4 reasons why social media is a key recruitment tool

The use of social media for recruitment has sharply risen in recent years – over 50% in the last 5 years, to be precise. For companies, it’s by no means a new tool for finding and recruiting job applicants but one that is becoming increasingly important in the search for new talent.

With the omnipresence of social media in our modern lives, it’s only natural that platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram are the communication channels of choice for many. From keeping in touch with family to chatting with friends, networking with business contacts or keeping up to date with news and events, online profiles can do it all.

Facebook, for instance, has an active monthly user base of over 2.23 billion. Twitter is known for its ability to host job search chats, while many millennials and Gen X job seekers actively use LinkedIn as a job seeking platform.

Over 90% of recruitment consultants now routinely use social networking platforms to help with talent acquisition. And if it’s good enough for professional HR companies, in-house personnel functions must make sure they don’t miss a trick.

If your company is looking to fill a job vacancy, it’s no longer good enough to write a great job advert and post in on your Careers Page, hoping for a massive response from quality applicants. If you want to turbo boost your recruitment drive, social media engagement is a vital tool to help you find the best candidates. Here are 4 reasons why.

1. Widen your search pool and target the right people

Advertising your vacancy on your own website or a recruitment agency’s job board is all very well, but your reach is limited to those who are actively looking for a job. Social media is a great tool for tapping into an additional pool of potential candidates who might well be open to change if the right opportunity came along, but are not active job seekers at the moment.

The informality of the personal approach is key here. Social media is an easy way to ask among your network for referrals and to share your vacancy with their connections, thus further enhancing you reach. You can also use hashtags on Twitter or Instagram (e.g. #nowhiring, #jobs, #joblisting, #hiring, #joinourteam) specifically designed to help with social media recruitment.

And, of course, you can make contact by direct messaging those ‘passive’ candidates who you may never have come across through traditional hiring methods and who may just have the exact skill set you’re after. This can be particularly useful if you are recruiting for niche roles and specialist skills that are hard to find. Whether you’re looking for an experienced SEO Manager or a French speaking Electrical Engineer, try sharing your job post in one of the many professional LinkedIn Groups.

2. Showcase your company culture

In addition to using your web presence and digital strategies to promote your products and services, your company’s online persona and brand identity also should be clearly discernible from your profile. Do you use your website and social media accounts to share your corporate values and show the world the kind of business you are? If not, then you definitely should be.

Social media can be a powerful tool to show the human face of the business in the digital sphere. Share pictures of your team and blog posts about your company’s achievements, shout about charity events you took part in, and update your followers with industry news and your latest vacancies. The advantage is that you’ll be reaching out to people who are already interested in your company, engaging with existing advocates of your brand.

3. Carry out background checks to screen your candidates

Many recruitment companies and in-house HR department have cottoned on to the fact that there’s an awful lot of personal information to be gleaned from people’s social media pages. As such, it’s a valuable tool for screening your applicants above and beyond the traditional process of interviews and references.

A social media check will give you a glimpse into the candidate’s private life, their hobbies and interests, their lifestyle and the kind of content they’re engaging with online. You can get a pretty good idea of an individual’s personal qualities and assess whether or not they would be a good fit for your company culture and values.

Is the practice legal? In the vast majority of cases yes, since LinkedIn profiles, Facebook pages and Instagram accounts have information in the public domain that are readily accessible by all. What’s more, candidates are now more willing than ever to include social media links in their CVs with the full expectation that their profile will be viewed and shared online.

4. Cost effective recruitment advertising

Recruitment can be an eye wateringly expensive process if you use traditional methods such as print advertising in newspapers or magazines, instructing a recruitment agency or exhibiting at a job fair. By contrast, using social media sites to help you find and recruit candidates is considerably less costly. In fact, setting up an account with any of the major social media platforms is free of charge and can be done at any time. It costs nothing at all to share your vacancies on, say, your LinkedIn company page, on Facebook or on Twitter.

To add a bit of a boost to your recruitment drive, there are additional social media features that do cost money such as paid advertising on Facebook. LinkedIn has a number of recruiting solutions, including recruiting and employer branding tools to help you find the perfect hire.

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