Many of you out there may be in a similar boat to me – seeing graduation coming faster than you were expecting, and trying to sort out what comes next. If you are not recruiting on campus, then you have scores of potential opportunities and are probably trying to slowly but surely narrow them down. Long gone are the days of classifieds listing job opportunities, or even needing to frequent Monster.com to find out whether companies are hiring. Recruiters and human resources departments utilize all the tools at their disposal, including social media and other web-based tools.
73% of companies say they’ve successfully hired a candidate using social media, so it’s important to understand how that works and how you can be a successful participant (Palmer). Social platforms allow companies to build their brand as employers in addition to their core services/products. Frequently, potential employees have almost no overlap with a company’s customers, so building that brand is essential. Social media makes the recruitment process better and worse – by giving many more opportunities to recruiters, it helps develop a more complex system.
LinkedIn was launched in 2003, hit 90 million users in 2010, was acquired by Microsoft in 2016, and achieved half a billion users in spring 2017. This rapid growth helped LinkedIn leverage the network effect, building a quasi-monopoly in the social media & professional networking space. Even as far back as 2012, it was anticipated that LinkedIn would become the #1 recruiting tool – and it has grown even more than most people expected. Today, it can be used for traditional network building, but also companies can create profiles and search for potential candidates. It’s also possible to apply for jobs directly through LinkedIn. Companies post jobs directly (passive recruiting) but can also reach out to candidates to encourage them to consider applying to a job (active recruiting). Even when you’re not looking, it can be interesting to see what kind of jobs you could qualify for, and to learn more about them.
Using social media for recruiting is far more than just LinkedIn. Many companies have built out Facebook and Twitter presences solely focused on recruiting. As an example, I’ll use the Dell Technologies recruiting efforts. Careers at Dell exists on both Facebook and Twitter. According to Putre, Dell very intentionally built out these personalities. Only about 15-20% of the postings are actual job descriptions – the rest profile the experience of working for Dell, and show reasons why potential employees should be excited about a career there. Since they revamped their social recruiting strategy, Dell’s cost-per-hire decreased by 25% and cut its search firm spending by 80% (Putre). Social media is a relatively inexpensive way to get the word out, and Dell has leveraged it successfully.
Here’s an example of a great recent post:
If you were considering working at Dell, and you’d liked the page while researching the company, this post may have come up on your Facebook newsfeed. With a high number of engagements, it’s quite likely. This post makes Dell look like an attractive place to work, particularly for women in technology. They also recently posted about successful interns and employees, opportunities around the globe, and diversity efforts like Pride. By passively educating potential candidates through their social media efforts, Dell can increase the volume and quality of applicants for its positions.
Beyond LinkedIn and Facebook, Twitter is also a great recruitment tool. With over 5,000 tweets going up per second, there’s a very short shelf-life for any specific tweet. Therefore, companies can be far less selective about any one post, and can share anything they think might be relevant to potential employees. For example, a recent tweet from Pegasystems:
This was a quick tweet, likely posted by a team member directly from the volunteering outing. It doesn’t include any links to the company’s job postings, but that’s okay. It includes a photo and tags the nonprofit they volunteered for, and shows a little bit of what real life at Pegasystems might look like.
Another example comes from Liberty Mutual’s @WorkAtLiberty Twitter account:
Liberty Mutual was the headlining sponsor for this event – so profiling that to people researching the company will help leverage that sponsorship and raise its visibility. I’d be excited to work for a company that’s engaged in my community and, as I described in an earlier blog post, many millennials would be too – so these examples of event sponsorship and volunteering could make these companies more attractive employers. Posting on Twitter is a quick and inexpensive way to help get the word out.
As a job candidate, which most of us will be soon enough, if not this year, it’s important to understand how to educate yourself and find the right job. I can’t tell you exactly what job to take, but if you understand how companies use social media to recruit and research their social accounts to learn more about their culture and how they’re portraying themselves, you can be as educated as possible walking into your interviews and evaluating offers. Good luck!
Taylor, B. (2015). Social media recruiting: Connect your way to better candidates. Legal Management, 34(6), Legal Management, 2015, Vol.34(6).
Putre, L. (2016). Workforce: Dell’s secrets for social media recruiting: and tips for upping your own game. Industry Week, 265(2), 28.