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Using social media to find top recruits

4-minute read

Technology has fundamentally altered the way candidates find and apply for work today.

LinkedIn, Facebook, X and other social media platforms can help you identify great people sooner, position yourself as a talent magnet, and weed out people who don't fit with what you’re looking for.

Use business-focused sites

Business-focused social media sites such as LinkedIn and industry-specific online forums or bulletin boards can connect you to potential candidates whose intelligence, drive and experience make them likely to succeed in your organization. How do you identify these people?

  • Join industry forums and regional business discussion groups. Follow online discussions, or start conversations of your own. You’ll connect with many smart, outgoing people who you can then arrange to meet offline.
  • Many of these sites contain detailed resumes or descriptions of current activities. Use these databases as your own HR search engines. Want a CFO with big-firm experience, or a programmer who knows Apple apps? Instead of posting ads or hiring recruiters, you can now find and pitch to these experts directly.
  • Even ads can be more effective with social media. Social sites let you reach the market you’re targeting. By purchasing specific demographics or keywords, you can target qualified candidates for a fraction of the cost of a traditional search.

Filter out bad candidates

You can also use social media to weed out unsuitable candidates.

Reviewing the social media profiles of candidates can give you a better idea of how they present themselves to the world, and perhaps even what they're like “off-stage.”

Many employers have found this a useful way to filter out immature candidates who could have a negative effect on their brand. In fact, this practice could be considered as best practice for hiring in many industries.

Position your business to attract candidates

Once you find good people, you still have to sell them on joining your company. So use social media to position your business as the place to be. Encourage staff to blog about their work and why your company is a great place to work.

Create social media accounts for your company and use them to let customers, suppliers, employees and potential employees know about your products, brand and company culture. If you have unique job perks or something else that makes you special as an employer, make sure to be vocal about it online.

How do you find the content to fill those channels? You can announce new products, introduce new employees, report on company events or comment on industry trends. Just make sure that all your communications consistently represent the company as you want it to be seen.

Remember the dangers of social media

Because great employees have more than one choice—while you're looking them up online, they’re doing the same thing to you.

Social media has made the world more transparent, which can be a double edged sword for businesses. Make sure to control the image you project with an active social media presence. But candidates are also likely to find any negative comments posted online by unsatisfied employees, suppliers and customers.

Obviously, the best way to guard against unsatisfied clients and employees is to always treat them with respect and keep insisting on outstanding customer service. But some complaints are inevitable. Try to find and respond to negative reviews online as much as possible. That way, both sides of the story will be heard when a potential employee or client sees the negative feedback.

Another potential pitfall of social media, company pages need to be actively moderated to ensure they remain a place for employees and customers to share their ideas and enthusiasm. Otherwise, unscrupulous characters could take over and make you look bad.

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