The benefits of using social media for recruitment

Phil Kendall

May 2018 ⋅ 5 min read

Regardless of whether you're creating a brand new role or replacing a departing member of staff, searching for your next employee can be both exciting and a little bit scary.

Choosing the right candidate can be tough. After all, the people you add to your team have to both get along with your existing staff and bring with them the right mix of skills and experience to help your business grow.

But before you can start the interview process, how do you go about reaching those fantastic, business-boosting candidates in the first place?

Depending on your industry, you might decide to post an ad on an online job site like Reed or Indeed. Or perhaps you'll advertise the role in a trade magazine or local paper.

Alternatively, you could use social media to find your next team member.

No longer just a marketing tool or a way to handle customer queries, business owners the world over are using social media to reach new talent and sell their brand to job seekers.

Here's why:

1. Reach passive job seekers

The most obvious benefit of using social media as a recruitment tool is that it allows business owners to reach those elusive passive job seekers.

There are thousands of people out there who, while they might not be on the lookout for a new job, could easily be tempted to apply for a position if an interesting opportunity were to present itself.

These people would never dream of spending their lunch break or evening scrolling through ads on recruitment sites, but for most, browsing sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is an everyday occurrence. It stands to reason, then, that if you share details about your job opportunity on social media. it's far more likely that they, or someone their network, will spot it.

Present the role and your business in the right way (we'll talk more about this later) and you could very well have people knocking on your door who, up until a couple of days earlier, had no idea they wanted a new job.  

Robinsons Cafe, whose owners we interviewed just last year, took to their Instagram account to find part-time staff recently.

2. Save money

Another major advantage of using social media for recruitment is that it needn't cost you a penny.

If you're just starting out or are only looking to add a couple of part-timers to your team, the cost of advertising jobs in print can be quite considerable. And, while their fees can vary depending on the type and duration of your ad, advertising on some of the bigger job sites doesn't come cheap.

Not so with social media.

Posting a job ad on your social media accounts is completely free. The only time you'll have to shell out is if you decide to make use of a network's paid promotion options to target users in particular areas or with certain interests (though you should be careful not to discriminate when doing so!), but even then it's unlikely to cost a great deal.

When you consider that social media posts are designed for easy sharing, and that any activity on them is visible in turn to that user's own followers, social media really is a great, low-cost way of getting that recruitment ball rolling.

3. Reach more people

It would be silly to suggest that the posts you share on a social network could be seen by even 1% of its users — not even the most gifted social media ninjas could ever dream of achieving results like that.

But when you consider the size of the audiences that you could tap into simply by sharing your job adverts on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you'd be mad not to try.

Facebook, by far the biggest social network, currently has around 2.2 billion active users. Even Twitter, whose userbase pales in comparison to Facebook's, sees a whopping 330 million people logging into their accounts each month. Each one of those users, meanwhile, has the ability to share the posts they see with their own networks with the click of a button — exposing your posts to even more likeminded users.

By all means, advertise your job on recruitment sites, but remember that by posting your job on social media you could be reaching significantly more people.

Sainsbury's kicked up a social media storm earlier in the year when they turned a fun observation into a chance to recruit more staff.

4. Start talking right away

In the past, candidates would have to either call you up or attend an interview before they could discuss specifics like whether they'd be able to work only certain shifts or always have a particular day off. 

If you're recruiting via social media, however, then candidates can easily shoot you a quick message if they have any special requirements or simply want to find out more about the role before applying.

By engaging with your applicants in this way, not only will you have an opportunity to get to know them a little better prior to inviting them to interview, but you'll also be able to avoid the situation of taking the time to meet someone in person, only to discover that their personal commitments would prevent them from working the required shifts.

Be sure to keep a close eye on your notifications and direct messages and be proactive about starting conversations with interested parties — your ideal candidate could be on the other side the keyboard!

5. Build your brand

The content you share on social media might normally be geared more towards engaging with customers rather than wooing potential employees, but don’t forget that the way you present your business online will also give job seekers an idea of your company's culture and the type of environment they might find themselves working in.

When someone applies for a job, they're usually taking a gamble on whether they'll a) enjoy the work and b) they'll fit in with the existing team. Make the decision easy for them by sharing plenty of examples of the things you and your staff get up to and what life is like in your workplace. 

Here at RotaCloud, rather than talking up our (great!) rota-planning software, we use our Instagram channel purely to give our followers a peek at life at the RotaCloud office.

Ultimately, your goal should be to use your social media channels not just to show the world just what a great company you are, but what a great employer you could be.

Final thoughts

Recruitment can be a costly, stressful and time-consuming experience at the best of times, so it's natural to be anxious about finding new people to add to your team. 

The good news, however, is that social media has made the process of finding fresh talent far less effort, and much more organic, than it used to be.

Rather than simply placing ads online or in the paper and waiting for CVs to arrive, we're now able to start conversations in real-time, engaging with job applicants far sooner in the recruitment process — all without spending a penny.

For a wider look at hiring as a small business, give our complete recruitment guide a read — it contains everything you need to hire on a budget, including loads of free resources!