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Hiring 101: Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Recruitment

Social media is a powerful tool for growing a business brand, and it doesn’t only have value as a way to connect with customers. An increasing number of organizations are leveraging these platforms as a recruitment tool. According to recent research, 92% of employers use social media to find candidates, particularly passive job seekers, who are challenging to connect with using other strategies.

Based on these figures, it’s likely that most people reading this post already utilize social media for recruitment in some capacity—but for those who don’t, it’s time to start. As Summit Partner Jessica Willis says, “In the digital age, leveraging social media for recruitment has become an essential strategy for Canadian businesses. Mastering the art of using social platforms effectively can give you a competitive edge in attracting top talent.”

What is the best way to get the full value of social media as a recruitment tool? The Summit team shared their thoughts on using these platforms to connect with candidates in a recent conversation, and you can read their insights below.

The top social media platforms for recruitment

Social media encompasses a wide variety of apps and websites. The first step to utilizing social media as a recruiting tool is deciding which platforms to target with your efforts. LinkedIn tops the list of most popular social media sites for hiring, with 90% of recruiters utilizing it for recruitment, compared to the 55% who use Facebook or 47% that use X (formerly Twitter).

Jessica Willis concurs with these statistics, saying, “LinkedIn stands out as the ideal platform for professional networking and recruitment. Its great features allow you to post jobs, engage with potential candidates, and join industry-specific groups.”

This doesn’t mean that LinkedIn is the only place for your company to find talent, though. Recruitment Consultant Mariah Beahen explains, “It’s important to consider that other platforms may attract different demographics. You should consider platforms where your ideal candidates ‘hang out’. For example, you might find creative, design-oriented marketers on Instagram.” She also notes that X has a wide variety of candidates. Using relevant hashtags and following trending topics in your industry can help you connect to the right segment of that user base.

Melanie McQueen, Recruitment Consultant at Summit’s Toronto office, seconds this point. The first step in her advice: “Identify platforms popular with your industry and target demographic.” Once you know where your ideal candidates are likely to see your posts, you can optimize your strategy on that platform to attract them to your company.

Tips and best practices for connecting with candidates on social media

Social media can be especially useful for building an employer brand. This is an important first step, says Mariah Beahen, because “Now, more than ever, potential employees determine a company’s suitability based on their employer brand. It will make a big difference in the quality of candidates attracted to your organization.”

The type of content you post can help to develop this brand. Mariah adds, “One way to make your organization more attractive to candidates is to showcase team activities, and employees’ experiences and success. Candidates will get a better sense of your values and determine whether they would align with your culture.”

Video content can add a more personal touch to your social media outreach, says Melanie McQueen. “Live Q&A sessions, office tours, and day-in-the-life videos offer insights into your organization.”

Jessica Willis adds that content should be current, fresh, and engaging. Content that benefits readers and makes them eager to learn more will keep people coming back to your pages. She also notes that consistency is key. Her tip: “Maintain a consistent brand image across all social media channels to establish credibility and recognition.”

You can also seek out the types of candidates you want to attract by utilizing groups. Mariah says, “There are several groups related to technical competencies or interests of candidates where you might find relevant individuals. You can also engage in discussions from online networking events, which can build relationships with potential candidates.”

There are other strategies you can employ to attract candidates to your content. Jessica Willis suggests using relevant industry hashtags and keywords in your posts to increase their discoverability. Using targeted ads can also help your posts reach the right audience and ensure they’re seen by people who align with your job requirements.

Even after you’ve attracted the right candidates to your page, connecting with them, and ensuring they apply for your position, can still be a challenge. Cynthia McCutcheon, Managing Partner at Summit’s Halifax office, says, “Using a personal approach with customized messaging that is meaningful and not generic is the best way to garner a response.”

Melanie seconds this suggestion, adding, “Promptly respond to inquiries and engage with candidates to foster relationships.” When you do so, though, “Maintain professionalism and ensure all interactions reflect your brand positively. A strategic and authentic approach is key to connecting with the right candidates and building a robust talent pipeline.”

Common social media recruitment mistakes to avoid

While social media can be very effective for connecting with candidates, there are some pitfalls that can negatively impact your hiring efforts. Recruitment Consultant Serena Milani notes, “Social media is a two-way street. Failing to engage with comments, messages, and shares can make your business appear distant and uninterested in its audience. Interaction fosters a sense of community and authenticity, which are important factors for attracting potential hires.”

Generic messages, or ones that don’t provide the candidate with any value or engage with them on a personal level, can also be a turn-off that drives potential applicants away.

It’s also important to make sure you’re responding to critical reviews, not just the positive ones. Failing to do so could give people a negative perception of your brand, says Jessica Willis. On a similar note, she adds, “Avoid sharing controversial or unprofessional content that could tarnish your company’s image.”

Another mistake Mariah Beahen sees companies making is failing to provide interested candidates with enough information. She advises having a career page on your company website that clearly conveys your mission, vision, and values. “Candidates can be skeptical if there’s nothing shared about current employees or what a company stands for. If they don’t have any information to determine whether they align with your culture, it could deter them from being interested in your company.”

In summary, says Jessica Willis, “Effective social media recruitment can amplify your company’s brand, widen your candidate pool, and ultimately lead to successful hires that contribute to your business’s growth and success.” By crafting engaging content, using the right platforms, and following the tips and best practices above, hiring teams can leverage social media to its fullest potential.

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Hiring 101: Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Recruitment

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