Hiring? Look Beyond LinkedIn

By Lin Grensing-Pophal June 4, 2021
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​Recruitment has changed significantly during the pandemic, and many of the changes are likely to stick. Employers have stepped up their use of social media—and not just LinkedIn—to find and connect with potential candidates for a wide range of jobs in various industries.

"Social media has always played some role in the recruiting process, but that has certainly accelerated as a result of the expansion of remote work and virtual hiring," said Jon Hill, CEO and chairman of The Energists, a Houston-based executive search and recruiting firm for the energy industry.

Try These Platforms

Daivat Dholakia, director of operations at Mojio, a firm based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada that provides GPS fleet tracking for small businesses, said that while his company has primarily used LinkedIn and Indeed for recruiting, it is starting to pay more attention to Facebook.

Facebook groups allow employers to talk directly to certain types of potential new hires, said Gabe Hernandez, digital marketing director with ROI Swift, an Austin, Texas-based advertising agency. For instance, he said, Austin Digital Jobs is a popular group on Facebook for finding professionals with digital skills in Austin. He has also used a "sister group" called Remote Digital Jobs. The groups have unique cultures, he said, making it possible for candidates to get a sense of the climate at the organizations that are posting jobs.

YouTube is also emerging as a go-to recruiting tool for many, according to Hill. "YouTube is an excellent platform to add to your repertoire as a recruiter," he said. "It gives you an opportunity to upload interviews, building walk-throughs and other content that shows potential applicants what life is like in the company and lets them hear firsthand from current employees why it's a good place to work."

Reddit is an often-overlooked channel that has the advantage "of being organized into niche communities that are easy to search and often have broad geographic spread among members," Hill added. This can offer great benefits that can be "potentially valuable for finding a concentrated group of specialized workers in some fields, especially for remote positions where the location of applicants is unimportant."

Recruiting When You're Not (Actively) Recruiting

Dholakia said a trend he is seeing is the use of social media for "soft recruitment." This, he explained, "boils down to spotlighting the company's good working conditions and strong workplace community to draw interest among people who are looking for a new job. For example, a company may post some behind-the-scenes images or video of employees at work to its Instagram account or make Employee of the Month posts on Facebook." He added that this is "an efficient way to sell the business itself to potential job candidates while you're selling your service to potential customers."

Chris Leitch, editor-in-chief of CareerAddict, an award-winning online career resource, recommends incorporating livestreaming into social media recruitment efforts. "This could be a virtual tour of your office, a Q&A session with your employees [or] backstage footage from a company event," he said.

All of the major social media platforms have streaming capabilities, he added, but it's important to understand the demographics of those using these platforms. "Twitter is best for engaging Millennials," Leitch said, "while Instagram can be good for attracting candidates to creative jobs."

Best Practices for Better Results

Dholakia believes a passive approach is best when attempting to engage with potential candidates via social media. "It's better to focus on creating a welcoming presence to draw in candidates rather than message a lot of people to ask them about applying," he said. "You should also be genuine about what you're offering. Represent your benefits, wages and office setting as accurately as possible. You want to draw in people who will actually want to work for you."

Andrew Fennell, a former tech recruiter and now director at StandOut CV, a resume and careers advice service in London, said some techniques work better than others when it comes to finding job candidates on social media.

What Works

  • Authenticity and engaging in genuine conversations with candidates.
  • Videos on LinkedIn and Twitter discussing a job role instead of reading out a standard job description.
  • Short videos on TikTok, if your brand is young and looking to hire new, inexperienced candidates. It can take a lot of effort to grow a brand on TikTok, Fennell admitted, but it "can be useful in showcasing countrywide graduate opportunities, for example."
  • Referrals from established employees on their own social media feeds.

What Doesn't Work

  • Irrelevant, cold outreach to candidates who aren't looking for jobs.
  • Using a company social media profile instead of a personal one.
  • Spreading yourself too thin trying to be on every social media platform. It's better to be more active on one channel than to post erratically on multiple channels.
  • Failing to convey character in line with your brand.

Tried-and-true as well as newly emerging social media channels hold promise for recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers to build their brand and audience online. These platforms represent an "always on," cost-effective way to connect with both passive and active job seekers, often in finely targeted ways. Leveraging practices that have worked for others can be a good starting point when building or refining your own social media recruitment strategies.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a freelance writer in Chippewa Falls, Wis.

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