The Age of Always-Looking Candidates and the Role of Social
So many people are searching for jobs today that recruiters are questioning the term “passive candidate.” The internet, new technologies and forms of communication, and a plethora of job-related content have all made candidates active to some degree.
Some job seekers sign up for job alerts, but only review them occasionally. Others keep an eye on “best places to work” lists, or even follow prospective employers on social media. There are so many ways to find and come in contact with job opportunities now that it’s hard to describe most candidates as truly passive.
Luckily for recruiters, this also means there are more opportunities than ever to connect with candidates. Social media is an especially useful tool to engage with less-than-passive job seekers. In this post we’ll discuss how recruiters can leverage social media platforms and build better connections with candidates.
Job Seekers and Social Media Today
The first thing recruiters need to know is where candidates are online. LinkedIn is above and beyond the most popular social networking tool for professionals and job seekers. The site has over 124 million users based in the U.S. alone, and more than 400 million worldwide.
But candidates are active on far more channels than just LinkedIn. Statista estimates that 78% of Americans have at least one social media profile as of this year, and Facebook accounted for nearly half of all social media site visits in the month of February. YouTube was a distant second with 21.8% of site visits, followed by Reddit (5.3%), and Twitter (5%). LinkedIn came in 7th with 1.5% of monthly site visits.
Before You Start Tweeting and Posting
It’s important to understand candidate personas–who the average candidate is, and where they find their information online. We know social media is popular in the U.S., and we have a general idea of which sites are most commonly used, but recruiters should break down the numbers further to better understand individual candidates.
The Pew Research Center found that 72% of men and 76% of women use social media sites, percentages which seem to grow constantly. Usage is highest among 18 to 49 year olds, and begins to drop among those age 50+. Education and income levels only accounted for minor differences in social media use among adults.
Besides total users, Facebook can also boast the highest engagement as measured by daily and weekly activity.
Recruiters also need to pay attention to the ways candidates use social media, as logging in and scrolling through your feed once in a while is not the same as sharing content and commenting on others’ activity. Statista estimates that Facebook users share over 684,000 pieces of content per minute. Pictures and images are typically the most-shared types of content, but opinions, status updates, links to articles, personal recommendations and links to other websites also rank highly.
Connecting with Candidates on Social Media
To make the most of social media platforms as recruiting tools, LinkedIn created a helpful guide to creating and distributing content as an employer:
LinkedIn: Content on the social professional network should showcase your organization (and yourself) as a top brand for talent. Posts that provide more context about your industry and your company’s leadership will help. Consider videos, quotes, and blog posts by thought leaders that will set your brand apart as a desirable place to work. Peak activity on the site matches with rush hour–7 to 9a.m. and 5 to 6p.m. Shoot for two to three updates per week, working up to one per day.
Facebook: This is where recruiters can get a bit more chatty and informal, posting photos from office parties or team-building exercises. Emphasize visual content above all else, especially relevant infographics and videos. Peak usage on Facebook ranges from 6 to 8a.m. and 1 to 4p.m. As with LinkedIn, try to post two to three times per week, eventually hitting one update each day.
Twitter: This platform is ideal for news about your organization and broader news about your industry. Many of your current employees may already be on the site, and they can help attract new job applicants by sharing your open positions to their network. Pay attention to what’s trending on the site as a whole. Most activity on Twitter occurs between 1 to 3p.m., and you should get comfortable posting several times per day.
YouTube: Show candidates what your organization is like behind the scenes with short, engaging videos. But don’t go this route if you can’t consistently produce high-quality videos. Many users are active between 12 to 1p.m., and considering the resources necessary, it’s best to post two videos per month (if at all).
Instagram: Slick photos and motivational quotes spread rapidly on this social network. Instagram has limited functionality for click-throughs, so it’s best viewed as a way to raise awareness of your employer brand. Activity peaks throughout the day, and recruiters should be posting two to three times each week.
Google+: Google’s social media site is ideal for STEM-related content like articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, even academic research. Recruiters in search of more tech-oriented candidates should include Google+ in their social media strategy. Peak usage occurs between 9 to 11a.m., and just a few post per week will help establish your presence among its tech-savvy users.
Build Your Connections Over Time
Once you and your team have established a social media strategy, be patient. Trying to connect with, or be friends with, every possible candidate can come off as too aggressive if you move too fast. Social networks evolve organically, and it’s important for recruiters to build up their own presence online to establish trust and demonstrate consistency.
Ideally, prospective candidates will take notice of a status update or a link to an infographic, and will take a closer look at your brand on social media. As you make more connections, start reaching out with more targeted posts, even direct messages if you have a specific opening a candidate might be interested in. Over time, your social media connections will follow your brand more closely, even opting in to job alerts or joining your talent network. Then they won’t seem so passive after all.