#WorkingSocial for Idaho Businesses: Using Social Media to Recruit Employees

Social media has become an essential tool for businesses. Using social media can enhance employee recruitment, foster community engagement and even make for a more productive workplace. As an employer or manager, it’s important to know the rules and laws specific to social media use in recruiting and hiring as well as employee rights concerning social media use in the workplace. Here are some things to know before using social media to recruit employees:

Trends & Generational Use of Social Media. Understand how different age groups – the millennials, traditionalists, for example – understand and use social media. Followers are highly influenced by celebrities. Traditionalists are mainly baby boomers. They like sameness. Innovators are everyone’s target audience; they are attracted to differences and the “why” of a brand. The problem with many businesses is they go into social media with the mindset of traditionalists trying to be innovators and it’s obvious and uninteresting. Businesses need to use social media to attract the innovators by expressing the meaning or the “why” of their brand.

Choose Your Platform with Job Seekers in Mind. Savvy job seekers keep up on new employment opportunities by following companies and brands they want to work for through the social networks where they already spend a lot of time. Decide which are the most effective at reaching the employees and skill sets you seek. Use the platforms that make the most sense – whether it’s a company blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vine, Pinterest  or Tumblr – to tell stories and connect with your audience.

Know What Social Media Means for Your Brand. Social media is an amplifier of your company culture. Before you post or repost anything, ask yourself, “Is this really something we want attached to our company brand?”

Content is Key When Attracting Employees. Develop a social media editorial calendar for creating and scheduling posts and content. Tie your content to planned events or holidays and don’t forget to feature posts about your company’s successes, culture, work ethic and core values. Show you have a human side. Tell stories. Be interesting, interested, consistent and authentic. Feature your employees talking about their expertise.

Change Up that Company Photo. Make sure your content or posts include photos that reflect your company in a fun, positive and professional manner. Statistics show posts with interesting, quality images have higher response rates than those with text only. Change out your company photos at least once a month or quarterly.

Join or Create Talent Communities. LinkedIn talent communities are managed by recruiters and/or hiring managers and are a great way to find employees with specific skill sets. Oftentimes these groups include prospective candidates, past applicants or current and past employees. These two-way social media environments or networks rely on a collection of people involved in the job seeking process, whether it’s employees looking for a job themselves, recruiting professionals searching for employees, co-workers offering relevant industry career advice to others or simply friends seeking jobs. Employers interact and communicate with prospective employees and inform candidates about employment opportunities, receive referrals and handpick qualified individuals from inside the group. Join groups that feature skill sets inherent in your industry, like those for welders, engineers or accountants.

Monitor & Engage. Social media management tools like Hootsuite, TweetDeck and others are good for more than just scheduling posts and curating content. Use these tools to listen to and engage with your customers. Monitor what’s being said about your company online, including comments and feedback. Respond to questions. Address complaints and comments. Show appreciation for helpful posts, even if it’s by someone else on another site. Contribute an answer when a question is relevant to your company.

Posting a New Job Listing? Take a Second Look. That’s right. Job candidates notice your misspellings, typos and grammatical errors and aren’t likely to respond to boring and impersonal job descriptions. Start out by describing the specific personality traits you’re looking for, then list the skill sets you seek and job requirements. Wrap it up by talking about what makes your company a fun place to work and don’t forget to mention salary, even if it is a range or “depends on experience.” Make sure to draw in the right candidate who will feel comfortable in your company culture. And finally, don’t forget to check those keywords. Your best chance to have your job posting appear in search results is to integrate keyword phrases. Select terms to use throughout the copy to increase the relevance of the page. Make your keywords specific, not general and when including titles, use both the full title and any associated acronyms.

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Information for this article was compiled from multiple sources, including Idaho Department of Labor workshops on using social media to look for work with speakers Lisa McGrath, new media attorney, and Justin Foster, social media business consultant.

Follow @IdahoLabor on Twitter or like the Idaho Department of Labor on Facebook. You also can join the agency’s LinkedIn group.