16 February 2018

‘Social media isn’t optional for HR anymore’


Cathryn Newbery

Cathryn Newbery

Cathryn Newbery is head of content and community at Ciphr. She was previously deputy editor at People Management magazine. You can find her on Twitter @c_newbery. Her writing focuses on HR systems and solutions, as well as the employee experience at work.


Career development Recruitment and retention Talent management


With four-fifths of job seekers researching organisations online before applying, HR can no longer afford to overlook the importance of an engaging digital presence, say experts during Ciphr webinar

Social media is no longer an optional activity for HR; it needs to be embedded in their daily recruitment and talent acquisition efforts, said communications expert Ben Hollom, founder at M2 Bespoke, during a recent webinar hosted by Ciphr.

“Where is your audience?” asked Hollom. “Pick the social media channels where they are – not where you want them to be. I’d rather not hang out on Twitter, but that’s where my audience is. Remember, it’s not about you – it’s about candidates.”

The need to have a coherent, engaging online presence has become more pressing thanks to applicants’ reliance on the internet when job hunting. “Four-fifths of job seekers will research an employer online before applying,” says Hollom. “And a 2017 LinkedIn survey found that two-thirds (66%) of job changes are to organisations that candidates already know.

“If you don’t have a digital presence, they might not be able to find you – and then you’ll have no chance to win them over if they don’t apply.”

According to one survey, nearly half (43%) of candidates read job specifications online just before an interview. Yet only a fifth (20%) of US Fortune 500 companies have a mobile-optimised career site, said Hollom.

As well as making sure that your website features basic information about our organisation and any job openings, offering a behind-the-scenes perspective on what it’s like to work at your organisation can be a particularly effective marketing technique, Hollom said. “Use social media and content, such as blogs, to showcase what it’s like to work for you, and the expertise of the humans behind the brand. It will help to make your company more visible and credible.

“A strong employer brand should define how your organisation is unique and flaunt it,” he added. “In the long term, it helps to build trust and recognition among candidates, and loyalty and advocacy among employees. Your employer brand should reinforce the reasons why people should want to work for you, and want to stay with you.”

But before HR dives head-first into the world of social media and blogging, it pays to create a robust and sustainable content plan, said Hollom. “Everything you publish needs to link back to two objectives: communicating that ‘this is a place I’d like to work’, and ‘these are people I’d like to work with’.”

The easiest way to get started is by curating content from credible third-party sources, which demonstrates that your organisation is aware of industry trends and conversations. More difficult – but potentially more powerful – is creating content yourself. “You could take inspiration from articles others have already written, and add your own perspectives,” says Hollom. “You can also post news about what’s going on in the workplace, whether that’s winning an award or holding a bake sale for charity. Finally, there’s heavy-weight thought-leadership content. This is harder and more time consuming to create, but it will effectively position your staff as experts in their field.”

For more helpful hints and tips on how to define and refine your employer brand, and on how to use social media effectively, watch the on-demand webinar broadcast here.

Want more news from Ciphr? Read more here: Two-thirds of staff admit to working on their ‘side hustle’ on employer’s time.