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Is Social Recruiting the Key to Finding Quality Job Candidates?

July 20, 2012 - Posted by Amanda Norris

Not too many years ago, searching for candidates to fill an open job position meant hanging a “help wanted” sign on a storefront, or posting small blurbs of job descriptions in printed newspapers or trade publications. These job postings eventually moved to online forums as the Internet became mainstream, but the format was essentially the same.

Today, however, companies have a new option: social recruiting. Using social media networks to recruit potential employees and fill open positions helps companies reach a large audience of job seekers. Not only that, but social recruiting can help your company sort through the crowd to find the quality, highly qualified candidates you want to hire.

Why It Works

  • It’s Where People Are

Social networks were once considered the domain of teens and twenty-something students. With 901 million Facebook users, Twitter accounts numbering over 500 million, and more than 161 million users on LinkedIn, it’s getting more and more difficult to find someone without a social media presence. It’s hard to imagine a better way to reach the very potential candidates you’re looking to hire.

  • Built-In Network for Referrals

By reaching the large audience that social media provides, you increase your chances of getting your company and job posting in front of the exact people you want to hire. The vast networks that are created through social media provide an excellent system of information sharing that can result in referrals and recommendations that amplify your voice and reach. So even if you don’t reach your perfect candidate directly, reaching their friends or colleagues in their network can result in ultimately getting your job posting where it needs to be.

  • It’s Targeted

Social recruiting allows you to target your job postings to not just anyone, but to specifically reach highly qualified potential candidates through specified outreach efforts.

  • Candidates Can Qualify You, Too

You don’t want to hire someone who is simply a body to fill a position – you want someone who will be both a valuable and enthusiastic employee. You want someone who is not only high qualified, but who is excited and passionate about your company. Social recruiting gives potential applicants the chance to quickly and easily learn more about your company, determining whether they feel the position would be a good mutual fit.

Tips for Successful Social Recruiting

  • Pick the Right Social Network

To successfully reach the type of candidates you want, you need to go where they are. Since LinkedIn is a designed for professional networking, it’s generally the go-to social media site for social recruiting efforts. However, you need to consider your specific target audience. If the type of candidate you’re trying to reach is more likely to have an active presence or Facebook or Twitter than on LinkedIn, then it’s important to refocus – or at least expand – your efforts to these sites.

  • Target the Right Candidates

One of the benefits of social media is it allows you to cast a wide net, reaching a potentially very large and varied audience. Taking a blanket approach can be extremely helpful in your recruiting efforts, particularly if your goals are to use social media efforts to promote your company or put out a broad and general hiring announcement. However, the drawback of this unfocused method is that while you may get a large quantity of applicants, the majority won’t necessarily be from high-quality candidates.

There are a number of ways that you can fine-tune your social recruitment efforts to target the candidates that you want, starting with using the right keywords. In any social media job posting or announcement, keep SEO best practices in mind: use key phrases and words that describe both the position and potential candidates, and that would likely be used in a search. LinkedIn allows you to create job postings with specific industry, experience, and educational requirements, and also gives employers the ability to search for and reach out to individual, handpicked candidates. Using Facebook ads for job postings are another option for reaching a very specific audience, as they’ll only show up on the profiles of candidates that match your specified requirements.

  • Make Applying Simple

Don’t make the application process their first test in the hiring process. You may have created an exciting job posting that targets the ideal demographic and catches the eye of highly qualified candidates, but if your application process is convoluted and complicated, it may all be for nothing. No matter how interested a job candidate is, you’re likely to lose them if the application itself is a well-protected secret hidden within a maze of broken, misdirected or even non-existent links.

LinkedIn provides the opportunity to allow candidates to apply directly from the job posting. Link directly to an online application in Facebook or Twitter posts (or clearly provide contact info, such as an email address to submit resumes), and don’t forget to test all links and instructions to make sure they work.

  • Sell Yourself

If you want to attract exceptional talent, you’ll need to show them why you’re the place they want to be. Interested candidates are going to take the time to research your company before applying, and candidates you reach through social media are likely going to turn to your social media accounts to learn more. In addition to a website that establishes quality and expertise, your social media profiles need to suggest the same. Bare-bones profiles with few details and little activity aren’t likely to create much excitement; use your social media profiles to highlight your company’s qualities, achievements and benefits.

2 Responses to Is Social Recruiting the Key to Finding Quality Job Candidates?

  1. Matthew Hooper says:

    Excellent post.
    The greatest thing about the social channels as a whole is how much they can reveal about a person. So the only suggestion I would have is you need to monitor multiple networks. I wrote about this recently on Smak’s blog: http://mysmak.com/social-yours-passionate-recruiting

    By viewing across channels a candidates engagement, it gives you a real sense for their depth of knowledge and willingness to engage, or is said in the blog, their passion.

  2. Brian Trejo says:

    What a great article. It really goes into the detail of why companies should adopt social recruitment and I wholeheartedly agree with what you are saying Amanda. Great work!

    Brian Trejo
    Marketing Intern
    employers.identified.com

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