< Back to Hiring Blog

Your complete guide to social media for recruitment

February 19, 2021
iCIMS Staff
10 min read
Learn how iCIMS can
help you drive ROI

It’s practically impossible to be on social media without it influencing you in some way. In this case, we’re not talking about the latest fashion or health trends – we’re talking about social media recruiting.


What is social media recruitment?

In essence, social media recruitment is exactly what it sounds like – recruiting talent on social media. But it’s more than just posting links to your job descriptions. While that may lead to some applications, you’re playing to a pretty narrow audience. Mainly, people who already follow you on social media and are interested in applying anyway.

Social media recruiting is best thought of as a wing of your larger recruitment marketing strategy. It’s a more organized and comprehensive approach, one that relies on building brand and culture. In marketing speak, social media recruitment is top of the funnel.

Importance for talent acquisition

Recruiting – hopefully – doesn’t start when a job requisition gets approved. While that’s often the case (and sometimes unavoidable), it’s far faster and cost-effective to start with warm leads. This is where social media recruitment comes in. By engaging potential talent on social media, you’ve given your team a head start.

If you’re a B2C business offering goods or services directly to consumers (think a chain of coffee shops or big box retailer), social media recruiting will lean heavily on your existing brand – and fans. This means things like sharing employee stories and posting about volunteer events alongside new products or locations. These should flow into one another and feel cohesive. Done right, the distinction between “regular” posts and your recruiting posts is virtually indistinguishable.

Things are a little different for B2B. You’re likely speaking to specific job titles and industries. You’re less likely to have a rapid fan base – and you probably won’t be competing as much for airtime with customer-facing content. For B2B organizes, it often makes sense to lean more on company culture, growth opportunities, mission and values.


Key social media platforms for recruitment

Social media apps on phone screen

All social sites are different, and all warrant different approaches. Different platforms reward different types of content, and typically attract different audiences. Knowing who your ideal candidates are – and where they spend their time – is a good first step.

For example, a software provider with big government contracts will probably find more of their ideal candidates on LinkedIn. By contrast, a chain of restaurants may find more success on TikTok or Instagram, where they can show off their locations and costumer experiences.

We’ll get more into tips for successful recruiting on social media below. For now, here are the big social media platforms to consider.

X (formerly known as Twitter)

X has evolved plenty over the years, but at its core it’s essentially still a microblogging site. It’s a place where people go to share ideas and videos, and its comments section is where a lot of the engagement happens.

Quick tips to get you started on X:

  • Start by setting up an account with your company name, a photo and a brief bio.
  • Target people to follow who work in the industry, people who may have the skills you need, or their network.
  • The easiest way to recruit is to tweet jobs you have available, i.e., “Looking for a marketing coordinator in NYC.”
  • Including hastags makes your post instantly searchable, increasingly the likelihood people who don’t follow you will find your post. Examples of hashtags you may want to consider using: #job, #hiring, #career, #sales rep.
  • Start and contribute to conversations. Encourage people to their opinions and advice; creating polls is a great way to crowdsource opinions and get people engaged.


Considered the world’s largest professional network and most frequented social media platform for recruiting. With a vast network of valued connections, your company can easily maintain a high-profile relationship with both active and passive candidates. You can even look to employees for a boost via social distribution, which automatically shares job postings on their profiles for greater exposure, promoting internal referral processes.

Quick tips to get you started on LinkedIn:

  • Start by making your company profile. Once you create your company profile, make sure you keep it relevant and up to date.
  • You can actively search for candidates among LinkedIn members by searching on keywords for qualified people.
  • Join industry or skill set groups and advertise your roles.You can contact people individually, or people may directly contact you.
  • A final option you have is advertisements. With LinkedIn Ads, you can target a specific audience by job title and function, industry and company size, seniority, and LinkedIn groups.


With such high user retention, Facebook is the perfect place to engage with job seekers, offer industry insights, and post all your open positions. Facebook offers companies a ‘Job Openings’ tab right from their profile, so candidates can visit one single repository and easily see what’s available.

Quick tips to get you started on Facebook:

  • Start by creating an engaging company page and ensuring that all content is relevant and up to date.
  • Encourage your employees to get involved and post comments to your page. Make sure you respond to all comments, good or bad.
  • Another option is to post a Facebook ad. Facebook can target ads to the exact audience you are looking to reach.
  • For example, suppose your company is in New Jersey, and you are not including relocation in the budget for this position. In that case, you can target the job posting only to show to people who live in New Jersey or bordering states. If the position is an entry-level position, you can target the job posting to a younger demographic.


With its video-only format distinguishing itself amongst the other members of this list, YouTube allows you to broadcast your brand. YouTube enables your company to showcase the value of producing employee and culture-focused recruiting videos regularly.

Quick tips to get you started on Youtube:

  • In addition to YouTube video content, you can share employee-generated videos, built in house, to your corporate social networks.
  • Create a variety of content that showcases your brand, including team-builders, volunteer hours, industry events, and interviews with employees.


Instagram is a highly engaging way to promote your brand via pictures, videos, and text captions while appealing to job seekers’ youthful generation.

Quick tips to get you started on Youtube:

  • Use the hashtag strategy we discussed in the Twitter section, but be sure to create unique content for this channel.
  • Posting the same content across multiple channels (without tailoring it to the unique angles audiences expect there) will tell users you aren’t interested in providing the custom experience to which they are accustomed.


Developing a social media recruitment strategy

LinkedIn profile on phone next to laptop

Growth on social media takes time. For every organization that dials in on great content and builds a thriving, engaged audience, dozens will let their social media dreams fall by the wayside. Distraction and competing interests for your team’s time can be hugely detrimental.

Whatever your social media goals are, your team needs a plan to get there.

1. Define recruitment objectives

Start with research. It’s helpful to find out how your company is already using social media platforms and its goals.

  • How many social media platforms does your organization currently utilize, and which ones?
  • What types of content are you sharing?
  • Do you feel confident that if a job seeker randomly stumbled upon your company’s Instagram page, for example, that they would feel enticed to work for your company?

To attract candidates using social media, you could share photos on Facebook or Instagram of team accomplishments and how members are recognized. This shows candidates that your organization is committed to its employees.

2. Choose the right platforms

As we discussed above, no social media strategy is complete without knowing which platforms you want to be on – and why. Often, this will come down to the type of talent you’re trying to attract, where they spend their time, and how they like to be engaged.

At the most basic level, this means knowing who your ideal candidates are. Knowing as much as you can about them makes it easier for your company to target better cultural fits and create interesting content. This requires some research to get a view into their interests, motivations, frustrations, etc.

Actively engage with candidates

Since recruitment is forever changing, keep in mind that levering social media goes beyond posting a job ad to multiple social media platforms. That said, it’s your organization’s responsibility to invest in a talent platform that takes recruitment seriously and supports the quality candidate engagement platform.

To connect with today’s candidates, you need to meet them where they are—on the go. Text recruiting and engagement is a modern, streamlined, and accelerated approach to communication with candidates and employees.

4. Measure recruitment results

The overall goal of social recruiting is to build a large, high-quality talent pool. To ensure that you reach your goals, your company must first create goals against which you measure your success. Such plans may include:

  • Increase traffic to your career site
  • Increase engagement of Facebook Fans
  • Increase follower count on Twitter
  • Increase traffic to job postings

You can also measure how social recruiting directly impacts the bottom line by reporting on:

  • Top sources of hire
  • Sources for high performers
  • Time to fill
  • Cost per hire

Before you implement your social media strategy, start tracking key metrics on your current sourcing and recruiting efforts. Then, set goals that you would like to accomplish with social recruiting.

5. Establish your company brand

Evaluate how you can feature your company culture and brand on social media. The image you portray on social media will impact who applies for your company. A great way to get people excited about your company is by showing what makes your company a unique and exciting place to work.

Applicants are interested in learning about the types of people they would potentially work with at companies when they do their research.

Company social media accounts provide candidates with a glimpse into a company’s culture, employees, company morale, and unique offerings. These factors help candidates determine whether that company is a good place to work. Amp up your social recruitment efforts with a solution that makes it easy to cultivate a social media presence and connect with more job seekers. With the iCIMS Talent Cloud, social media recruiting can be your sourcing powerhouse.

A strong employer brand sets the tone for business success. It affects the candidate’s perception of your culture, so it’s essential to get it done right with effective recruitment marketing software.

6. Develop a content strategy

Don’t be afraid to advertise for open positions on social media in an engaging way. This may bring awareness to potential applicants who may not even be actively looking for a job but are interested in connecting with your company for the future.

7. Leverage employee referrals

Employee referral programs are a handy recruiting tool. You can use social media to engage existing employees in the hiring process. Educate your employees and managers on using social networks for professional purposes and encouraging them to get involved. Employees can then post open requisitions to their social networks. They can also post relevant industry news that may interest potential candidates.


Benefits of social media for recruitment

Person scrolling through social media on phone next to laptop screen

Enhance employer branding

Social media is a mechanism for conveying your company culture to potential recruits and attracting new staff. You can brand your social media channels, post photos, and host videos. Customers and job seekers should be encouraged to participate in discussions, and employees should promptly address questions and comments.

Social media allows potential recruits to get a feel for what the company is like before they apply. By encouraging potential recruits to get to know the company culture before accepting a position, you ensure the candidate is the right fit for the company.

Build candidate relationships

Many people that are not currently looking for a job are still using social networks. But some of these professionals may be an excellent fit for the role you are looking to fill and might apply if they knew you had a vacancy. Even if many of these passive candidates have no current interest, you can begin building relationships before they decide to look for a new job. Using social media, you can significantly expand your talent pool by getting your jobs in front of passive candidates.

Lower recruitment costs

Accounts on X, Facebook and LinkedIn are all free to set up. Therefore, one advantage of social media is its potential to lower recruitment costs. Posting job openings on social networks are more likely to deliver results than a single description on a job board. Many organizations have saved large sums of money by leveraging social media’s power, which allows them to cut back on recruiting agencies and expensive job boards.


Leveraging social media recruitment with iCIMS

As you can see, there’s a ton of benefit to using social media for recruitment. From building up your employer brand, to sourcing and engaging candidates. To learn more about this topic, see our Social recruiting survival guide.

Download social recruiting survival guide


Learn how iCIMS can help you drive ROI

Explore categories

Explore categories

Back to top

Join our growing community
and receive free tips on how to attract, engage, hire, & advance the best talent.

Read more about Recruiting tips

Tailor your recruitment solution to keep top talent engaged

Read more

3 strategies to build your winning workforce from Europe’s TA experts

Read more

Does your TA tech prioritize the employee experience?

Read more