Boost Your Recruiting on ‘Those Other’ Social Media Sites

Go beyond LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to engage with talent

By Dawn Onley Apr 28, 2016
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If you build it, they will come.

Although Kevin Costner’s character in “Field of Dreams” was referring to a baseball diamond in the middle of a cornfield, recruiters who are building company pages on smaller, niche social media channels—like Snapchat, Periscope, Instagram and Pinterest—are discovering that prospective employees are taking note and responding.

Everyone knows about the big three—LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter—and the reputations each has built as a place for recruiters to scope out new talent. But the smaller, less traditional sites are emerging as alternative avenues for recruiters to introduce their companies to potential hires and to learn about them in return.

In fact, there is a solid return on investment when it comes to social recruiting, content marketing and social advertising, which tends to be very targeted and low cost compared to traditional job board advertising, according to Craig Fisher, head of employer brand and talent acquisition marketing at CA Technologies, an independent software company headquartered in New York City. Additionally, Fisher said, statistics show that online content marketing generates three times more leads than traditional marketing, but costs 62 percent less.

For Atlanta-based Oldcastle, a manufacturer and distributor of building materials, branching out to the nontraditional social media sites is helping them reach younger, more tech-savvy, mobile-phone-obsessed candidates, according to Kyra Mancine, who is in charge of career-related social media for Oldcastle’s recruiting office.

“Our angle is to create career content that helps the job seeker, as well as showcases our company as a great place to work,” Mancine said. “We have Pinterest boards for military veterans and their spouses, and another one for truckers. Our Instagram page contains employee photos, video clips from plant tours and other photos that showcase what it’s like to work here.”

Celinda Appleby, head of global recruitment branding for Oracle, said that a company’s images on Instagram can tell a compelling story—one that applicants frequently pay close attention to when deciding what companies they are interested in pursuing. “In this day and age, Candidate A has offers from Company B and C, with similar salary levels, maybe even the same salary levels, and the same benefits, but they’re not really sure what it’s going to be like to work for you,” Appleby said. “Seventy-five percent of job seekers go search out an employer brand.”

Katrina Collier, a London-based social recruiting trainer and founder of The Searchologist, a social recruiting training firm, advises recruiters to engage in small talk initially on social media channels and to build relationships before shifting into recruiter mode and searching for prospective candidates.

“Social media is a conversation platform. Be a human first,” Collier explained. “You’d never go into a pub and yell, ‘Want a job?’ from the door, right? So don’t do it on social media. Become known, liked and trusted. Engage in the small talk before you even think of mentioning the job.”

When used correctly, sites like Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope make it easy to share an inside peek into your company, Collier added. “This allows people to decide to stay in the hiring process or even deselect themselves.”

Before using any social media sites, the first thing experts suggest is researching whether your company’s target audience is actually using the site. If the answer is yes, you should set up a company account and promote that account on your LinkedIn careers page as a way to grow your audience.

New York City-based media agency Horizon Media’s head of employer branding and candidate experience, Nando Rodriguez, wrote in a blog post that recruiters should post fun and engaging photos and videos on Snapchat, and use a technique called “snapblasting” where one posts a series of photos and videos in a short span of time, with the expectation that your audience will view the entire series. With Periscope, recruiters should take advantage of the video/livestreaming nature of the platform and post videos that can help illustrate the company culture.

Mancine, of Oldcastle, said she shares cool pictures of interesting projects and employee photos across multiple channels. Other examples of the company’s efforts to attract the interest of job candidates include a “trucker’s chat” that the company participated in on Twitter and the career advice videos that recruiters have posted on YouTube.

The key, Mancine said, is to test the waters and see what works best for your company. “You can’t be afraid to experiment,” she added.  

Tips to Remember

Below are some additional tips from Fisher, Collier and Appleby on how to effectively use social media channels to network and recruit.

  • Talk to your existing employees. Find out where they engage online so that you are not overlooking any niche networks or forums, Collier said.
  • Try not to make every post about your company. “Post some helpful information from third parties (trusted blogs or news sites) to help your audience find or do their job better,” Fisher said.
  • Tell personal stories from your employees that aren’t work-related. Get your employees talking and sharing online.
  • Use employee photos, but ask for permission first, Appleby said.
  • Add hashtags to your photos. “It works like solid gold,” Appleby said. Also research your hashtags (on tools like Hashtagify) to make sure they are popular and trending.
  • Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing on social media channels and follow the trends.
  • After you’ve built a relationship with prospective hires, only then is it advisable for a company to post a job opening, survey or white paper, for example. Even then, it’s important to maintain a balance. Fisher said his company uses a 5:1 give-to-ask ratio on its careers channels and in the content it provides for employees to share.
  • Once your company has built a following, it’s critical to “be responsive,” Collier said. “Time and time again, I see companies build up a huge following on, say, a LinkedIn company page, only to ignore their followers. It’s costing you hires.”

Dawn Onley is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C.

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