24 May 2016

Social Recruiting - Why and How


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

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


Recruitment and retention Talent management Technology


Nearly all of us engage with social media in our personal lives, via an ever-expanding variety of platforms; they’ve become a go-to for news, entertainment and maintaining personal relationships. From a business point of view, social media has become an essential tool for marketing to clients, but did you know it can be equally effective for recruiting talented employees?

Social recruiting proves beneficial for brands in a number of ways, including:

  • Reduced time-to-hire
  • Reduced recruitment costs
  • Increased candidate quality
  • Higher response rate to vacancies
  • Higher levels of employee referrals and advocacy
  • Greater applicant (passive and active) engagement

Last year (2015), Aberdeen Group research found that 73% of 18-34 year olds found their last job through a social network. As JobCast states:

“By 2020, less than 5 years from now, Gen Y will make up 50% of the workforce. According to this stat, that means almost 50% of the workforce will be using social media as a key part of their job search.”

With up to 93% of recruiters and hiring managers using social media during the talent attraction process, isn’t it a strategy you and your brand should be taking advantage of?

social media

Where To Begin

The first step towards using social recruiting is to make your business present on as many forms of social media as is realistic to manage. If you don’t already have an employee who’s responsible for keeping up your activity, consider hiring one.
More activity on your accounts and likes on your posts means you’re increasing the likelihood of top quality talent becoming aware of your business.

Are you present on social media, but looking to seriously beef up your follower count? A 2013 Syncapse study found that 42% of people had become fans of a brand’s Facebook page in order “to get a coupon or discount”. Consider making it worth people’s while to engage with your business on social platforms, and you’re well on your way to social recruiting.

Know Your Sites

More than simply being present on social media platforms, you need to know how to use each social network differently. Different sites have their own cultures and your strategy for each should be tailored accordingly.
Twitter only allows 140 character snippets of information, so your messaging would be different from that published on Facebook, as you’re afforded a lot more space to create content.

Pinterest is an image-based social network and therefore your social recruiting-related content on this platform would need to be very visual in design.


LinkedIn is the most obvious site to use for social recruiting, because its entire purpose is to build and display business connections. This site is actually beginning to replace standalone resumes and written letters of recommendation.

LinkedInMake sure your business builds lots of connections on LinkedIn: clients, former employees, family members, basically anyone who you have a positive relationship with. Posting a job on LinkedIn does cost money, but you can use your status box to advertise for free. Of course, only people who are seeking out your profile will be able to see this post, which is where your previously built connections will start to pay off.

LinkedIn is also a great way for you to pre-screen applicants. Consider their profile to be a reflection of their work ethic; a fleshed-out profile page and lots of connections means they’re probably a serious, conscientious job seeker.

LinkedIn groups are an added bonus of the site, as they allow you to participate in discussions and send direct messages to fellow group members. Groups are a great way to hunt for prospective talent, whose profiles you might otherwise not have come across.

Having a LinkedIn page for your business also increases your web presence elsewhere. When someone Googles your business, your LinkedIn page will probably appear higher in the search than your Facebook page or website.


FacebookThe granddaddy of all social media, the importance of Facebook cannot be overstated. A 2016 digital marketing survey reported that the Like and Share buttons are viewed across 10 million websites daily, meaning that activity on your business page is probably reaching places you don’t even know about.

Unlike LinkedIn, posting a job on the Facebook Marketplace is free, and you can post job openings directly to your page for any of your fans to see. Keep in mind that people who like your Facebook page are already familiar with your brand and probably already get what you’re all about. Who better to become a member of your team than someone who’s already a fan?

If Facebook’s free features aren’t working for you, consider purchasing a Facebook Ad. You’ll get to tailor exactly what kind of people see the ad, vastly improving the chances that your ideal candidate will be reached.


A less conventional option for social recruiting, you’ll have to put a little more effort into headhunting on Twitter. According to Statista, Facebook has three times more daily active users than Twitter gets in a whole month.
But an Edison study found that “Twitter users talking about marketing and brands far exceeds the usage on the other social networks”.

TwitterThis site is all about conversation and engagement, and if you’re not talking, you’re not getting much out of it. Interact with customers, local celebrities, and other businesses in your area.
Be informative, ask questions, be open and upbeat in order to gain followers. Some of the most popular brand pages feature humorous replies to tweets directed at them.

Also, #hashtag appropriately. If you’re looking to recruit on Twitter, ‘hashtagging’ posts about job openings is the best way to ensure that both your followers and people who don’t follow you will see the post.
Use hashtags specific to your industry and the position you’re looking to fill (#marketing #finance #HR), as well as more general ones (#job, #employment).

If you’re getting serious about Twitter use, you can become an advertiser or start using Twitter Analytics (which is free) to measure engagement with your tweets and research information about follower demographics.


While Instagram may seem like it provides limited opportunities for social recruiting, it’s becoming increasingly utilised by professionals and brands.
If you’re looking to fill a vacancy that involves design or styling, browse the Instagram accounts of prospective employees in your area. When you find an individual who matches what you’re looking for, you can send a direct message about why they need to come and work for you.


A lesser known source of talent is the social news and networking site Reddit. With a massive readership and niche ‘subreddits’ for every subject, Reddit can prove very successful when recruiting.
Some of the subreddits that are of particular use include london_forhire and forhire.

Care should be taken to read, understand and obey the rules of posting a vacancy on Reddit. Failure to abide by the regulations will result in your post being removed.

Use Them All

While each of these sites do different things, the best results for social recruiting could come from using each of these sites simultaneously to attract candidates.

Remember that just as you’re judging potential employees on their social media profiles, they’re doing the same to you.
By keeping all of your accounts professional, informative and up to date with the most current information, you’ll attract the best and brightest talent who’ll want to become a part of your team.

Social media image credit:mkhmarketing.wordpress.com