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Social media in hiring: Ten top tips

If you think recruiting through social media means putting up the odd tweet or two then you are doomed to failure

Social media has revolutionised talent management, enabling businesses to find, engage and hire staff in ways that would have been unimaginable even five years ago.

LinkedIn alone boasts 260 million active users per month. According to its own statistics, 87% of those are open to new opportunities, even if they are not actively seeking a change of job role.

That diversity of resources should be music to the ears of UK talent managers. In its 2017 Resourcing and Talent Management report, the CIPD found that 61% of UK businesses anticipate difficulty in recruiting senior staff or filling vacancies requiring technical skills over the next three years.

Using social media is about more than tweeting job adverts, however. With the right planning it can deliver long-term benefits for talent managers, from understanding how a company’s brand attracts the best candidates through to cultivating talent pools for future recruitment.

Here are 10 tips to help:

1. Balance ‘push and pull’

“The whole point of using social media is the opportunity for a conversation,” says Chris Andrew, director at HR communication specialist Caburn Hope. “It facilitates a two-way discussion, so prospective candidates feel they have a relationship with a business even before they decide to apply.”

2. Be honest

“Authenticity is a key value,” advises Ryan Broad, talent director of JustEat. “You need to be yourself, but also listen and respond to what people really want to know.”

3. Let employees share their own experiences

“Technology companies are trailblazers in this respect,” says Gillian Pillans, research director at the Corporate Research Forum. “Cisco puts a different employee in charge of its Snapchat account every day, for example. It relies on its corporate culture to filter and police the content, so you are getting authentic employee voices and experiences.”

4. Target key groups

“Social media is a great chance to reach out to potential talent,” says JustEat’s Broad. “You can identify who is outstanding in particular disciplines, such as tech. And it’s an opportunity for helping with gender diversity, for example.”

Some organisations have taken this one step further and build talent pools of prospective candidates who may not even be looking for a move at present.

5. Remember your business is being assessed too

“Make sure your business looks approachable and worth talking to,” advises Katrina Collier of The Searchologist. She adds: “Don’t forget the basics – if you have an issue with company reputation, make sure that’s resolved or addressed.”

6. Prioritise what your audience wants to know

“We find everybody wants to see evidence of what it’s like to work for us,” says JustEat’s Broad. “They want to know, for example, ‘how will I be developed?’.” This can also help candidates to decide for themselves if a business is offering what they want. “You need to be able to bring your offering to life,” adds Andrew Hyland, recruitment and resourcing manager
at Macmillan Cancer Support. “Can you use your people as ambassadors to show more about the role?”

7. Monitor feedback

“Social media generally magnifies your brand,” says Hyland. “That applies to both positives and negatives. We always make sure that we have right of reply to any comments on Glassdoor, for example.”

8. Go where your target audience goes

“It’s crucial to understand what kind of people you are looking for and their skills, interests and desires. Connected with that will be an understanding of where your audience goes to absorb information that’s relevant and of interest to them,” says Caburn Hope’s Andrew.

9. Become a channel expert

“Don’t be half-hearted,” says Pillans. “Understand what you’ll use each channel for, become an expert at how to use it to best effect and post regularly.”

10. Treat people with respect

“The companies that succeed really make an effort,” says Collier. “Take a genuine interest. Find out about the person you’re communicating with, and follow up on conversations. It’s easy to hide behind technology, and recruiter or candidate ghosting [where the person you’ve been communicating with simply disappears] is on the rise. The companies that succeed are respectful and responsive.”

This piece featured in our What's on the cards for hiring? ebook in partnership with LinkedIn. Read the full supplement, including extra box-outs, here