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Social Recruiting: How to Find the Best Candidates

Go from #NowHiring to a full pipeline with these tried social recruiting tips for businesses of all sizes.

Michelle Martin June 15, 2023
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People apply to companies, not jobs. Using social media for hiring — a.k.a. social recruiting — reaches more qualified candidates and builds your employer reputation.

So where are the best candidates? Scrollin’ social: 63% of active job hunters have applied to jobs they found on social media, including almost half (48%) of Gen Zers and Millennials.

Here’s how to create an effective social recruiting strategy to grow an audience of top talent who can’t wait to work for you.

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What is social recruiting?

Social recruiting is the practice of using social media to find, attract, engage, and encourage candidates to apply at your company. Popular social recruiting platforms include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Glassdoor.

Social recruiting goes beyond traditional recruiting methods like distributing job listings. True social recruiting is all about proactively searching for top talent and building your brand as an employer people want to work for.

How to build a strong social recruiting strategy: 7 steps

1. Be active on the right social networks

You don’t need to use a specific social platform to succeed. The key — as with regular social media marketing — is knowing where your ideal candidates spend their time, and being there.

That said, the most popular social media platforms people use to find jobs are LinkedIn (60%), Glassdoor (51%), and Facebook (37%), though many other platforms also have sizable market share.

Leading social media used by prospect employees to research companies in the US March 2022

Source: Statista

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is by far the most popular social recruiting platform for both job seekers and companies.

According to LinkedIn:

  • 61 million LinkedIn users search job listings on the platform every week.
  • 117 people apply to LinkedIn job listings every second.
  • 8 people get hired every minute from LinkedIn.

Facebook

Facebook used to be a top spot to find and post jobs, but Meta removed the Jobs section in February 2023. Before then, you could post a free job listing to your Facebook Page and Facebook’s global job database.

However, since Facebook is the world’s most popular social platform, there are still ways to use it successfully for social recruiting, especially as part of a paid ads campaign.

Twitter

Twitter tends to suit professional, media, or creative jobs more than others, but again, it all depends on if your target candidates use Twitter.

Part of Twitter’s recruiting appeal is how easy it is to find content with keywords or hashtags like #NowHiring. (More on how to use job and industry-specific hashtags later.)

Instagram

Being a visual-first platform, Instagram is the perfect place to “show not tell” how your company lives its values. It’s a powerful tool for developing an audience eager to apply for your next opening.

Some companies incorporate this content into their main account while others create separate recruiting-focused accounts, like @LifeAtGoogle.

Life at Google Instagram page with story highlights

Source: @LifeAtGoogle on Instagram

TikTok

While TikTok isn’t on the list above, it should be on your radar if you’re looking to fill roles in social media, marketing, and other creative fields. The platform launched #TikTokResumes in 2021 (more on that later), but you can also search for hashtags like #CareerTok, or ones specific to your industry or location, like #TorontoJobs.

If your company is active on TikTok, create and share videos for each job listing. Sum up the role and who you’re looking for, add a few relevant hashtags, and share.

@canadaswonderland

Now hiring for the 2023 season! Park opens May 5 🎉 #hiring #jobs #summerjobs #studentjobs

♬ Vibes – ZHRMusic

Other platforms

Explore other platforms if they fit your brand and audience. Produce a lot of visual content, especially about working at your company? Start a YouTube channel. Already have an engaged Reddit community? Share job listings and reach out to your top contributors as potential candidates. After all, they’re already your biggest fans.

2. Build an attractive employer brand

Social recruiting works for brand building along with the rest of your marketing efforts. The most effective way to encourage applicants is to show what life is like at your company. Include the regular around-the-office happenings, not just big splashy events.

Share the benefits you offer, interviews with current employees, and anything else that communicates your unique company culture. Check the examples at the end of this article for ideas.

Your social recruiting goal should be to build up an audience of loyal fans who think working for you is their dream job. Somewhere, someone out there can’t wait to apply to your next open position.

3. Set up an employee advocacy program

Employee advocacy is all about getting your employees to post and share company content (or their own original content about the company) on social media. This is great for both general brand awareness and social recruiting.

Considering only 38% of people trust advertising, but a massive 93% trust company information shared by friends and family, employee advocacy is your fast track to building trust — with customers and job seekers alike. Our own program at Hootsuite has a 64% share rate and brings in over 4.1 million organic impressions per quarter.

Sounds great, but unsure how to set it all up?

Hootsuite Amplify is your instant employee advocacy program in a (digital) box. Add it to your existing Hootsuite plan to create an employee-only library of pre-approved content, ready to share. Plus, onboarding tools and detailed analytics to measure ROI — all within the Hootsuite dashboard you know and love.

Watch how Amplify works in under 2 minutes, or read our complete guide to setting up an employee advocacy program.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72RqbLHccyY

Bonus: Download a free employee advocacy toolkit that shows you how to plan, launch, and grow a successful employee advocacy program for your organization.

4. Encourage employee referrals

Your best recruiters are your employees. They’re essentially a human version of Glassdoor: Talking up all the great things they love about working for you and answering their friends’ questions.

Make referral rewards part of your employee advocacy program. Give financial incentives for referring successful hires, in-kind gifts, or other perks. Why? 69% of hiring managers say referral programs yield “high” or “very high” quality candidates, and referrals tie with LinkedIn as recruiters’ most effective lead source.

Most effective lead sources of staffing firms in the United States in 2020

Source: Statista

5. Target passive job seekers

You know who the best candidates usually are? People who already have a job.

Starting in 2021, millions of people began quitting their jobs in what’s come to be known as The Great Resignation. Reasons vary from unsatisfactory pay (63%), lack of advancement opportunities (63%), feeling disrespected (57%), and more.

top reasons why US workers left a job in 2021 low pay no advancement

Source: Pew Research

Recent reports show this trend is continuing: quit rates were still 25% higher throughout 2022 compared to pre-2021 levels. A global average 40% of employees are considering quitting their jobs within the next 6 months.

likelihood that respondents will leave their current job in the next 3 to 6 months

Source: McKinsey

Now consider those figures with this: People spend an average of 2 hours and 28 minutes a day on social media — more than reading, listening to music, or gaming, and second only to television. For even more perspective, we only spend an average 34 minutes per day socializing with other human beings.

This is why social media is your key for reaching these employed-but-unhappy people and luring them over to your organization.

How? Besides sharing job listings and brand-building content, consider active ways to get in front of passive job seekers, such as with Facebook ads. (More on how to use ads later.)

6. Optimize your social profiles

First, decide if you’ll use your main profiles for social recruiting, or if you’ll create separate ones, like Starbucks, ADP, and many others.

Starbucks partners employee Instagram page

Source: @StarbucksPartners on Instagram

To increase the chances of candidates finding you:

  • Share every new job listing (multiple times!).
  • Include hiring keywords and hashtags, like #NowHiring, in your bio/about section and within post captions. These will depend on your industry and vary per platform, but popular ones include city + jobs (e.g. #ClevelandJobs) or industry + jobs (e.g. #TechJobs).
  • Consider creating your own branded hiring hashtag for people to follow, like H&M’s #HMxCareers.

HMxCareers hashtag on Instagram post

Source: H&M Careers on Instagram

7. Make applying easy

There’s a reason 92% of candidates don’t complete online job applications: Too many unnecessary steps.

Do you need me to create an account? Do you need me to manually type out all my resume info box-by-box? For the love of PDF, let me attach my resume and be done.

Yes, you only want serious, committed candidates. You could argue that those who won’t fill out a long-ish form aren’t that committed. But effort doesn’t always correlate with intention. For example, 97% of Americans say dental care is important to their health, but only 19% follow current brushing and flossing guidelines.

Make your applications easy to complete by:

  • Using platform-specific tools, like LinkedIn’s Easy Apply button.
  • Limiting form fields to necessary information only.
  • Allowing file attachments for resume and cover letter uploads.
  • Not requiring users to create an account to apply.

The best social recruiting tools for 2024

Facebook ads

Create Facebook ads for job listings and target them to people in specific cities and either working in, or interested in, your industry.

For a spicy social media recruiting strategy, target people with specific job titles or even specific employers with the Demographics -> Work -> Employers option.

Facebook ads detailed targeting options for recruitment

Source: Facebook Ads Manager

New to social advertising? Check this guide to Facebook ads for beginners.

TikTok Resumes

While TikTok’s original Resumes experiment from 2021 doesn’t exist anymore, people still use #TikTokResumes and #HireMe hashtags to share short videos detailing their experience and skills. As with everything on TikTok, personality is at the forefront:

@jayybeech

TikTok! Do your thing please 🥲🧡 #fyp #hireme

♬ Easy On Me – Adele

Would you watch a video resume? Hiring expert J. T. O’Donnell doesn’t think so: “[Recruiters] aren’t going to sit through a minute-long video if they can gather enough information about you in seconds instead.”

TikTok may not be your main social recruiting source, but it’s worth having a presence on, especially if you’re looking to fill social media, marketing, or creative roles.

LinkedIn Recruiter

Everyone should be using LinkedIn for talent acquisition. Smaller or budget-conscious companies can place individual job listings for free, but LinkedIn Recruiter offers the best value for full-featured talent management.

Besides job listings, Recruiter allows you to message any LinkedIn user, access advanced search parameters, and connect to your HR platform. Using Recruiter can boost message response rates by 66% and speed up the recruiting process to less than a few days.

For best results, combine LinkedIn Recruiter with a strong organic LinkedIn marketing strategy.

Glassdoor company profile

Glassdoor is a specialized job board turned social platform for hiring. Besides the basics like hosting job listings, it helps employees research potential employers. Current and former employees have anonymously shared over 150 million reviews about things like salary ranges, benefits, and their general experience working at companies.

Claiming your Glassdoor company profile allows you to actively monitor and respond to reviews, and manage your employer brand.

Hootsuite benefits via Glassdoor

Source: Hootsuite on Glassdoor

Crucially for Glassdoor’s credibility, employers can’t remove negative reviews but you can respond to them. If you get one, thank the person for their feedback, and if necessary, tactfully clear up any inaccuracies that may deter candidates from applying.

Twitter hashtags

Using the right hashtags can expand the reach of your job listings and attract new candidates. True for any social platform, but especially the birthplace of the hashtag: Twitter.

There are plenty of Twitter hashtags to target specific job titles, like #GameDevJobs:

Or for targeting locations, like #LAJobs (or any other city):

Also try adding descriptors, like #Freelance, #GraduateJobs, #SummerInternship, or anything else related to the role. These hashtags quickly let people know key info about the job so unqualified or uninterested people won’t apply, leaving you with the highest quality applicants.

Hootsuite Streams

Hootsuite Streams makes finding and engaging with top candidates easy.

It’s basically a customizable, multi-tab, “saved search” section where you can monitor keywords, topics, or specific users and engage with the latest or most popular content matching your queries. Reply to comments, share content, or message people right from your Streams dashboard.

Follow industry-specific hashtags or keywords to find new places to share job listings, or identify potential candidates to engage with. Streams saves a ton of time versus manually searching on social media.

Streams - Instagram Hashtag Monitoring

Try for free

Plus, set up Streams for your own content to moderate comments at lightning speed.

The possibilities are endless with Streams and it’s included in every Hootsuite plan.

7 inspiring examples of recruitment posts on social media

Attach a GIF or video

The tone of a GIF (and if you even use them) or video depends on your brand, but the point is to stop the scroll and get eyeballs on your post.

Why it works:

  • Motion — GIF or video — catches attention better than a graphic.
  • Speaks to your company culture, which can encourage like-minded people to apply.

Use Instagram Story highlights

Create Instagram Story highlights to list current open roles, describe what working there is like, and other FAQs people may want to know about your company.

Oracle has practical application tips, career advice, and more. They also feature highlights on student programs and community initiatives.

Oracle Careers Instagram Story highlights

Source: @OracleCareers on Instagram

Why it works:

  • Keeps older content relevant and easy to find.
  • People see your company values in action (e.g. volunteer or community events).

Share team interviews

Who better to tell candidates about your company than their soon-to-be peers? Ask employees to sum up their favorite parts of their jobs.

This can be as simple as a photo post with a caption, but Spotify takes this to the max with their dedicated Life at Spotify podcast.

Why it works:

  • Hearing about the company from real employees comes across as more authentic than “just marketing content.”
  • Showcases your team’s diverse backgrounds and skills.

Share a day in the life

Go further than a basic interview by having an employee create a “day in the life” of their job and use that to promote open roles.

@clipchamp

Come to work with me! #cometoworkwithme #dayinmylife #clipchamp #techtok

♬ Blue Blood – Heinz Kiessling

Why it works:

  • Like the expression “actions speak louder than words,” video speaks louder than text to communicate your company culture.
  • Ideal for TikTok, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts, and easily repurposed for other platforms.

Use bold graphics

This bold red background stands out in the feed. That eye-catching second could be enough for someone to stop, read it, and click to apply.

Why it works:

  • Captures attention.
  • Easy to create templates ahead of time, then quickly customize per post.

Talk about your benefits

Besides basics like pay and company fit, candidates care about the benefits you offer. Sometimes this information isn’t clear until well into the interview process.

Be upfront: Talk about your health insurance, leave policies, tuition reimbursements, or anything else you offer employees.

Why it works:

  • Brings in more applicants. Specific benefits can be dealbreakers for many people, and they’ll apply if they know you offer it.
  • Reinforces your brand as an employer who cares about employees.

Create a welcoming environment

You don’t have to win an award to be inclusive. Talk about your diversity and inclusion policies, or create content around causes or programs you support.

Why it works:

  • Signals to everyone that you foster a respectful environment.
  • For people with marginalized identities, these signals mean even more: safety and access to employment.

Grow your employer brand and social media audiences together with Hootsuite. Find and engage new candidates, schedule content, and measure the results of all your marketing and recruiting efforts in one place.

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By Michelle Martin

As an ex-agency strategist turned freelance WFH fashion icon, Michelle is passionate about putting the sass in SaaS content. She's known for quickly understanding and distilling complicated technical topics into conversational copy that gets results. She has written for Fortune 500 companies and startups, and her clients have earned features in Forbes, Strategy Magazine and Entrepreneur.

Read more by Michelle Martin

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