight to a company’s culture. It shows you what type of culture they’re trying to promote in the workplace, and you’re able to see what the public has tagged them in, any images or videos, and what the employees have tagged them in, which became very interesting. And you can start building this brand and culture from the public’s view and your employees’ view.
The next place I went to was Twitter. This was a great place for me to see if the company was a thought leader within the industry, what type of conversations were happening about the brand, and I also got an opportunity to see if any of their posts were trending within the industry.
The last place I checked was Facebook. Facebook is a great place to see how companies and brands are interacting with their customers. Keep in mind, Facebook was one of the first social media platforms, so customers feel the most comfortable going on there to engage with companies because it was probably the first time they engaged with a company online. It was a great way to see how they addressed any positive feedback and negative feedback as well, and it was great to see if they belonged to any other communities and other group pages that could help boost them in the industry.
How to do it yourself
You must be thinking, “Great, how can I start using these things practically?” So what I’ll be taking you through now will help you build the foundation to build a nice long-term strategy when it comes to social recruitment.
The first is going onto your company brand pages and asking yourself, “Do I have a brand that’s worth engaging with? If I wasn’t a part of the company, would I still follow this brand, interact with their content, like and share it with my community?” because it’s very important to have an engaging presence on social media.
It helps you boost your employer brand pride by promoting your visibility, credibility, and company culture. Having an engaging presence on social media motivates more candidates to follow and interact with you. It also helps you build connections with other thought leaders in your industry, and that strengthens your brand exposure.
The next layer is getting your employees involved, because whether you like it or not, your employees are brand ambassadors. You should consider encouraging your current employees to be brand ambassadors for you online, and then educating them on how best they can be engaging with your bread.
When candidates research your employees, the content that they see is insights into your workplace. It’s a reflection of the type of candidates you hire, and it gives them insights into who their potential teammates could be. Again, candidates trust current employees and the way they position you, and they trust them to give them an accurate representation of your company. Keep in mind that it’s very important to have a healthy ecosystem between your employer brand and your employees’ personal social media brand.
There are two extremes here. One is where your employee’s personal brand doesn’t really align with your mission and vision or values, so it’s best to avoid using them to be a brand ambassador, because it could position you incorrectly. And then there’s the other extreme, where you have an employee who overly engages with your brand online. When this happens, candidates view it as being a bit disingenuous, so it’s good to have that authentic relationship with your employee and brand.
Definitely get your leadership involved. Candidates love seeing this level of transparency. They love seeing the leadership engaging with content that’s being posted. If they’re asking thought-provoking questions on blogs or articles that you’re posting, it’s a great way to build that transparency. Employees will also enjoy this because it’s easier for them to buy into this practice when they’re seeing it filtered down from the top.
The next layer, which is my favorite layer, is hashtag marketing let’s be friends. It’s very important that you build a good relationship with your marketing team when you start introducing social media to recruitment strategy, so set up a meeting with your marketing team.
They will help you better understand your social media community, and it’s a great way for you to align the brand’s goals and how they can align with your employee value proposition. You’ll be able to identify gaps and opportunities together, but most of all, they can offer you advice and help when you’re starting to integrate this into your recruitment strategy.
The next layer is being associated with other campaigns happening within the HR space. Being associated with brands and initiatives help boost your reach, so now people are engaging with you from a wider community and industry. A great example here is partnering with top employers. You can post about upcoming events, and you might be attending the awards ceremony, because you’ve partnered with top employers to be a great company to work for.
So I’m going to take you through a few examples of how other companies are making use of social media for their recruitment. The first is how you can get your employees involved.
2U, the edtech company that owns GetSmarter, has an Instagram page dedicated to showcasing their company’s culture, and the way they do this is through stories of their employees. They make sure they cover a bunch of employees in all their different locations, because they’re a global company, and this still makes it feel very inclusive for everyone involved.
A potential flag to be aware of here is before getting your employees involved, you need to suss out what your current company culture is. In order to execute this correctly, you need to have a good company culture in place. Otherwise, you could be opening yourself up to be portrayed negatively by an unhappy employee.
The next example is Intel, and it will showcase how collaborating with marketing can actually lighten your load. So Intel suffered from candidates not believing that they could work for a brand like them. They’re big tech giants in the industry, so a lot of candidates wouldn’t even bother applying. By partnering with marketing, they were able to build a great social media presence to combat this pain.
And the way they did this was keeping an open dialogue with candidates. They maintained an approachable presence on social media by having a policy called, “No comment left behind.” This means anytime a candidate is engaging with Intel on Facebook, messages, comments, anything, they are responding quickly and thoroughly.
The next example is Marriott, and they’ve used a nice combination of some of the topics that we’ve touched on earlier, of how you can use it practically. So Marriott has a career page on Facebook where their employees respond in real time. This creates a level of honesty, trust and transparency, because you’re trusting your employees to actually engage with your candidates online through Q&A sessions, but it also helps personalize the candidate experience. It makes them feel more special when they’re engaging with a company.
On their Facebook page, they also recognize any employee achievements, which also displays their culture of celebrating the wins, which is a great culture to have. Marriott was voted one of the best companies to work for, and were featured on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list. Marriott used this to leverage themselves as employer of choice by reposting what Fortune 100 shared, and then building content around them being voted a great company to work for.
Measuring the success of social recruitment
When using social media, it’s very important to track your success, so the first step that you should take when starting to use social media is monitor the amount of traffic you’re receiving. This will be the amount of applications, or no, sorry, this will be the amount of candidates that are landing on your application page. You’ll also be able to dig a little bit deeper into the stats and see where and which platforms are driving the most engagement to your online application page.
The next layer is the number of conversations. This will be the number of submitted applications that you’ve received. This essentially helps you calculate the ROI that your current recruitment strategy is offering.
If the number is significantly lower than the amount of traffic you’re receiving to your application page, you might need to revisit your current application process. Ask yourself, “Is my process simple enough for candidates to follow, or am I asking them to fill in a bunch of questions and then uploading a whole lot of documents?” And that can get a little bit messy for them, so it’s very important that you have a nice, easy, simple application process.
Another question to ask is, “Is my application page mobile-friendly?” Keep in mind, a lot of these candidates are going to be engaging with you on their mobile devices, so it’s very important that they can apply for positions through their mobile device.
The last layer is engagement. This will be your likes, shares and comments that are happening on the content that you’re sharing. This is a great way to see which kind of posts are doing well and which are falling flat. If you notice that you’re getting more engagement from employee posts, definitely leverage that and continue getting your employees to post on your behalf instead of putting content through your brand page.
How to get started
You might be thinking, “Where should I start my social recruitment journey?” The easiest place to start is LinkedIn. LinkedIn was specifically built to help build your brand’s online presence. They offer a wide range of functions to help highlight your company culture as well.
It also opens up a wider reach when you are searching for candidates. LinkedIn offers an advanced people-search feature. This tool offers search capabilities that are super useful for recruiters. Many of these features can be used for free, but the more in-depth and detailed you want to go into when you are using the search feature, this may require a premium account, which comes at a small fee.
The next place that you could be using is Twitter. Twitter has an advanced search as well. It’s a bit limited when compared to LinkedIn, but it still allows you to search for people using specific phrases, hashtags and keywords. This is really cool because it allows you to track and see what your industry’s talent pool is actually interested in. You can see how they engage with certain content and how you could be targeting them better when you start putting content out there as well.
When to be using it? The simple answer is all the time. The reason for this is because social media never switches off. It’s always on. So it’s important that you’re always engaging with your community by sparking those conversations, and building a community that you can always dip into when your brand is ready to start hiring.
By having an engaging presence online, you’re able to build a diverse and multi-skilled talent pool. You’ll have a collection of people who are already interested in your brand and what you have to say. They’ve been monitoring you in the industry, so they really want to be involved with you, and you can always go back to that as a potential talent pool that you can dip into. When you position yourself as a knowledge hub within the industry, it helps you make better connections with other thought leaders as well.
I know all of this must be sounding super daunting as a recruiter because this is not where your expertise lie, so definitely partner with your marketing team. They’ll be able to own the process of posting specific content for you. They have the tools to track how well it’s doing, and you’ll be able to adapt and tweak that as you go along. Your marketing team knows your current social media community better, so they know what are the best times to be posting content on social media.
So in a nutshell, social recruiting is a great match for the job seekers of today, but it also can help elevate your current recruitment strategy by having better access to the talent pool out there. So by adding a layer of this to your current strategy, you’ll be able to elevate the type of candidates you have access to.
There are three actions that you can take today, later this week, but there are three simple steps that you can help get started using social media. Set up a meeting with your marketing team, and start aligning on your brand and your EVP goals.
Start building your ideal candidate persona, and start tracking keywords and phrases of what their interests are. This way, you’ll know which platforms they’re already engaging on and how you can start approaching them.
Lastly, start thinking of ways of how you can get your employees involved to help boost your company brand within an existing community, and that community already trusts your employee, so it’s a great community to tap into.