Social Media and Recruiting

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.

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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:

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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:

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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!

Additional sources:
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.

6 comments

  1. Great post! As I begin to enter the internship recruiting season, I have definitely noticed the emphasis that companies have put on their social media accounts when encouraging students to learn more about their company culture. Two weeks ago I went a company’s information session and they spent 15 minutes of the time discussing their company culture, which included numerous references to their Instagram account. They highlighted that following their Instagram account was a great way to stay up to date on all of the events that their employees are involved in. As a result, I have followed that company, as well as others in the industry, to see which ones best align with my own values. Additionally, LinkedIn is slowly becoming one of my go-to social media platforms (sorry Facebook) because it has allowed me to be in contact with BC alumni who work for companies that I am interested in learning about. In addition, it has helped me prep for interviews- I recently had an interview with an employer and was able to prepare questions for the interviewer based on the way she described her job responsibilities on her own profile. Social media is definitely taking on a new role in my life!

  2. Very interesting topic! I think this is really helpful for graduates who seek jobs! I usually use LinkedIn to search jobs. I found it very useful for its also providing the company page at the same time, so that you can have a rough knowledge about the companies you are applying to. I realized that they have added a new feature of “referral” – if you have a existing connection with someone who works for the company, you can click referral on LinkedIn and it will give you another window to chat with that connection for a referral opportunity. The great thing that job posts move to social media is Sharing. You can share job posts from linkedin to Facebook, twitter….Social media bring benefits to the employers and job seekers by sharing the posts. We can see the shifting trend of job posting from internet job search engine to social media! Great post!

  3. Really interesting post! I think it’s a really smart strategic move for companies to be putting so much effort into their social media recruiting accounts. I think so much of recruiting is creating a strong enough brand image that potential hires will think of you when looking for a job. Having just gone through the internship recruiting process, most of the companies I applied to were ones that had strong brand recognition, which came to mind when I thought of companies that I might like to work for. Furthermore, even if people not actively looking, if they keep those companies in mind as good potential employers they will look there when they decide they are ready to find a new job. It definitely seems like a worthwhile long-term investment if it cuts hiring costs per employee by 25%. Creating an image where potential employees can actually imagine themselves at the company seems much more effective than posting job postings and having recruits go through the checklist of qualifications. I am curious how companies get recruits to follow or even be aware of their recruiting accounts. I did not even know these existed and I just went through the recruiting process.

  4. Really great post. I think it’s interesting how much social media (and sites like Glassdoor), really make a company transparent to prospective employees. It’s my hope that this type of transparency will actively improve culture, because managers know they need to do so to attract the best employees.

  5. Awesome Post. I have definitely looked to sites like Glassdoor as mentioned by Prof. Kane to peek into the culture of a companies. So much can be gained by understanding what you are potentially getting yourself into. A social media account for a business is also a great way to share their culture and values to less invasively recruit talent and improve their image as a whole, a sort of dual marketing and recruiting platform.

  6. Very interesting post. When I was in high school, I did a quick internship at LG Electronics and remember that everybody was boasting about the fact that they had made it to the “Top 10 Best Companies to Work For” list. The culture was indeed great – the employees were kind enough to listen to an opinion of a 16 year old teenager. But I would never had known about the corporate culture had I not experienced it first-hand, or looked up that specific ranking of best companies to work for online. Now, as you mentioned, I’m seeing corporations posting and boasting about socially conscious activities and events frequently. Even when I have not liked their pages on Facebook, they still manage to get on my newsfeed, and it definitely impacts they way I perceive their cultures.

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