Do This, Not That. How to Nail Social Recruiting

It’s not an exaggeration to say that in today’s fast-paced, connected, “always on” world, a social media recruiting strategy is a must have. If you don’t have one in place, you will, without question, quickly fall behind your competition.

However, there are right ways of doing social recruiting, and there are wrong ways. And the ROI on doing it wrong is, well, pretty low. But what do we mean by “doing it wrong?” Isn’t social recruiting just about reaching out and connecting with people online? Well…sort of. The problems arise when a company oversteps, for lack of a better term. Things like overselling, appearing too pushy or spammy, forgetting basic online etiquette, or trying to be painfully hip and “on trend,” will result in potential hires being turned off, at best, or you’ll see your efforts roundly skewered online, at worst.

Bad Move, Microsoft

Microsoft just experienced this first hand, when a recruiting email recently went viral. Attempting to hit a young, intern-age crowd, to say they went over the top might be an understatement. Here’s a screen grab courtesy of The Daily Dot.


Aside from the inappropriate language and emphasis on “getting lit,” this is a classic case of incorrectly painting an entire generation (young Millennials) with the same brush. In so doing, Microsoft is also potentially alienating a huge swath of their audience—females—with their “bro-like” attempts at humor and cringe-worthy, high-five’ing camaraderie.

This example might be the exception rather than the rule when it comes to social recruitment fails. But it clearly illustrates the importance of focusing your social recruitment strategy on the dos, while also being able to recognize the don’ts (should they periodically pop up). Let’s take a look at some of the ways recruiters can help ensure their social media outreach is a success.

How to Succeed at Social Media Recruiting

Make sure your own social profiles are up to date and complete. First impressions count more than ever these days. People today are digitally savvy, and with all the cyber-scams out there, always have their eyes peeled for anything that looks the least bit dubious. Having a professional, up-to-date profile, one that includes compelling photos, a well-written bio, as well as links to any related websites or contact forms will go a long way toward helping you build trust.

Focus on your audience, instead of your business. While this might seem counterproductive, stay with me here. If you’re only sharing, publishing, and promoting job opportunities, your social properties are going to look and feel like your only interest is in selling—which is a huge turn off in social. Instead, mix it up with engaging content that provides real value to your followers. Include tips and tricks on job hunting, resume writing, and interviewing. And be sure to use images and video! Emails that include video have click through rates 200 to 300 percent higher than those that don’t. And 92 percent of mobile video watchers will share that video with others, always a key consideration in our mobile-driven age. And, last but not least, when that great content gets shared, don’t forget to respond with a personalized thank you!

Be judicious with direct messages on any social platform. Many social media users experience a range of emotions when it comes to unwanted direct or private messages, and believe me, none of them are positive. Your best bet is to do a bit of “courting” out in public, begin to develop a relationship with a potential hire, and then go so far as to ask them if it’s ok to take your conversation private. And please, don’t set up automated direct messaging on any of your social profiles. Instead, make the time to respond personally to people. You’ll make a positive impact, and avoid getting blocked.

Speaking of time, make sure you set some aside for social recruiting. Social media recruiting, if you’re doing it right, takes time. As I mentioned above, building real relationships with people is a big part of any social recruiting strategy’s success, and that requires consistency. Once you’ve developed those relationships, nurture them by making sure you respond promptly to questions and queries. Curating (or creating) value-driven content for your communities also takes time, and if you want your followers coming back to your sites regularly, you need to have continuity in your publishing schedules. And, if you want to become recognized as a trusted, “go-to” recruiter, you’ll have to spend some time every day interacting online, engaging with other people’s communities, as well as reading, commenting, and sharing other people’s content as well.

Remember to be human, and to have fun. Use natural language, and sound like a human being, not a robot. Of course, you want to be sure you know your audience, and taper and tone of your “fun” depending on which platform you’re using—perhaps a little more serious on LinkedIn, and more playful on Facebook. Be ever mindful of online etiquette, and remember that sarcasm and snark can often be misread through text, not matter how many winking emojis you add. Use your good judgment, and remember—there’s a fine line between an appropriate amount of fun and going overboard. Just ask Microsoft.

What do you think? Have you had great results from your social recruiting? Do you have any secrets you would like to share? I would love to hear your comments.

A version of this was first posted on Huffington Post.