The Complete Guide to Social Recruiting

Social media platform icons on blocks, such as Facebook, YouTube, X, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok for social recruiting concept.

People of all ages and backgrounds spend a LOT of time on social media. In 2023, the average internet user spent two-and-a-half hours per day on social networking websites and apps, making social media a significant presence in most adults’ lives. For employers, all this time spent scrolling presents a compelling opportunity to get your open positions in front of a captive and highly engaged audience. You can accomplish this through social recruiting. 

What is Social Recruiting?

Social recruiting is the process of finding, communicating with, and hiring candidates on social platforms like Facebook and TikTok. It’s a strategy used by some 92% of recruiters and is among the most prevalent hiring channels for employers today. 

Examples of Social Recruiting

Social recruiting is versatile and can take many forms depending on what a company is trying to accomplish and the audience it intends to reach. Here are just a few examples of social recruiting in action:

  • Posting a job opening on Facebook
  • Sharing an Instagram story of an employee testimonial 
  • Sending a qualified candidate a message on LinkedIn
  • Using a public Slack channel to source prospective applicants
  • Posting a video that showcases your company culture on YouTube
  • Linking your available positions on Twitter/X with relevant hashtags

Benefits of Social Recruiting

Reaches a broad audience

Social media users run the gamut from seasoned professionals to college students chomping at the bit to get their first job. It’s a medium used by every demographic, especially people in the market for a new job. Eighty-six percent of job seekers say social media was part of their search for a new position, making it the ideal channel to engage with those eager applicants. 

Is highly accessible

Social media is predominantly mobile, with 78% of users accessing platforms exclusively on their smartphones. Social recruiting enables you to reach candidates on the go, whether they’re sitting on a train, waiting in line for coffee, or even sneaking a peek at their news feed during a meeting.

Connects you with passive candidates

Anyone can see what you post on social media. This is in contrast to job boards, which are only viewed by people looking for a job right now. Thus, social recruiting is an effective way to put your message in front of passive candidates who might not otherwise be seeking out employment-related content. 

Reduces hiring costs

With social recruiting, expenditures are highly flexible. Unlike many job boards which charge by the position, it doesn’t cost anything to post organic content. If you spend money to expand the reach of your content, you can tailor your spending to suit your budget.

Allows for creativity

Social media has a more informal vibe than a career fair. This makes it the perfect place to let your company’s personality shine. It’s an excellent medium for showcasing your company culture and highlighting what makes you unique. 

Strengthens your employer brand

Most of the content you create on social media exists indefinitely, creating a lasting record that interested applicants can scroll through perpetually. When done strategically, your social recruiting efforts compound over time and contribute to a strong and trustworthy employer brand. 

How to Recruit on Social Media

1. Choose the right platform

This step is so key to getting meaningful results from your social media recruiting campaigns. Though most people are on social media in some form, only some people are on every platform. This means you need to decide which platforms to focus on, and this decision should be based on your candidate persona.   

If you’re looking to target recent grads for entry-level positions, TikTok is a great choice; Facebook, not so much. However, if you’re seeking experienced professionals with a decade or so of work experience, Facebook or LinkedIn will likely put you in front of those candidates. 

2. Personalize your messaging

People log onto social media apps primarily for personal use, meaning canned, generic, corporate-speak messages feel noticeably out of place. To help your content resonate with users, it needs to be personalized. 

You can personalize your social recruiting content in a few ways:

  • By platform. Create content aligned with each platform’s norms–succinct quips for Twitter/X, high-quality images and videos for Instagram, etc.
  • By user. Address individuals by name and include specific details when conducting candidate outreach. For example, if you’re messaging prospects on LinkedIn, mention something from their bio that prompted you to reach out. 
  • By situation. Speak directly to the interests and pain points of the candidates you’re trying to reach. If you’re recruiting for a fully remote position in an urban area, your call to action might mention eliminating the tedious commute or saying goodbye to subway fares. 

Also, personalize messages to users who engage with the content you post. Thank people who leave thoughtful comments and tag them by name in your responses. 

3. Leverage automation

One of the best parts about social recruiting is that it can take place even when your recruiters are off the clock with the help of automation. Social recruiting apps enable you to schedule and publish posts at any hour of the day and complete other helpful tasks like finding relevant hashtags and auto-sharing your brand’s content to your recruiters’ personal profiles. 

4. Be consistent

In order to be effective, your social recruiting strategy needs to be consistent. This doesn’t necessarily mean you must publish fresh content daily, but you should aim for a regular cadence. If you can commit to posting three to four times per week, stick with this consistently rather than posting every single day one week, then not at all the next. 

It would be best if you also were consistent with the look, feel, and sound of your posts; this is what establishes a recognizable employer brand. Though your tone may vary slightly between social networks, elements like your visual branding (colors, fonts, logos) and brand voice should be harmonious among platforms. 

5. Make it cohesive

Social recruiting isn’t a standalone effort. It’s just one part of your broader recruiting strategy. So, it should make sense within that strategy and work with the other components to achieve your goals. 

For example, suppose you’re using a call to action to drive traffic from a Facebook post to your company website. In that case, the content on your website should be thoughtfully created to provide a seamless transition and help the user continue their journey. In other words, a user shouldn’t click through the post and think, “huh?” Instead, it should be clear they’re in the right place and easy for them to find exactly what they came looking for.

6. Get the most out of your content

One of hiring teams’ biggest mistakes with social recruiting is trying to reinvent the wheel. You don’t have to come up with a brand new fantastic idea every time you need to publish content. If you have just one good idea, get the maximum mileage from it by editing and repurposing it multiple times for all your social pages. 

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re announcing a key employee promotion and using it to highlight your company’s substantial advancement opportunities. You might use this single idea to create:

  • A Facebook post congratulating the employee on their new job title
  • An Instagram story of the path that employee has taken at the company and their various job titles through the years
  • A TikTok of ‘5 Things We Love About [Employee Name]’ featuring five different coworkers naming the person’s admirable qualities
  • A YouTube video of the promoted employee talking about why they love their job
  • A LinkedIn post going into detail about their new role and how it contributes to the company’s success

Once you get the hang of this, it’ll really help boost the ROI of the time you spend creating content. 

7. Get staff onboard

Encourage team members–not just recruiters–to engage with your company’s posts, share them on their own networks, and tag friends when relevant. Social recruiting isn’t just a hiring channel; it’s a referral channel. 

8. Set goals

Your goals will define every aspect of your social recruiting strategy. Remember, it all revolves around the type of candidate you want to reach. Set specific goals to inform your content and use to measure your performance. 

Some examples of social recruiting goals might be:

  • Establish brand visibility among a specific candidate group 
  • Increase applications for a certain role or department
  • Generate awareness of your attractive benefits package
  • Lure candidates away from competitors

9. Measure your progress

In addition to the standard recruiting metrics like cost per hire and time to hire, measure KPIs that are specific to social media. These include metrics like impressions, engagements, likes, comments, click-through rate, page visits, and cost per click. 

Social media is a pervasive form of communication that touches nearly every corner of the globe. By treating it like the powerful recruiting medium that it is, your company will reap the benefits of a strong employer brand, more qualified applicants, and, ultimately, better quality hires joining your ranks.

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Pete Newsome

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the President of 4 Corner Resources, the staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. 4 Corner is a member of the American Staffing Association and TechServe Alliance, and the top-rated staffing company in Central Florida. Recent awards and recognition include being named to Forbes’ Best Recruiting Firms in America, The Seminole 100, and The Golden 100. Pete also founded zengig, to offer comprehensive career advice, tools, and resources for students and professionals. He hosts two podcasts, Hire Calling and Finding Career Zen, and is blazing new trails in recruitment marketing with the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Connect with Pete on LinkedIn