The majority of companies recruit candidates through social media. There are four main social media recruitment strategies for hiring top talent, according to our survey of 505 full-time U.S. employees. Companies can attract the best job candidates to their business by targeting the right social media channels and highlighting their brand.
Many businesses need to find new employees: At the end of 2019, there were more than 6 million job openings in the U.S.
Filling these openings can be challenging, though. Many top employees already have jobs, and some positions require specific, specialized skills.
To fill their job openings, companies may consider recruiting through social media platforms.
Social media recruiting is already part of finding new employees for most businesses: 71% of companies have hired a job candidate through social media, according to The Manifest’s data.
Without the right social media recruiting strategy, though, companies risk wasting resources, making bad hires, and even implementing unintended discriminatory hiring practices.
We surveyed 505 recruitment professionals to learn if their company uses social media to find new employees and what social media recruiting strategies they consider the most effective.
Companies should use Facebook and LinkedIn to highlight their brand and culture and attract the best employees for their business.
How to Recruit Top Talent With Social Media
- Prioritize social media recruiting on Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Develop a dedicated budget to post jobs on social media and receive applications.
- Exercise caution when deciding to evaluate a candidate’s personal social media profiles.
- Use social media to highlight your company’s brand and culture.
- 70% of companies use Facebook to recruit, and 67% use LinkedIn.
- 58% of companies say posting job openings on their business’ social media profiles is an effective social media recruiting strategy.
- 65% of companies evaluate a candidate's Facebook account before making a job offer.
- 49% of recruitment professionals believe that updating a company’s social media profile regularly is an effective recruiting strategy.
1. Use Facebook and LinkedIn to Recruit Top Candidates
The growing number of social media channels may leave companies confused about which channel they should use the most for recruiting.
Companies should focus their social media recruiting efforts on Facebook and LinkedIn for the best results.
Seven in 10 companies (70%) use Facebook to recruit, while 67% use LinkedIn.
Meanwhile, approximately one-quarter of companies use Twitter (26%), and even fewer use YouTube (20%), Reddit (12%), Quora (7%), and Medium (7%).
Experts say Facebook and LinkedIn are valuable for different reasons: Facebook for its large user base and LinkedIn for its specialized, specific information.
Dan Gardo, founder of Element Talent Solutions, an executive recruiting and staffing firm, says Facebook provides valuable job boards, user groups, and organic user referrals.
Facebook introduced its job board in 2017. Job seekers can search for jobs that are full- or part-time, in their field of practice, and within a certain location.
Similarly, companies can post jobs, specify the kind of applicant they are looking for, and receive applications on Facebook.
“Facebook users tend to have much larger networks than on LinkedIn,” Gardo said. “When I've used Facebook's job board, posted an opening in a Facebook group for job openings, or shared an open role with my network, I get far more referrals than when I do the same on LinkedIn.”
"When I've used Facebook's job board... I get far more referrals than when I do the same on LinkedIn.”
Gardo’s company is based in Philadelphia, and he said some Facebook job groups catering to southeastern Pennsylvania have tens of thousands of members and hundreds of posts.
Gardo can use Facebook to help fill large volumes of jobs – especially when the open positions don’t require specialized skills.
Gardo uses LinkedIn, though, to fill specialized and technical roles. LinkedIn’s vast demographic filters allow recruiters to narrow talent searches to candidates with specific skills, physical locations, and professional experience.
When recruiting on social media, companies should remember that:
- Facebook is best for broad, regional searches for less-skilled workers
- LinkedIn is best for recruiting specialized, highly skilled workers
Social media is growing as a whole, but businesses must remember that social media recruiting is most valuable on Facebook and LinkedIn.
2. Invest More in Social Media Job Postings
Many companies are accustomed to spending time and money on in-person interviews and outreach. Companies should also consider boosting their investment in social media job postings to attract the best employees.
Already, more than half of companies (58%) believe that posting job openings on their business' social media profiles is an effective social media recruiting strategy.
Companies must devote appropriate resources to actually see results from social media postings, though.
Companies can improve their social media job postings by:
- Consulting social media professionals
- Using targeted, paid advertisements
- Posting job openings in multimedia formats such as video
- Joining and posting in social media groups on platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook
These efforts require resources but will be more effective than haphazardly posting jobs on social media channels.
Overall, companies that put more time and money toward social media job postings have the ability to attract job candidates from the right locations and with the necessary experience.
For example, a mid-sized company searching for a new HR manager should invest time in joining, participating, and posting in LinkedIn groups focused on HR professionals and topics.
Meanwhile, a company searching for local, seasonal workers can spend money on targeted Facebook advertisements that attract people seeking part-time, temporary work.
In both cases, companies can use social media to find the candidates who are right for their business.
Companies that treat social media job postings as vital investments will be in a position to hire the best employees. Companies that simply post jobs on social media and hope for the best will find it harder to identify top talent.
3. Carefully Consider How to Evaluate Candidates’ Personal Social Media Profiles
In the past, companies that wanted to know about a potential employee’s characteristics had to rely on interviews, resumes, and discussions with references.
Today, companies must carefully consider whether to evaluate a candidate’s personal social media profiles.
Currently, around two-thirds of companies look at a job candidate’s LinkedIn account (67%) or Facebook profile (65%) before extending a job offer.
More than one-third of companies (39%) evaluate candidates’ professional blogs or websites, and 29% consider a person’s Twitter profile.
Usually, a decision to evaluate job candidate’s social media profiles depends on what risks a business is willing to take.
For Steve Ozbolt, owner of Emerald City Catering and Events, a catering company in Milwaukee, reviewing personal social media accounts guards against the possibility of hiring employees who may voice unacceptable opinions.
“Social media helps us to be informed about whether employees have posted anything inappropriate such as racist hate speech,” Ozbolt said. “That would reflect poorly on our organization.”
However, some employers believe that evaluating personal social media accounts could place companies in violation of discrimination laws.
“My HR advisor strongly encourages us to avoid looking at personal social media accounts when recruiting new hires,” said Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, president of Do Good Work Educational Consulting, a consulting firm that conducts and translates academic research. “By looking at a candidate’s Facebook page, we might learn something that’s less-than-appealing yet irrelevant to the job. Should that influence our hiring decision, it could lead to allegations of employment discrimination.”
Strayhorn raises a valuable concern: There are non-discrimination laws regarding age, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Companies are allowed to look at a candidate’s public social media profiles but aren’t permitted to use certain information learned from social media, such as a candidate’s race, to inform their hiring decision.
Some companies still choose to evaluate a candidate’s social media and trust they will make informed, non-discriminatory judgments about the candidate. Other companies avoid personal social media accounts altogether. Either way, companies should always:
- Consult with HR professionals about how to approach the personal social media accounts of potential employees
- Remember the strong distinction between professional social media accounts (such as LinkedIn) and personal social media accounts (such as Facebook and Snapchat)
- Institute a standardized, company-wide policy about how or if a job candidate’s social media should be evaluated
Overall, companies should carefully approach evaluating potential employees’ personal social media profiles when recruiting.
4. Highlight Your Company’s Employer Brand and Culture on Social Media
A company’s culture naturally affects the day-to-day experience of its employees. Companies can attract candidates by using a social media employer branding strategy.
Currently, roughly half of companies (49%) believe that updating a company’s social media profile regularly is an effective recruiting strategy.
Meanwhile, more than four in 10 companies (43%) consider paid social media ads effective, and 39% say the same about asking employees to share jobs on social media.
Companies should realize the value of using social media to highlight their brand. In fact, effective social media employer branding can provide companies with:
- Increased attention and interest
- A higher number of applicants
- Job candidates who are attracted to their culture
Cosmetics company L’Oreal uses social media to highlight its culture, for example.
L’Oreal promotes a Medium channel that tells employees’ personal and professional stories. In some posts, L’Oreal demonstrates its commitment to work-life balance.
In others, L’Oreal uses video to capture the employee experience.
Through these social media efforts, L’Oreal demonstrates how employees’ lives and work is “part of something really human.”
L’Oreal also gives employees the opportunity to post about their own workplace experiences by hashtagging #LifeAtLoreal.
Employees can post different pictures at work, ranging from events at L’Oreal’s corporate office in New York to beauty and makeup events around the world. This hashtag shows people interested in the company how L’Oreal employees spend their time.
By using social media to promote a passionate, employee-centric culture, L’Oreal is more likely to attract candidates who are genuinely interested in the global cosmetics industry.
Companies should feature their brand and culture on social media to attract like-minded job candidates.
Use Social Media to Hire the Best Employees
Businesses need to use every available strategy to hire top talent in a tight labor market.
Companies can showcase their culture and attract top talent by investing in social media recruiting on LinkedIn and Facebook.
When recruiting through social media, businesses should:
- Focus their efforts on Facebook and LinkedIn
- Invest appropriate time and money in social media job posts
- Use caution when evaluating job candidates’ personal social media profiles
- Highlight their company’s brand and culture on social media
Companies can add to their workforce and improve their bottom line by recruiting effectively on social media.
About the Survey
The Manifest surveyed 505 full-time employees in the U.S.
The survey asked respondents to select all titles that describe their role: 62% describe their role as a hiring manager; 50% as a human resources generalist; 34% as recruiting or staffing specialist; 20% as an executive; 10% as a consultant; and 5% as other.
Six in 10 respondents (60%) are female, and 40% are male.
Forty-three percent (43%) of respondents are ages 18-34; 47% are ages 35-54; and 10% are 55 years old and above.