Social Media Hiring 101: Make Friends, Not Fans

January 24th, 2012

For the last few years, social media has been growing as a go-to source for many recruiters and savvy hiring managers around the globe. With the advent of search capability built into most social media sites and new applications, such as LinkedIn’s recruiting tools, smart recruiters everywhere are turning to social networks to source quality candidates. On the same token, candidates have grown social media smarter and are using social networks to gather information on the companies they want to work for, often joining as fans on social media pages.

In a recent survey conducted by the social media watchdog Mashable in September 2011, the average user spends 8 hours a month on Facebook alone and countless other time on other social media sites. This is contrast to the paltry 8 percent of recruiters who actively use social media to find quality candidates online, outside of traditional resume directories and word-of-mouth referrals. This means there is still a great potential for social media to become the best source of targeted candidates.

While your efforts as a company looking for great employees can include social media as part of your strategy, there is a right way to do this and a wrong way. First, remember that social media is not about making lots of fans, but rather of making quality contacts and friends online. For the recruiter this translates to meeting quality candidates who have specific skill sets and backgrounds.

Read on to learn helpful tips for making friends with candidates, and finding the best candidates.

Set up a niche social media profile. As you set up your recruiting profile on social media sites, keep in mind the types of candidates you will be looking for. Be specific to your niche market to ensure that any candidates it attracts are interested in this niche. For example, if you are recruiting for the health care field, include information and resources about health care and medical news. This lets your future friends know who and what you are looking for in potential candidates.

Include links to your company career site. Every recruiter should have a central career portal where details of open assignments can be posted. If you don’t have one yet, create an online job directory and start posting jobs there, then share the links to assignments on your social media page. This helps you to better control the activity and interest you will encounter on your social media page. You can also track your efforts.

Search and invite potential candidates. The most effective way to use social media as a recruiter is to regularly conduct a search for potential job seekers by keyword. Many people post their areas of specialty on sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn. Use this to your advantage to search for, and send an invitation to connect one-on-one about new career opportunities.

Highlight tough to fill assignments. Another great way to use social media is to post your open assignments in your RSS feed. This not only picks up in search engine results fast, but friends can get alerts about new posts when they subscribe to your social media page. On top of that, friends can share your links with others, which helps you to spread your net wider when trying to attract quality candidates

Create niche industry hiring events. One fun way to increase awareness and find friends on social media sites is to set up online career events which allow you to invite specific friends to your page. Ask each friend to invite one of their friends who may be suitable for the jobs you have posted, and you can double your efforts online.

Looking for more ways to use social media to expand your recruiting efforts? Come back often to LC Staffing for up-to-date career and recruiting articles, and access to temporary and contract to perm employees.