Using Social Media to Source Candidates

Social media has become a recruiting buzzword; these days, it seems everyone is sourcing candidates through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  There’s just one problem: there are millions of people on these social networks, and finding the right candidate among the crowd can be difficult – if not impossible – leaving many recruiters and hiring managers wondering how, exactly, they are supposed to leverage this technology to improve their candidate searches.  We’ve put together some tips designed to help you get started and effectively utilize social media sites to identify and reach out to qualified candidates.

Tip 1: Take Advantage of Niche Groups

So you’re on Facebook and LinkedIn and you want to find a specific kind of person to fill an open position – say a Java developer.  Where do you start?  By searching for relevant groups!  LinkedIn, for example, has hundreds of thousands of Groups professionals can join to connect with others in their field, share the latest news, and search for job openings.  Doing a simple search within Groups for “Java Developer” brings up nearly 200 groups – still a lot, but it’s a good start!  Narrow down your search by looking for large groups with frequent, active discussions, and then join those ones and start researching members and advertising your job listing(s).  Your message will reach a targeted audience that you know is made up of professionals who are interested in the field, and you can search through the group members and reach out directly to those who look the most highly qualified. 

Tip 2: Identify Less Common Social Media Networks

The big three of the social media world, especially for recruiting, are clearly Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  There are a myriad of other sites out there, though, many of which appeal to different audiences.  Reddit, for example, is home to a large and varied community, and has thousands of subreddits devoted to specific topics.  Posting in the “Developer” or “webdev” subreddits with your Java developer position could create a lot of interest in the opening.  Other sites, such as Pinterest or DeviantArt, attract more creative professionals, and could be useful when looking for a graphic designer or writer.  Additionally, many universities have their own social sites and job boards for students, which can be useful when filling entry-level or junior positions.

Tip 3: Learn which Metrics Matter

Metrics are another buzzword typically used in conjunction with social media.  Do you know what your Klout score is, or how many Twitter followers your ideal candidate should have?  If the answer is no, don’t worry!  Most of the metrics that measure influence and popularity can be ignored when recruiting.  A candidate may be highly active on Facebook and produce dozens of posts a day, but unless you’re looking for a social media whiz, their activity level speaks little about their skill level.  The only metrics you should be concerned with are your own: are your social recruiting efforts contributing to your ROI?  Are candidates engaging with your posts, and have you been able to fill open positions?  If not, what could you be doing differently? 

Tip 4: Create Conversations

Social media is just that: social, so your social media recruiting strategy should revolve around sparking conversation rather than simply Tweeting job openings into the void.  Savvy social media users tend to filter out spam, so your posts may be ignored, even if you’ve joined all the right groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.  Drum up interest in your company by posting information about what it does, as well as relevant news articles or press releases, and leaving room for candidates to ask questions.  Similarly, posts that contain rich information about what it’s like to work for the company or that describe the company culture will garner more interest than basic job listings.

Tip 5: When in Doubt, Research!

Social media recruiting is trendy, and, like most trending topics, there is a wealth of information out there on how to go about effectively using social media.  There are hundreds of books, articles, and courses aimed at hiring managers and recruiters of all skill levels, so if you have a question or want to learn more about best practices, take advantage of these resources! 

We hope you have found this article useful!  If you have additional questions about how to beef up your recruiting strategy through social media – or if you are a job seeker looking to learn more about how you can improve your online presence to attract recruiters – please contact us today.  

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