6 August 2015

Get Social To Attract Passive Talent


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

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


Recruitment and retention


Do you know how and where to attract and engage with passive talent, specific to your recruiting needs, though social channels? Below are a few best practices.

Attracting passive talent is a strategy, not a campaign

There’s no end date to attracting passive candidates, it’s an ongoing strategy that should become part of your employer branding and social engagement efforts.
Building an engaged talent pool will benefit your business both financially and culturally. You’ll increase your ability to avoid expensive advertising and agency costs, while also reducing time to hire and recruitment administration.

Implementing a suitable eRecruitment system to enable you to capture and nurture your talent pool is also an important part of your recruitment strategy.
Over time you’ll have at your disposal a valuable source of talent that are already engaged with you and receptive to your communications about vacancies.

If you treat social recruitment as a campaign with a start and end date, effectively only engaging when you have a vacancy, you’ll be unable to build a talent resource bank, maintain interaction and increase trust and authority.

know where talent is

Know where to hang out

Putting time and effort into attracting passive talent is pointless if you’re in the wrong place. There are differences between every network and forum online, no matter how subtle, exploiting these differences is key to a successful strategy.

Social networks will have their own sub groups, forums, communities or discussions. Interacting in these and being consistent will enable you to connect with targeted talent and attract them to your brand. A breakdown of these sub groups is:

  • Twitter: Hashtags
  • Facebook: Groups, Events or Interests
  • LinkedIn: Groups
  • Pinterest: Interests/Categories
  • Quora: Topics, Questions
  • Reddit: Subreddits

It’s important not to spread yourself too thinly by trying to interact on every social network imaginable (unless you have a huge social team) – target your interaction at those networks where your research predicts you’ll have the most success.

Make it crystal clear

If people don’t know what you do as a brand (or can’t tell very quickly), then you’re significantly reducing your chances of interacting with them. Holding people’s attention online is harder than ever before and you’ve only got a very short window to offer a reason for them to stick around and read more.
If your brand message is unclear and long-winded, it simply won’t get read. You want to quickly and clearly promote how great you are as an employer and what you can offer prospective applicants; Once you have their attention you can start to engage and go into more detail.

Every applicant, even those who are passive, will want to know how interacting with your brand will benefit them personally – we’re all a little selfish in this respect and quite rightly so. If you can instantly show them that sticking around and engaging with you will be beneficial to them, then you’re in with a good chance of adding a new brand advocate and talent pool member to your recruiting arsenal.

broadcast your employer brand

Shout about how great your brand is

Social recruiting, especially where passive talent are concerned, isn’t primarily about selling your product or promoting the services you offer, it’s about how great you are as a business to work for. You’re promoting your employer brand, your existing employees and your company culture, which in many ways is often more fun!
Social events, insights into the daily life at your office and publicly recognising achievements are all great things to share, in order to promote what a great place you are to work. It’s also important to share information regarding career progression opportunities and advancement within the brand. This can be achieved in a number of ways, from infographics to sharing when employees are promoted.

Be an open book

Brands that are successful within social networks know that transparency and openness are important factors when building trust and respect from followers and contacts. If you’re not sharing what you’re all about as an organisation, then there’s no point implementing a social strategy.
If people can see the inner working of a business, such as how decisions are made, daily life and future plans, then engagement will suffer. The more people know about you the better they can gauge whether or not they’ll be a good fit for your company culture. Attracting talent who already buy into your brand messaging and ethics improves the quality of candidate and your talent pool.

Know what talent wants and provide it

When promoting your brand, you need to ensure that you’re sharing those qualities that talent is actively looking for in a potential employer. Some top requirements are:

  • Purpose
  • Flexibility
  • Respect
  • Leadership, not management
  • Innovation

Including these qualities in your brand messaging will reassure and encourage applicants to pursue further interaction with you and potentially a role within your business. The requirements of talent may change depending on which industry you operate in or the profession of the individuals you’re attracting. Doing your research and optimising your message accordingly is essential.

engage with talent

As Captain Picard commanded, “Engage”!

‘Engagement’ is a buzzword that has been popular for a while now, and for good reason. Without engagement there’s no sincere communication between your brand and the people you’re trying to attract. Faceless organisations are far less attractive than those who take the time to speak and interact with people about who they are, what they do and their common interests.
Answering questions about the business and the industry in general builds a reputation as an expert. Being open and honest increases trust and respect.

Engage, Engage, Engage.

You’re the expert, show it

Creating and sharing content to build your reputation as an industry expert is key to attracting people to your profile(s) online. As a resource, you provide another reason for people to view and interact with your brand online; helping is an effective way to maintain engagement and build influence.

Quora’s a great platform to answer and ask questions on industry specific topics. As your answers are publicly available, you increase the audience of people who can see that you’re interacting and assisting professionals.

Get visual

It’s well known and documented in various infographics and articles online that images attract more engagement than text alone. Catching someones eye on a busy social media stream is the first step to prolonged interaction and a strategy that you should employ with your content and updates.
We all like visual confirmation of what we’re being told, as it adds reassurance and allows us to see what is being written about. It’s great for a brand to write about how great their office is or how much fun a social event was, but it’s even better when we can see it in image form.
Equally, illustrating a message, stats of research material in a graphic is much easier and quicker to consume. Whereas an article may not get read if too long, an image illustrating the key points probably will.

Static images are great, but throw a few animated GIF’s in there to really grab people’s interest!

Don’t take yourself too seriously

Part of social interaction is having a bit of fun and not being too serious. As well as informative and interesting articles referencing industry news, try to have a bit of fun with prospective talent. An employer with a sense of humour and willingness not to take everything too seriously is an attractive option.
Your social profile should be a reflection of the brand and company culture, showing that you’re not too stuffy and unable to interact on a social level will attract like-minded talent.

have fun in social recruiting

Don’t hide the door to your brand

Make it easy for talent to apply for vacancies or send in a speculative application. Your efforts will be in vain if talent doesn’t know where to go to apply for positions (or simply show interest in working for your company). A clear link on your profile or website and easy to complete application processes will help to increase applications online.

As your talent pool grows, ensure that you remain engaged with the talent within it via social and regular notifications about positions of interest and other brand news.

Go the extra mile

Making an extra effort to personalise interaction is incredibly effective when building a brand’s social reputation. One example is Twitter, where you can set up automatic tweets thanking new followers – however, it’s much more effective to personalise your ‘thanks’ tweet and show that you’ve taken the time to write it.

Thanking someone by name and personalising your messaging illustrates that you really appreciate their engagement. It’s easy, but something that few brands do, setting yourself apart from the competition will attract top talent.

Utilise who you already have

Your brand may have an extensive network online, but tapping into the network of your existing employees will hugely increase your reach. Employee advocacy is an incredibly beneficial weapon in talent attraction, but you have to earn it.

Making sure that you offer a great working environment will help to improve brand advocacy, but you’ll also need to ensure that your employees are aware of social sharing policies to avoid potentially damaging updates. By engaging with your existing employees and offering both opportunities and reasons to share updates about the business on their own social networks, you’ll gain free marketing, while improving your company culture and retention rates.