Recruiting using social media is a growing trend in today’s world. In 2010, for example, 6% of all companies used social media to attract talent. In 2014, so far that number is 94%. Millennials and recruiters are changing the recruiting industry together. Is your organization keeping up?
 
LinkedIn is definitely the front runner in social media for recruiting talent – 94% of employers use LinkedIn to recruit, versus 65% for Facebook and 55% for Twitter. Being that the main purpose of LinkedIn is to be a business tool, this makes perfect sense. Professionals – one of whom could be your ideal candidate – are joining LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second.
 
Millennials are changing how we hire them. 73% of 18-34 year olds found their last job through a social network. That’s how they’re looking for us, how they decide if we’re a company they want to invest their energy in. So the question we need to ask is: Do we have the online presence to attract them?
 
The other thing is how we’re hiring them is changing. 91% of employers are using social media to vet candidates. 69% of those employers said they rejected candidates based on something they saw on social media. On the other hand, 68% have also hired candidates based on discoveries on social media. Think about it – you see pictures of them volunteering for something, or winning an award – their stock goes up. You see pictures of excessive partying, or bad-mouthing a previous employer – are you inclined to hire that person?
 
Employers who used social media to hire and vet candidates found a 49% improvement over employers that just used traditional methods. These employers took advantage of the vast store of knowledge that’s out there about their potential employees, rather than just relying on a resume and references provided by the candidate.
 
That being said, let’s take a look at a few things you can do to make the most of your social media recruiting strategy.
 
Strategize
 
First, you have to strategize. Just like with everything else in your business, it’s going to help going into this endeavor with clear goals and a defined strategy on how to achieve them. Throwing posts up on social media sites and expecting results is an ineffective use of time and resources. It’s important to create posts focused around your organization, not just around the job or skills you’re looking to add to your team. Candidates are clear that when they are seeking a job, both the position and the company are equally important.
 
Create groups in LinkedIn that are relevant to your industry, and be active about inviting members to join your group. Be sure to post relevant, thought-provoking content, as well as job opportunities. If you don’t want to create a group and manage it, join groups that are focused around your industry or specialty. Be active and participate regularly. Being “active” doesn’t consist of just repeatedly posting your position openings. Respond to posts. Engage in discussion. Share best practices. A good ratio to follow is for every four interesting/thought-provoking/helpful things you post, to then post one job opening.
 
Brand Yourself
 
How is your company brand displayed on social media? Does your online presence reflect your company culture? Remember that you’re hiring a person, not a computer. You can teach someone the skills you need them to have. You can’t teach them to have a personality that meshes with your organization. Don’t be afraid to show the personality of your team online – have fun with it! Did you recently do a round of team disc golf? Take pictures, and put them up on Facebook and Twitter. Is there a surprising number of tattoos among your employees, or someone’s pet recently won a “world’s ugliest dog” competition? Your potential employees should know about it!
 
Know Your Criteria
 
One of the most important things to remember is to vet candidates for the right reasons. As I mentioned before, 91% of employers are using social media to screen candidates. But how are they screening them? If I’m looking at a candidate’s profile, and it’s too clean or dull, I tend to think that they’ve gone through and deleted a bunch of stuff. What are they trying to make sure I don’t see? On the other hand, I’m not going to fault a millennial for having a few pictures of drinking or other evidence of fun with friends.
 
That being said, I think secondary to personality is experience. Do they have the experience you’re looking for? How long were they with their previous employer? This one gets a bit tricky – millennials often have more than six jobs before they turn 25. If they started working immediately after high school, that’s only a little over a year at each job. We used to look at that kind of turnover and automatically disqualify the candidate. With that quickly becoming the norm, we need to redefine what’s acceptable. Of course, “what’s acceptable” will be different for different groups – this is something you need to decide for your organization.
 
Use Effective Platforms
 
We already said that LinkedIn tends to be the most effective platform, but don’t limit yourself to just LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. If there is a niche social media platform that might work for you, take advantage of it. Maybe a local group, or a group specific to your area of expertise. Be aware of what’s out there, and where to focus your strengths. Sometimes this will happen by trial and error – and sometimes it will result in great new employees! Don’t be afraid to take risks.
 
Use Traditional Methods
 
I’m fairly adamant about not abandoning traditional methods. While social media is definitely a growing resource, don’t forget to keep your traditional methods alive and well. I firmly believe that nothing can replace in-person interviews. Company culture is extremely important, and the best way to get a feel for a person and their potential fit is to meet them in person. The candidate will want a chance to interview you as well – give them that opportunity.
 
I think it’s worth mentioning that over 80% of Fortune 500 companies use some kind of psychometric testing when they’re hiring – as opposed to 27% for the rest of the nation. Psychometric testing can give you an in-depth look at a candidate’s personality, work ethic, ability to handle stress, and general compatibility with your company.
 
Lastly, look into references. Call the people that the candidate has suggested you call. I’ve heard some wonderful stories from past employers, co-workers, and friends because of calling references. Sometimes these stories can be the deciding factor in hiring great employees.
 
There will never be a way to make sure that you hire the perfect candidate every time. But with the right strategy, and the right message, you can be a whole lot closer to “every time.” Create a plan that will work for you, and stick to it.
 
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