Recruiting strategies and tools have changed significantly in the last decade. A social recruiting survey showed that since 2012 92% of employers utilized social media as a recruiting tool. As the years progress, more recruiters are using social media to hire and vet job candidates.

The challenge for recruiters isn’t using social media, but using it correctly. Common recruiting mistakes include reviewing too many social platforms, not having a clear understanding how social media can work for them, and misuse of social media due to a lack of engagement training.  Instead of making social media a tool to enhance recruitment efforts, these common challenges often inhibit the ability to recruit prime candidates online.

Here are 5 of the most common mistakes recruiters make when using social media and 5 suggestions to improve recruiting efforts.

#1 No plan in place to use social media as a recruiting tool

Social media’s promise to the recruiting community is that once you start using it, you can take the world by storm, effectively searching and finding top talent to bring to your hiring managers. While the promise is good, the immediacy is not as sure — unless you have a plan for how you will use these online channels. While your overall goal will be to use social media to make new hires, your plan still needs defining action steps you can implement each time you’re on various social platforms.

When creating your plan, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What sort of content will you include for job seekers?
  • How can you work with the marketing department to create valuable content?
  • Which social media recruiting strategies will you use the most?
  • Which social platforms are ideal for your company brand?

Getting the answers to these questions is imperative to carrying out your social recruiting plan. While it’s tempting to answer the last question with “All of them”, it makes more sense to select only a few platforms to represent your brand and engage potential candidates.

When you’re making a plan, decide how you will measure your success. How will you know your strategy is successful? Measuring success will help you set future goals and adjust your strategy to continually improve your recruiting efforts. Start measuring success by setting key social media goals and a time frame to reach them. Some common social media goals include:

  • The number of new candidates that engage in your social media efforts.
  • The number of likes, shares, or retweets from your social posts.
  • The increased number of qualified candidates submitting applications

Once you set your goals, monitor them regularly, but set benchmarks monthly, quarterly, and yearly. Your strategy should be laid out first before you begin deciding on content.

#2 Not adding value through social media posts

Job seekers visit your company’s social media profiles because they’re seeking answers to their career questions. Despite your social recruiting goal (make new hires), you can’t forget about putting your audience first. Yes, even though you’re looking for people to hire, you must realize that these people are your audience right now. Content that you deliver on your social channels should have the value that they seek to interest and engage them.

Consider what tools and content will help your job seekers engage with you. Think about questions they may have that will help them move forward in their career, regardless if they join your company or not. What sort of free information can your company provide? Options such as job resources, PDF downloads, career links, career advancement, and company insights are perfect to gain their attention and trust.

The value that you provide on your social media platforms will make social recruiting a lot easier, and it can go even further when you improve your engagement factor.

#3 Not engaging or building social relationships

Your social recruiting plan could easily fail if you don’t have constant, genuine interaction with your social media audiences. Building relationships is more than simply getting likes and retweets. The goal of your social engagement efforts should be to develop social connections and relationships through conversations and helpfulness on social media. Effective social engagement is not immediate. It takes time for a company to build rapport and attract the right candidates, but you can do so with solid engagement tactics.

Social media engagement requires not only posting your own content, but also commenting on or sharing content posted by your followers and other thought leaders in your space. One example of social media engagement might include supplying a comment on someone else’s content and then retweeting it while naming the person in your post. Alternatively, you can leave a thoughtful comment or engagement question on a popular topic to spark conversation. This tends to garner more interest than a retweet without any additional comments.

Commenting on articles, replying to blog comments, and jumping in on relevant conversations are powerful strategies for establishing yourself and your company as social media influencers. Your audience (job seekers) will begin to see you as a member of their social community and as someone who is interested in their opinions. Try to jump in on opportunities to join the conversation as they present themselves, and be active in conversations that mirror your audience’s interests.

#4 Not investing enough time in social media

One of the biggest mistakes in social media recruiting is failing to put in the time it takes to keep social media active, valuable, and engaging. Most recruiters find that social media is a free tool they can use to their advantage. What they don’t realize is that while social media can be used without having to invest thousands of dollars immediately, the true cost of social media is in the time investment.

A recruiter equipped with a strong social media strategy should also consider the time commitment it will take to keep the channels active and interesting. It’s a good idea to collaborate with your company’s marketing department to ensure that the content shared is worth the time and effort, as well as devise content scheduling using social media tools such as Hootsuite or Social Sprout, so that the right content is always shared at the right time.

#5 Using social media for advertising

Another common error that can derail a social media recruiting strategy is the use of social channels for advertising instead of organic content. It’s so easy and tempting to turn your social media platforms into inexpensive advertising tools to share company information and updates and drive traffic to the website. Remember that relevant content can also include information and job tips related to your company without resorting to blatant advertising tactics. However, when your social posts regularly become bland job advertisements and company highlights, that’s a sign that you need to take a step back and look at your content strategy.

When your social recruiting gradually becomes an advertising place or job posting site that’s what candidates will see it as—job posting information, and they’ll treat it as such. Don’t lose your engagement and audience by reverting to advertising.

If your engagement and readership falls off, reevaluate your content and social posts to find out where things took a wrong turn. Reconvene with marketing to restructure your social media recruiting efforts to fix this issue, and jump back into engagement by offering the most valuable content.

One quicker tip: Try to avoid judging candidates by what you immediately see on their social media profiles. Most millennials and younger generations are often comfortable with overlapping their professional and personal lives. Judging too quickly can ruin the opportunity to hire a great candidate.

The best recruiting strategies use a combination of current technology and engaging approaches. What are some of the best social media recruiting tips you use? 

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