Speaking from the Heart: The Real Power of Social Recruiting

Recruiters have been quick to adopt social media as part of their marketing mix. In fact, one recent report estimates that over 90% of companies use social media for recruiting—and it’s not hard to understand why. Posting new ads or making changes is fast and easy. You can get very targeted placements at low cost. And even the simplest awareness banner lets your audience respond immediately and directly with just the push of a button.

But social media can be much more than just another channel in your advertising plan. Think about other recruiting activities, such as networking, cultivating a candidate pool, attracting passive candidates and special events. Social media presents an entirely new opportunity to do all of these things, often better or faster than you could before. Here are four ways to make it work for you.

Reach passive candidates

In today’s job market, an estimated two-thirds of candidates are passive—they’re not actively looking for a job. But according to LinkedIn, 45% would be open to talking to a recruiter about a new position. In other words, there’s a good chance someone else will hire them before they ever ‘go active’ and start looking for job openings. Fortunately, social media makes it cost-effective to be in many more places at once—and to link the casual browser to deep, interactive content that tells them more about you than they could ever get from a job posting.

Start a candidate community

We’ve all heard that the best advertising is word of mouth. Social media lets you create your own space for that conversation to flourish. Through links to your career site, blogs, videos and more, you can initiate ongoing, two-way conversations. The result is something far beyond a traditional candidate pool: a candidate community. There’s room here to reinforce your employment brand and tell candidates everything you wish they knew. In turn, they can ask you questions directly and get the answers they need. They can share ideas with other candidates and—better yet—create a dialogue and build relationships with your current employees.

As Shel Holtz of Monster.com puts it, “Birds of a feather flock together, and your engineers most likely network with other engineers. When an engineering position opens in the company, your employees already know the right people to recruit.” Many companies now actively encourage this by training their people to engage in social channels and, in some cases, even requiring a minimum amount of time spent on them each week.

Improve applicant quality

Most of the time, you don’t really need more applicants—you need more of the right applicants. A good job posting is enough tell candidates whether they fit the role you need to fill. But when they spend time in your social environment, they can discover on their own time whether they fit your organization as well. Some will like what they see; others will recognize that you and they are probably not the right fit. The result? The applicants who make it to your door aren’t just looking for a job—they’re looking for a job with you.

Help them follow their hearts

We tend to make our biggest decisions with our heads— gathering information, weighing pros and cons, looking for the smart choice—but there’s a lot to be said for making them with our hearts. Social media is a unique opportunity to talk with candidates (rather than at them) and to connect at the level of their passions. Of course, candidates will still compare you to the competition on more left-brained criteria, such as the job description, salary, benefits and your competitive position. But once those requirements are met, the final decision often comes down to culture—where do they feel like they fit in? Where would they rather be?

Just make sure candidates are seeing the real you. “Corporate culture is something that the new generation of workers values above all, so be sure to clearly communicate it with extreme honesty,” advises Rocco Sannelli of Fox Business.

Let’s face it—job hunting can be a lonely endeavor. You hope to find the job you need, but deep down, what you really want is to find a job you’ll love. That’s a matter of culture, of passion. And by making the most of your social media opportunities, you can help the right people find their passion working for you.

Optimize your social recruiting efforts with these 10 tips.