20 November 2013

9 Social Recruitment Pitfalls You Should Avoid


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Recruitment and retention


Social media enables brands to engage, attract and recruit talent from all over the world. The unprecedented ease at which businesses can now communicate with their applicants, both current and prospective, is a huge advantage, but also a potential nightmare if not conducted and monitored correctly. It is now the case that people are more likely to visit a brand’s social media page than they are to visit their website. Why? Because through social media they are directly connected and can engage, often in real time, with a brand.

Using this medium to its full potential, and not making the below mistakes, is more important than ever.

1. Suffering from tunnel vision

Concentrating your efforts solely on potential applicants, rather than your entire audience, is no strategy for building a strong online presence for your business. Everyone that interacts with you is a potential employee (and customer), and should be treated as such. Ignoring comments from some, while actively engaging with others will encourage those left out to look elsewhere – probably a competitor.

A concerted effort must be made to respond to all comments and questions, especially complaints or suggestions. This will help establish your brand as one that is ready to engage, and not simply running a temporary recruitment campaign.

2. Not engaging with talent

Even worse than the above is ignoring everyone, and simply publishing one-way updates in the hope that this will be enough to build a successful presence online. Engagement is a crucial element of any social media strategy and must be at the top of your ‘priorities’ list. If you’re not engaging with people, then how are you ever going to encourage an audience into a recruitment process? Would you want to work for a company that ignored you and failed to engage with you in any way?

These people are actively seeking your brand out on the internet and choosing to engage with you. This level of interest and engagement is something that applicants who are approached through traditional means (recruitment agencies, newspaper ads, etc.) may not possess.

3. Overdoing it on the updates

Publishing reams of updates, to all the various networks, every day won’t attract a large or engaged following. Upon finding a barrage of generic, non-targeted updates on their social stream, your audience are highly likely to immediately ‘unfollow’ your brand, reducing your potential talent pool, influence and engagement. Quality over quantity is the best strategy, as this will invite engagement and interaction, and build your influence and trust as a brand.

Updates that are at least 1 hour apart (2 in some cases) are known to produce a higher level of engagement and clicks, which, after all, is what you’re aiming for.

4. You’re boring (and so are your jobs)

When you do place a job advert onto your social network profiles, please make sure it sounds interesting! A simple one line bullet-point for each detail won’t do, you need to sell the role like you’d sell your product. Why would an applicant want the job? Why is it interesting? Why is it brilliant to work for your brand? Include quotes from existing employees about why they enjoy working for your brand, publish ‘behind the scenes’ photos and allow people some visibility of the day-to-day life within your business.
Being as transparent as possible will build trust, portray a more personable brand that people can approach, and make for interesting updates that people will appreciate and want to read and engage with.

5. Failure to target

As well as making sure that the quality of your updates are high, you’ll also need to build authority in your particular sector. Targeting your updates to ensure that they’re relevant to your audience is the key to successful social media marketing and building brand strength. Share information that your brand is expected to be an expert on; industry news, advice and updates that give an insight into what you do as a business and why you do it.

Targeting doesn’t simply involve what information you share, other factors should also be taken into consideration regarding your social activity, such as:

  • When you share information (choosing a particular time of day)
  • The most popular days to share information in terms of engagement
  • The use of hashtags
  • ‘Trending’ topics that can be utilised

For instance, don’t tweet about football unless it’s relevant to your message and brand.

6. Not being ready for success

If you’re successful and have a perfect social recruiting strategy, then you’ll invariably receive quite a few applications. Having the resources in place to cope with this influx is essential. A suitable eRecruitment system, to automate certain tasks and streamline the overall recruitment process, may be required. As well as this, ensuring that everyone in the recruitment team is aware of their responsibilities, both internally and online should already be decided and communicated.

7. Not thinking beyond social networks

Once you’ve progressed a potential applicant beyond the social networks and into your company recruitment process, the applicant experience should remain easy and pleasant for them to follow. The official application process using the company portal, the notifications from the business and the onboarding experience should all reflect the care and value you associate with your employees.

Time and care should be taken internally to get these processes right, before embarking on a social recruiting campaign. Test the process with existing employees to make sure there are no obvious problems, get feedback from as many people as you can regarding the ease of use of your recruitment portal, how well applicants are informed of their progress and overall satisfaction with their experience.

Below are some interesting statistics that emphasize the importance of implementing a well thought-out onboarding process:

  • Employees who join a business via a well-structured onboarding process are 58% more likely to be with the company after 3 years
  • The cost of an employee leaving a business within the first year is estimated to cost the company 3 times the employee’s annual salary
  • 4% of new employees leave a business after a bad experience on the first day


8. Assuming social recruiting is ever over

Once you’ve successfully filled a vacancy, you can’t simply ‘pause’ your social recruiting strategy. There is no end to maintaining your brand online and attracting new talent. Engagement, updates and general interaction on the networks is an ongoing exercise, as is maintaining influence and a brand that people will want to work for.

Being social involves a constant effort in ongoing engagement and interaction with those who are interested in your brand. Whether this interest is consumer-based, or as a potential applicant, every person that visits your profile, on any of the social networks, is as important as the last and should be treated with equal importance.

9. Not analysing to improve

Failing to analyse your successes and failures during online campaigns is failing to improve. Knowing where your campaign is failing enables you to correct the elements responsible. No social recruiting strategy is perfect, there is always room for improvement. There are many tools available online for the tracking and analysis of your social data, some are free up to a certain metric, those that charge differ greatly in cost, but it is worth the investment.
Some analytics tools include:

Following the Hummingbird algorithm update, Google now gives more credence to social signals. It is important to monitor social media, as well as your recruitment efforts, using this medium, together with you Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) efforts. This may be a joint effort between the recruitment team and your marketing department.

Ciphr offer a range of recruitment solutions to suit any size of organisation. Coupled with our consultancy services, we offer solutions from applicant tracking and communication through to onboarding.

Featured image credit: Activision