Social media for recruitingThere is a talent war going on out there.  Now, more than ever, it is crucial that companies be at the “top of their game” when it comes to recruiting new talent. The cost of a bad hire can set a company back many, many months, hampering productivity and impacting employee morale.

Therefore, companies want to get it right, and choose the best candidate for their job opening.  Many are turning to social media, thinking that it will solve all their problems.

Will it?  Should it? Do some sites work and others don’t? Can it replace a recruiter?


Facebook has gotten a lot of press in regards to its potential as a recruiting tool.  Everybody has heard of someone who has landed a job through a Facebook page, but the question remains….are we all hearing about the same person?  Has social media in general (and Facebook, in particular) been embraced by recruiters in a way in a totally unwarranted way?  Maybe so.  CareerXroads Source of Hire (2012) puts social media way down the list (3.5%) as a direct “source of hire” when compared to recruiter-initiated (9.1%) and company career websites (9.8%).  The reality is that the number of hires sourced directly from Facebook is all but negligible for most companies – over 90% said it had little to no impact.

Does this mean that you should shun Facebook forever?  No.  It is the 2nd most trafficked website in the world, with 85% of all internet users having a Facebook account, and 74% of them using Facebook daily.  People want to talk about you….look at the debacle that grew around Carnival and its Triumph cruise ship.  Unlike the Carnival, you need to give people a positive reason to talk about you by promoting your company brand and employer brand, as well as your open jobs on your Facebook page.


Like Facebook, it is pretty easy to build an employer brand with Twitter. You can tweet about company culture, tell anecdotal stories about your company and even retweet informational articles.  It is also pretty easy to tweet open jobs.

However, do not take it too far.  There is a fine line between being informative and being a spammer.  Twitter should be used to engage followers and answer any/all candidate questions.  Recruiting is about relationships, and if all you are doing is tweeting PR-oriented tidbits or posting jobs, then you are not using Twitter to its full potential.  Present a clear call to action; let your followers (i.e. your potential candidates) know what you want them to do. …look at a job post, join a conversation, apply, etc.

Provide a clear bio on your Twitter page, so that everyone understands what you do and how you stand in your industry.  Jargon should be avoided.  If I am not in your industry, I am not going to understand who and what you are; therefore, I will not engage you.


Women make up 97% of the users on Pinterest, with over a quarter of them being between 25-34 years old.  The majority of these women spend sixteen minutes a day on the site “pinning” travel, apparel and do-it-yourself projects.  That does not mean that you cannot use the site to your advantage.  All you need to do is provide similar content and relate it to the workplace.  For example, you could:

  • Pin photos of appropriate work and interview outfits and accessories for your company
  • Pin photos of well-designed offices
  • Pin photos of various hiring locations to help promote interest in areas that may be hard to recruit for

In addition, you can build a pin board for each job and pin recruitment videos to help promote your employer brand.

However, there is no way to communicate via Pinterest…information can only flow one way…so (today) Pinterest remains all about building brand buzz, not outright recruiting.

What Do You Do?

If you have a social media presence, you should not abandon it.  You must maintain it, because that is what is expected by the workers of today.  However, do not be fooled into thinking that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or (even) LinkedIn can replace a recruiter.  Social media is still a good way to build/reinforce a brand, but not (yet) for direct recruiting.  You still cannot tweet a job opening and expect the floodgates to open with qualified candidates.

Recruiting requires communication and engagement, and people are still needed to give those websites personality, answer questions, identify potential, and successfully recruit.

NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available. 

By David Allen,