The 7 Biggest Social Recruiting Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)
It’s so easy to make social recruiting mistakes that many recruiters don’t even realize where they’re going wrong.
Social recruiting has become a key part of almost every top hiring operation. In fact, only 6% of recruiters don’t use social media in the recruiting process. An overwhelming 94% use social media as a regular part of their workflow.
But great social recruiting is so much more than just finding candidates on social media. When done right, it can have a huge effect on candidate engagement, employer branding and sourcing results.
Sure, you could outsource it, but keeping social recruitment in-house allows you to control your employer brand more and get proactive about engaging passive candidates with the skills you need.
We’ve broken down the seven biggest social recruiting mistakes that you might be making and outlined the best way to avoid them.
1. Not making an authentic connection
Anyone who has tried their hand at social recruiting understands the difficulty in establishing an authentic connection with their target candidates.
You’re not just competing with other recruiting and talent branding teams – you’re up against every other consumer brand. You’re fighting for a place in the candidate’s feed with the marketing and social media departments of household names like Coca-Cola and Nike!
You have to remember that candidates are consumers first and foremost, and nowhere is this more apparent than on social media.
Most recruiters can’t fight big brands when it comes to resources, and they’re unlikely to have the full power of a marketing department at their fingertips either, but recruiters can certainly emulate the level of personalization that big brands use to connect with their consumers online.
Too many recruiting departments use their social feeds to churn out job posts. This might result in extra applications, but it’s going to do little in the long term to improve social recruiting results.
The best social recruiters know that success lies in making an authentic connection with candidates, not simply broadcasting open roles. For recruiters, the primary goal on social media should always be to open up a dialogue or start a new relationship with a candidate, not get them to click on a job ad.
The candidates that you engage in conversation with are far more likely to come out of the exchange with a positive impression of your brand and are more likely to apply for an open role down the line. It’s natural for anyone considering a role at your company to want to engage with your team and find out more – don’t deny them this opportunity.
There can be as many as 13 individual touchpoints between your brand and a candidate during the early stages of the recruiting process. Make sure you are working to build a deeper connection with each touchpoint.
You’re better off viewing social interactions as one (or more) of those pre-application touchpoints and trying to build as many strong relationships as possible, instead of putting all of your time and energy into simply getting anyone and everyone to apply.
2. Not creating a social recruiting strategy
“Failing to plan, is planning to fail” - Benjamin Franklin
As cliche as that quote might be, there’s still plenty of truth to it. If you’re walking into social recruiting without a solid plan, you’re unlikely to hit it out of the park – at least not on the first few tries.
Social recruiting is important and that’s well understood by talent acquisition teams. But that can’t be your only reason for investing in it at your company. You need (at least) a basic strategy to help you get the greatest ROI from your social channels.
You need to be able to answer these three core questions:
Why are you on social media?
Being active on multiple social channels just for the sake of it is a surefire way to burn valuable time and resources. You need to have a clear reason for investing in social recruiting.
For most companies, this can be pretty simple. For example: “we’re active on social media because we think it helps us build our employer brand and attract new candidates.”
How are you going to succeed on social media?
Now that you have said why you are on social media, you need to build out a plan. What social recruiting tactics are you planning to use? Are you working with your marketing department to produce content tailored to job seekers? Are your employees getting involved by sharing their experiences at your company on social media? Are you sharing about your upcoming recruiting events to generate more interest?
Social media is a broad field (an ever-expanding category) – you have a lot of options. Pick a few channels that you think make sense to begin with, and then dive in and see what works best for your brand.
How are you going to measure success on social media?
What does social recruiting success look like for your team? It could be a certain number of newly engaged candidates each week, a specific number of retweets, ‘likes’, or maybe even new followers.
You work towards KPIs when it comes to other areas of the recruiting process, so why shouldn’t your social recruiting efforts be measured in that same way?
3. Failing to monitor your brand
The world of social media can be a fickle friend. One minute it’s helping your team grow their employer brand and connect with new candidates, and the next a viral post (saying something negative) about your company is spreading like wildfire.
You’re making a huge social recruiting mistake if you don’t have an effective brand monitoring and community management strategy in place. It's important to know what people say about you when you’re not in the room!
The key value of monitoring isn’t damage control though, if you’re not keeping an eye on your online mentions, you’re also going to miss all of the good stuff that candidates say about you.
Anyone that is talking about your company online is a potential applicant. If you’re proactive and take the time to respond to their comments in an authentic way, you can look forward to an increase in applications from social media and improved brand perception.
Set up free or low-cost brand monitoring tools like Mention and Tweetdeck to track mentions of your brand, specific team members or hashtags that are relevant to your company, and make sure someone on your team is ready to respond.
Pro tip: Monitor Glassdoor
Most people are familiar with Glassdoor and it’s a very powerful tool for job seekers to gain insight into what it could be like to work for a potential employer from real voices. Glassdoor allows both employees and candidates to leave candid reviews on your company and your hiring process. The site lets you actively promote positive feedback, respond to comments and manage your brand effectively. It’s an essential part of every social recruiter’s toolkit.
If you aren’t monitoring Glassdoor already, an easy way to get started is to claim your company’s page so you can begin to control the way that you’re being perceived on the site and promote your brand in the most accurate (and hopefully positive) way.
4. Not having good content to share
We get it. Social recruiting can be pretty time-consuming, especially if you’re trying to balance it with your other recruiting responsibilities, so posting regular, high-quality content to your social channels can be one of the toughest challenges to overcome.
If you don’t have a strategy around the kind of content you should be sharing on social media, you might find that your social accounts slip into silence...
Posting the right content can help you engage a broad audience of relevant candidates and get real results from your social media efforts. Here are a few easy ways to get started:
It’s no secret that visual content is easier for people to consume than the written word. To take advantage of this, try sharing a mixture of infographics, photos of your team, and videos on your social accounts. Not everything that you share needs to be informational though, you can also try sharing lighthearted content like funny memes that will resonate with your target candidates.
And today, design resources are no excuse. Use a simple tool like Canva to create beautiful graphics in seconds and start sharing them with your audience.
Being open and sharing content that illustrates what day-to-day life at your company is really like can be hugely effective for generating interest in your organization and building relationships with candidates.
People love knowing that there are “real people” behind your social profiles, and by giving them a look into your employer brand you’re more likely to create genuine human interactions.
Think about the kinds of content that would appeal to the candidates you’re trying to attract, and share it from your social channels to build an engaged following of relevant talent.
Tools like Buffer help you create a “content inbox” and fill it with content from your favorite blogs and websites, making this very easy.
5. Focusing on quantity, not quality
Some brands use volume to try and stand out to candidates. They try to block out competitors in the feed and stay top of mind with the frequency of their social content.
This can work in some cases, but you’ll need a pretty extensive team that’s dedicated to producing original, authentic content to avoid being repetitive or lowering your standards. It’s far more effective to post less on social media, but focus on quality. You need to set a high bar for quality with all of your social recruiting efforts, otherwise, candidates are unlikely to follow your social accounts and engage with you online.
If you get this right, you’ll find that people start following and engaging with your brand organically over time.
Pro tip: Be interesting
For most candidates (and people in general), social media is an escape. Instead of buckling down at work, they’re browsing Facebook, double-tapping on Instagram or scrolling on Twitter.
You need to be engaging with your social recruiting efforts, or most candidates will just go back to watching funny videos of cats!
6. Not encouraging sharing
Social recruiting isn’t just about finding individual candidates, it’s about looking for ways to amplify your employer brand so you can attract even more qualified talent in the future.
Ideally, you want every piece of employer brand-related content that you post to social media to be shared and re-shared by your target audience. This will significantly increase your company’s organic reach, and introduce your content and your company to a brand new pool of candidates.
It’s impossible to force anything to go viral (ask any social media manager), but the best way to increase your chances is by getting into what we like to call a “share-first” mentality.
Before you post anything, ask yourself: “Is this something that I would recommend, comment on, read or share on social media?” If the answer is no, it might be worth taking your finger off the trigger and finding something better.
7. Not creating quality visuals
We’ve already quickly touched on the importance of visual content, but it’s so important that it deserves its own section.
Visuals and graphics are the second most important factor for success on social media right behind quality content. Visuals are 40x more likely to be shared on social media than other types of content.
There’s just one issue. Most people who work in the HR or talent acquisition spaces are usually not too familiar with image creation and design.
We’ve already mentioned Canva – a great tool to help you create original images. Don’t be afraid to dip your toe into the pool of visual content design. Tools like Canva are very user-friendly and they often have templates you can use to make creating amazing social media content even easier.
When you’re creating visual content, here are a few important considerations:
- Avoid overused stock images
- If you’re overlaying text follow best practices to ensure that your content is as accessible as possible
- Make sure you size images correctly for social sharing (here is great resource on this from Hootsuite)
- Make sure your images use your brand’s correct logos, fonts and color palettes
If they are used correctly, visuals can spice up job descriptions, highlight your company culture, engage candidates and promote your employer brand.
Now it’s up to you. How are you going to change the way you approach social recruiting to get better results?
Social recruiting is just one part of an engaging talent marketing strategy. The most sophisticated talent acquisition teams use AI-driven tools to provide more personalized candidate experiences at scale, and make their jobs easier.