‘Social recruiting’, the practice of utilising social media to attract key candidates, is rapidly increasing in both popularity and value. As younger candidates with high levels of digital fluency begin to dominate the workforce, bolstering your corporate social media presence has never been more important.

Using social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter today to find jobs is just as common for job seekers as searching Indeed. For companies looking to boost their candidate pools, a strong social media strategy is emerging as a cost effective and highly valuable method of recruiting today for this reason.

With in-person networking increasingly a thing of the past, job seekers today are much more likely to use social media to research and pursue their future employers. According to findings by iCIMS, posting job listings on social media can increase candidate applications by 30 to 50 percent. With the right strategy, social recruiting could yield wider and more targeted candidate pools for hiring teams.

Current social recruiting trends to be watched

The significant rise in applicants via social and professional networks affirms the established theory that recruitment is becoming more like consumer decision making. There are a few different reasons for this shift, in the most part due to the increase in millennial and Gen Z workers entering the workforce. In fact, millennials and Gen Z will make up 75 per cent of the workforce by 2025 according to Deloitte. This is the generation that not only adopted social media but use it as their primary source of information and communication, resulting in the natural progression to utilising these avenues when applying for positions with companies.

Additionally, this is the generation of individuals who look for more than just a paycheck. They want to work for a company that aligns with their values and offers benefits to not only progress them professionally, but also personally. Social and professional networks are where they can now go to research companies and select the organisations that match what they are looking for.

We have seen a sharp rise in the number of CVs received by both LinkedIn and Facebook so far this year. In a recent hiring data report we carried out, we found a 1,475 per cent and 7,267 per cent increase in CVs received respectively from these channels. We integrated our platform with Facebook Jobs back in March, one of the few to do so in Ireland and the UK, which led to an immediate rise in applications received via the site, demonstrating the growing value of using these channels to recruit.

Trends can be further identified in different industries using LinkedIn and Facebook for recruitment. For example, we have seen that healthcare and facilities management roles received a large influx of CVs via Facebook. This year alone, almost 3,500 CVs for healthcare positions have been received and over 1,000 for facilities management roles. Through LinkedIn, however, candidates are more likely to be applying for roles in technology, finance, and marketing.

Effective employer branding

The value of social media for companies is being able to demonstrate your brand, your messaging and your values, not only to buyers but to prospective candidates. The purpose should not be about just posting jobs, it should be to attract and engage individuals and ultimately influence their decision to choose you over a competitor. This is achieved through effective employer branding.

The principles of achieving an effective employer brand are the same as the principles to attracting consumers, by creating highly engaging, authentic and relevant content. To do this, you must first know who your target audience is. This can be established by creating candidate personas. Candidate personas look at commonalities in demographics, interests, qualifications etc. Once you know this information you can create relevant content and select the avenues that work best for you to ensure you are getting in front of the right audience, with the right message. For example, where LinkedIn might be ideal for higher-level positions, Instagram might be better for millennials and Snapchat for younger or part-time positions.

The biggest advantage of social and professional networks is the number of measurable touchpoints from these channels that will ultimately drive your content strategy, who you target audience and the avenues you use. Click-through rate, post engagement and campaign results are crucial to help you gain insight into what is working and what is not and this information will feed into a company’s strategy demonstrating where improvements can be made and where more attention and budget should be invested.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

With the increase of furloughed staff and more individuals using social media on a daily basis whilst remote working, companies have an opportunity to attract active and passive candidates through authentic brand awareness. If done well, using social media to demonstrate an employer brand gives businesses anopportunity to win top talent from competitors, without any large expense.

The pandemic has pushed many companies to reframe how they recruit, and many are finding that restrategising with social recruiting in mind bears many advantages from candidate targeting to cost benefits. The long-term result could be a much more strategic approach for less cost.

Responding to a new set of employee expectations

COVID-19 has resulted in a more ‘people-first’ focus for companies. The pandemic has created an immediate need for businesses to implement programmes to deal with the shift in working from home, remote employee engagement, increased well-being needs and the necessity of learning & development.

This has also created an opportunity for businesses to promote these programmes and their efforts on social media, as this is what will help companies to stand apart from their competitors. These programmes are what individuals want, and importantly, need from an employer now more than ever, and if a company is actively investing in people-focused programmes, they will ultimately attract more engaged and qualified candidates.

Promoting your company in the right light and spotlighting how it is catering to its employees during challenging times is key to maintaining the optimal social media presence which is needed for attracting and retaining prospective employees.