#WorkTrends: Why Social Media Has Failed Recruiting

Imagine a world without hashtags, friend requests and cat videos. Pretty difficult, right? That’s how much social media has transformed our lives.

However, there’s something social media hasn’t transformed: recruiting. Even though companies have more opportunities to reach qualified candidates than ever before, the results have not come anywhere close to fulfilling the potential of the power of social media.

This week on #WorkTrends we speak with Michael Webb and Cyndy Trivella of WorkScene, a social media startup focused on recruiting. Webb is the company’s founder and Trivella is its vice president of strategic relations. They break down the reasons that social media hasn’t been a boon to recruiting — but also how you can make it become just that.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

So What’s the Deal?

Social media is a tool that offers recruiters the ability to connect with job seekers directly. Ideally companies set up shop behind an @ symbol, deploy a few witty hashtags and watch the resumes flood in.

If only it were that simple. Social media is not the recruiting tool we’ve all expected. But don’t fret, HR types. Trivella says this one isn’t our fault.

The problem with social media lies with the platforms themselves — they just weren’t designed with recruiting in mind. “Social media as we know it is more suited for the promotion of products and services,” Trivella says. “It doesn’t really tell anyone about the organization’s culture and work environment.”

Branding Is Recruiting

Rethinking social recruiting begins with rethinking the basics, Webb says. How basic? Well, it doesn’t get much more basic than rethinking the importance of the job posting itself.

This isn’t to say that job postings are an outdated concept. Obviously you’re going to need a way to communicate that you have openings at your company. But Webb says the job posting should only be one part of your recruiting strategy. “The job posting should be kind of in the middle of your recruiting funnel,” he says.

Social media has allowed potential hires to learn more about employers than ever before. “We know that as new talent is entering the workforce, they’re not just looking for a position and a paycheck,” Trivella says. “They want to know that their personal mission is in lockstep with the company before they make any attempt at applying for the job.”

Webb says companies can harness social media to use this to their advantage by embracing an inbound recruiting strategy. Inbound recruiting is a new term in our field, but it’s actually very simple: It’s using the power of social media to tell the story of what it’s like to work at your company. You can show off your company’s work environment and also express its culture and beliefs. Think of it as a recruiting brand.

If you’re not using inbound recruiting already, it’s easy to get started. “The nice thing is you have the content,” Webb says. As examples of content you already have, he cites photos of community service events or even just sharing information about an exciting new project. “Really, it’s endless,” he says.

The Talent Community

Of course, there’s still an issue with social media: those clunky platforms. But this doesn’t mean companies need to limit themselves to what’s available. You can extend and leverage your inbound recruiting strategies into your own platforms, known as talent communities.

These platforms allow companies to engage with both passive and active job seekers, creating a relationship before a job seeker even applies for a job. “Talent communities put recruiters in the driver’s seat by giving them more of a proactive role,” Trivella says.

Talent communities also solve another problem for companies. “Great people aren’t always looking at the same time you need them,” Webb says. By marrying inbound recruiting with a proprietary platform, you can create your own pool of interested candidates, and you can engage with these candidates on a variety of levels. “Your online recruiting strategy becomes less transactional,” Webb adds. All a company has to do is remain engaged with the members of its talent community, knowing that it has a pipeline of interested candidates who have a much higher likelihood of being a cultural fit than if the company was searching the old-fashioned way.

Try WorkScene

Finally, we have a special treat for the #WorkTrends audience. If you’re interested in trying a new social media platform designed for recruiting, reinforcing your employer brand and showcasing your company culture, go to to create a FREE account, or upgrade to a professional account by entering promo code TC2019 to receive 50 percent off for six months.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode