David Banaghan, co-founder of Occupop, talks ‘social recruiting’, how firms can boost their employer brand, and the best recruitment platforms outside of LinkedIn.
If you own or run a business you will know what it takes to recruit and hire someone. You will also admit to checking out the social media profiles of various applicants. It’s a good way to ‘vet’ someone quickly. However, it’s not just employees who are snooped on in this way. When people are going for a job they will also check out the social media presence of the company before they apply. A company’s social media can tell people a lot about the business.
‘Social recruiting’ is loosely described as harnessing your company’s online presence to attract candidates via social media. It is a cost-effective and convenient way of widening candidate pools if performed correctly.
According to findings by iCIMS, posting job listings on social media can increase candidate applications by 30 to 50 per cent. Research conducted by Occupop shows a year-on-year surge in job applications made via Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as an increase in subsequent hires connected to these candidates.
David Banaghan argues that a strong social media presence is essential for companies hiring today.
What advice (e.g. top five tips) would you give to employers who want to ensure their social media presence doesn’t let them down?
• For candidate attraction, social media should not be used solely for job listings, it’s a crucial platform to build brand awareness and trust with potential candidates. The first step in doing so is to establish strong messaging around values and culture as ultimately, that is what will set you apart from your competitors. Much like consumer brands, employer brands should be recognisable, and it should be clear to all what you are offering as an employer.
• Once you have established your employer brand messaging, companies should work with their marketing teams or external agencies to create impactful, authentic and varied content. Where one individual might enjoy watching a video, another may like to read a blog of a ‘day in the life of an employee’. All content should speak to what candidates will want to know, for example, learning and development opportunities, day-to-day life and company well-being strategies.
• Having varied content will also help to ensure that you can maximise the channels that work best for you but also attract the candidates you want and need. As an example, TikTok is a platform that utilises only short-form video and is generally used by younger generations. In contrast, LinkedIn, being a professional network, attracts candidates for more corporate level roles and may enjoy professional advice or insights.
• Consistency is critical. Many larger companies like Salesforce and Starbucks have created designated career pages on social media channels like Instagram. These brands demonstrate the importance of variety, messaging and authenticity and are great pages to use for content ideas. Even if a company isn’t large enough to have a designated channel, creating a consistent schedule of content that focuses on the employer brand rather than just the consumer brand will maintain a level of awareness for candidates.
• Finally, embrace social media communication tools and designate time to communicate on social platforms. Several social media channels now utilise chatbot functionality and present an excellent opportunity for employers to create a quick, personal relationship with candidates, answering any initial questions they may have. It also allows employers to develop talent pools and carry out initial screening. However, much like consumer communication, the quickest way to damage your brand is not investing time and resources into candidate communication. If you leave candidates waiting days for responses, then they will have a negative experience and may lose interest. If you are unable to commit a complete resource to this, set up automated responses and direct candidates to your careers page while they wait, keeping them engaged.
Are there any challenger platforms to LinkedIn out there that are showing promise?
LinkedIn is the undisputed leader of the professional networking world, and for a good reason. With 660 million subscribers, it provides all the information that both candidates and employers want to know, as well as providing a host of tools that recruiters can use to source and target candidates. Further to this, it’s known as a valuable resource for professional information and insights. There are global communities that can be connected and present excellent opportunities given the ability to communicate so quickly on the platform. LinkedIn is also evolving to match what candidates and potential buyers are looking for, i.e. ‘product pages’ and ’employee reviews’.
Saying that there are severalindustry and job-specific professional networks that present real opportunities for individuals who want to interact with specific communities and companies who are hiring for certain roles. Stack Overflow is an excellent example of this; it is an online community for those working in tech to interact with other tech workers in both private and public Q&A’s. Importantly, it also has a function for businesses to search for talent and candidates to search for open positions.
Another alternative growing in popularity, particularly in these times of a disrupted workforce is UpWork. They offer a platform for businesses to post jobs and then research, select and communicate with freelancers they believe will fit what they are looking for. It also allows freelancers to apply for open posts and establish relationships with companies.
Finally, there are many community forums that are often overlooked but can be very useful for networking, discussions and forming partnerships. Medium, Facebook groups and Reddit are good examples of this.
What are some effective social media strategies companies should utilise to attract candidates?
Knowing who to target is an excellent first step in creating an effective social media strategy. Much like buyer personas in marketing, candidate personas give an insight into behaviours, interests and demographics of ideal candidates. Knowing this information will help companies decide which channels will be most effective.
Once you have established your candidate personas and you have put into practice what was outlined above, run small paid campaigns to attract your ideal candidates. The purpose of these campaigns can be for both brand awareness to attract potential candidates to your page and job-specific through recruitment marketing campaigns. The advantage of social media platforms is that you can very strategically target your ideal candidates for no significant expense.
Finally and crucially, measure your results. Measuring the effectiveness of your social media strategies should be the driver of the strategy. There are so many touchpoints that can be counted on social media now, including click-through rate, engagement, candidate source and demographics. All this information will feed into a company’s strategy, giving insights into what is working well and what isn’t, where improvements can be made and where more attention and budget should be invested.
Occupop is an advanced applicant management platform which utilises AI technology to help hiring teams oversee their candidate search and identify the best potential employees.