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The best social media places for the recruiter, HR professional, and those looking to be hired

17 Jul, 2009 McKell Naegle
Social Media for Recruitment
Social Media for Recruitment

Some questions have been posed to me over the last few months about how people can use social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) to hire and be hired.

Well, the answer could potentially be very long. In short, social media allows each entity (be it an individual, company, non-profit, etc.) to create an online presence. As people look to recruit or be recruited, social media avenues allow these entities to connect and interact through information dissemination in ways that have previously been impossible.

So, what are the best mediums? I’ll do my best to share my favorites.

Here goes . . .


LinkedIn is a a must for business professionals, regardless of their employment status.

I’m often alarmed to find people in the Human Resources area unfamiliar with LinkedIn and having no/incomplete profiles, very few or no connections, and no group memberships. They don’t know what they are missing!

Fistful of Talent, a blog specializing in HR issues, relates:

LinkedIn is one of the best on-line tools out there for Personal BrandingJob Search, Business Development and Recruiting! An effective profile is your on-line business card, marketing brochure, Google-rank helper, etc. Create a great profile, connect to others, join and/or create Groups, participate in Discussions, ask and answer Questions, etc. Need help? Here are some great resources to get you started: Jason Alba’s “I’m on LinkedIn — Now What??” book and blog, the Social Media Headhunter’s LinkedIn Recruiting Companion, Shally Steckerl’s LinkedIn Cheatsheets, and the LinkedIn Blog for the latest news on what’s new at LinkedIn.

Twitter is another social media tool that needs to be utilized effectively to recruit well over the internet. You might be asking yourself: “How can 140 characters help me find my next (fill in open job position here)?” Well, take a look at this excerpt from the article called “Would You Tweet to Find New Talent?” below:

Everybody and his brother had been talking up Twitter, and one of the latest Twitter trends has been for companies to use the social-networking site for recruiting.

Writing for Workforce Management, Tracy Cote and Traci Armstrong discuss how digital ad agency Organic has made Twitter the cornerstone of its job-posting strategy. More than three-quarters of the company’s jobs are placed solely on social media sites such as Twitter; while only a quarter of their postings are on traditional job boards such as Coroflot, Mediabistro, Monster and TalentZoo.

According to job-hunt.org, a who’s-who of top companies use Twitter to find talent, including KPMG, Intel, Burger King, Microsoft, Mattel, Verizon, and Hyatt Hotels. Even the U.S. Department of State has hopped on board (although it’s the only branch of the federal government recruiting on Twitter).

Of course, there are downsides to seeking talent through Twitter, as Lane Kiffin and the Tennessee Volunteers learned with a recent recruiting violation. Oops.

Facebook also cannot be ignored. HR.com shares these tips:

“Facebook is a talent goldmine,” says Chris Russell, founder of Jobsinpods.com, a podcasting service for jobs, “it’s filled with millions of passive candidates that employers covet.” Russell is so impressed by the site as a recruiting tool that he put together a list of Facebook recruiting tips, many of which companies can employ at little to no cost.

Tip #1: Create a group on Facebook. “Federated Media is Hiring” is the perfect example of what I mean. Post your apply info, list your latest jobs, build the group into a marketing tool. As people join the group you can send broadcast messages to them alerting them to news and new jobs. It’s a chance for you to establish relationships with young candidates who are interested in what you have to say. Think of a Facebook group as an extension of your company career site. Use the same kind of content and consider adding unique content for the Facebook audience (internship opportunities, video, etc.)

Tip #2: Target ‘boomerangs’ or ex-employees by courting them with a Facebook group. The group section of the popular social networking site is filled with groups of former company alumni. Have your recruiting team (or an actual alumni) start a group. Call it “Ex-company name” or “Company name Alumni”. Promote the group among your current employees and encourage them to tell former employees that they are still in touch with. The group will slowly start to populate itself.

Tip #3: Assign your recruiters to the specific regional networks you are hiring in. If you have offices in Birmingham, Bangor and Eugene, then have one of your recruiters join those networks. Once joined, you can take advantage of network features like the marketplace and events calendar to promote your jobs and hiring efforts.

Tip #4: Advertise. Ads come in two flavors: Social Ads and Facebook pages. You can advertise an external URL like your career site or an internal Facebook page which keeps users on the Facebook site. Advertisers can list ads for as little as $5 on a CPC or CPM basis. What’s great about Facebook ads are that you can target certain keywords, demographics and even other workplaces. Imagine being able to display ads in front of your competitors’ employees!

The key with using Facebook to recruit is to participate and connect with the candidates you seek. Establish relationships with them and you will go a long way towards being their employer of choice.

Some people ask: Are employers using social media to screen potential candidates? According to this article, the overwhelming answer is yes, many are.

Bringing your camera to that bar or party might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but if the result was some less than businesslike pictures of you posted online than be warned, what seemed like an innocent bit of fun may be seriously impacting your chances of getting hired. Harris Interactive asked more than 3,000 human resource professionals if they use social networking sites to research candidates, and the statistics are stark:

  • In 2006, 11 percent of hiring managers checked up on a potential hire’s online life, now twice as many do and a further 9 percent are planning to start.
  • Of the 22 percent now examining sites like Facebook, one third said they had found something online that caused them to dismiss a previously promising candidate from consideration.
  • On the other hand, 24 percent said that they had “found content that helped to solidify their decision to hire the candidate” online.

In the end, it all comes down to relationships. Are you building the ones that will make a difference?
Finally, check out this short but concise little presentation on using social media in recruiting. There are some great principles shared here:

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