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Your complete guide to social media recruiting

February 19, 2021
iCIMS Staff
11 min read

As more and more people join social networks and leverage them for job searching, social recruiting is imperative for companies. With LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter now boasting over 3.5 billion combined users, recruiters are smart to leverage social networks to attract potential job candidates.

But what are some of the other benefits of social recruiting? And how do you get started?

Read on to find out. (Want the Survival Guide to Social Recruiting? Download it here.)

Benefits of social media recruiting

Build your employment brand

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.

Reach passive candidates

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.

Supplement your employee referral program

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.

Learn more about the background of candidates

A recruiter can understand a great deal about a person by evaluating their LinkedIn profile. For example, a LinkedIn member will usually include a resume of past and current jobs. You can see recommendations from peers, managers, and colleagues, as well as what groups the person has joined. You can also determine if you have any second- or third-degree connections so that you can get a more personal referral.

Similarly, on other networks, you can learn a lot about a person’s interests and professional standing. However, be careful not to expose your organization to potential legal risks.

To avoid the risk of civil rights lawsuits or OFCCP violations, you can use applicant tracking software. Robust applicant tracking systems allow recruiters to tap into social networks’ power while tracking the parameters considered relevant by the OFCCP. Users can request EEO information from every applicant and accurately capture reasons for non-selection for every applicant. They can also easily generate reports required by the OFCCP.

Lower recruitment costs

Accounts on Twitter, 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.

Get tips on articulating your employer value prop in the Survival Guide to Social Recruiting.

Choosing your channels – the big 3

Social media apps on phone screen

All social sites are different, and all warrant different approaches. As a first step, decide whom you are trying to attract and tailor your strategy to that group. You may want to start with one social media site, familiarize yourself with it, and gradually grow your presence.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the big three channels:


Twitter is a massive microblogging site with a twist. An imposed character count on all tweets means you have to minimize the words you use without detracting from your message. It may not sound like it but selling your corporate brand in 140 characters or less is a lot harder than you think. With your social recruiting tool, you can create ‘Twitter Cards’ to attach rich photos, videos, and media to your tweets and pack a bigger punch with a more expressive messaging beyond the limit.

Quick tips and best practices to get you started on Twitter:

  • Start by setting up an account with your company name, a photo, and a brief bio. Begin with a few relevant industry tweets, and then start following others.
  • Run a quick search on Twitter for anybody discussing a specific keyword, and you can find hundreds of contacts. Target people to follow who work in the industry, people who may have the skills you need, or their network. Often these people will follow you back, and you’ll build your list of followers.
  • The easiest way to recruit is to tweet jobs you have available, i.e., “Looking for a marketing coordinator in NYC. Apply at (include a shortened URL using https://” To make your job posting tweets stand out, you use hashtags. Hashtags filter and find information on Twitter. Include the hashtag with a keyword in your tweet, and it becomes instantly searchable.
    • Here are a few examples of hashtags you may want to consider using: #job, #hiring, #career, #sales rep. In the same manner, you can search and source directly for job seekers using a keyword search.
  • Think beyond just job postings for your Twitter account. Consider using it to keep potential candidates interested and engaged. You can market events you will be attending, post company updates, or relevant industry news. Your tweets say a lot about your company and corporate culture.


Considered the world’s largest professional network and most frequented social media platform for recruiting, LinkedIn is an important screening tool. 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 and best practices to get you started on LinkedIn:

  • Start by making your company profile. Go to www. and click the “add a company” button on the right-hand side. Once you create your company profile, make sure you keep it relevant and up to date. Edit regularly with job postings and updates on the company.
  • You can actively search for candidates among LinkedIn members by searching on keywords for people with the required qualifications listed in their LinkedIn profile. You can then send an InMail to candidates directly, or if you share a connection, request an introduction.
  • Joining groups is another effective way to attract potential candidates. Join industry or skill set groups and advertise your roles. Once you join a group, find ways to begin discussions with people in that group. 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.


Facebook has transcended how job seekers interact with the brands they find interesting. It spans every age group, gender, and ethnicity, so diverse exposure isn’t an issue. With such high user retention, it’s 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 and best practices to get you started on Facebook:

  • Start by creating an engaging company page and ensuring that all content is relevant and up to date. Be sure to create a public page where people can “like” your page and then receive notifications of jobs or any other updates you post.
  • Encourage your employees to get involved and post comments to your page. Make sure you respond to all comments, good or bad. Don’t just use your wall for advertising vacancies. Use it to keep people interested, so more people will be active on the page and see the post when a job arises.
  • 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.

Choosing your channels – the progressive alternates

While the big three above may seem obvious, the following sites may not be a top-of-mind concern for recruiters. Still, progressive recruiting means finding candidates off the well-worn path.


With its video-only format distinguishing itself amongst the other members of this list, YouTube allows you to broadcast your brand. Did you know that social video generates more social shares than text and images combined? YouTube enables your company to showcase the value of producing employee and culture-focused recruiting videos regularly.

In addition to YouTube video content, you can share employee-generated videos, built in house, to your corporate social networks.


Instagram is a highly engaging way to promote your brand via pictures, videos, and text captions while appealing to job seekers’ youthful generation. Use the hashtag strategy we discussed in the Twitter section to increase your reach, but be sure to create unique content for this channel which favors more personal and highly stylized content.

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.

Getting started

LinkedIn profile on phone next to laptop

Before you implement a social recruitment strategy, here are five steps to help your organization get started:

  1. Review your corporate social media habits

    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.

  1. Establish your company brand on social media

Evaluate how you can feature your company culture and brand on social media.

    • What unique company perks or benefits stand out about your company that you can post about?

To help figure out how you want your company to reflect on social media, look at similar companies you admire.

    • What are some things that they do that you could adopt?

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

Social recruiting goes beyond posting career opportunities via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. The social recruitment landscape is about being proactive, present, and authentic to cultivate a relationship with job seekers. 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.

  1. Determine your target audience

After strengthening your employer brand, it’s crucial to identify the type of job seeker your organization wants to attract. Doing so will make it easier for your company to target better cultural fits that directly align with your company’s core competencies. This requires some research to get a view into their interests, motivations, frustrations, etc.

Here’s a few quick tips to get started:

    • Create a candidate persona sheet to understand what your ideal candidate responds to
    • Collaborate cross-functionally to ensure multiple teams have a view of whom you’re targeting
    • Make sure your findings are folded into your job postings to attract the right candidates
  1. Appeal to the candidates you want to attract

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.

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.

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.

  1. Keep up with your 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. Text is also a quick way to share those social links and posts to get more eyes on your messaging. With a 98% open rate, you can trust text messaging will appeal to your target audience.

Measuring results

Person scrolling through social media on phone next to laptop screen

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.

Discover more social recruiting insights in the Social Recruiting Survival Guide.

Download social recruiting survival guide

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