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PHOTO: Createherstock // Adair Park Neosha Gardner

Unemployment rates are at an all-time low and qualified talent is at a premium. In the world of recruiting, we call this a candidate-driven market. In a candidate-driven market, recruiters and hiring managers need to leverage every tool to find, vet, attract and recruit qualified candidates — before someone else does.

A 2017 CareerBuilder survey found 70 percent of employers now use social media to screen potential hires. But now more than ever, companies are also using social media as a proactive recruiting tool. From finding and connecting with the right people, to showcasing their company and its roles, social media is an increasingly critical tactic for engaging with talent.

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Social Media Provides the Bigger Picture

Regardless of position or industry, social media should be part of the recruiting process. Once an introduction is made, it’s often the next step both the recruiter and potential candidate takes. A recruiter may find a candidate on LinkedIn, but they’ll want to do some digging through other social media channels to help put a face to the name and paint a picture of the candidate beyond his or her employment history. 

On the flip side, job seekers should scan a company’s social media channels to understand the culture and get some initial thoughts about fit before going through the application process. In both cases, social media provides a holistic view.

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Get to Know Your Candidates

As part of getting that bigger picture, it’s important to know your audience and what social media channels your candidates regularly use. Those will be the most advantageous to your search. If you’ve nailed down a handful of candidates in a creative field such as graphic design or photography, take a deep dive into their Instagram and Facebook to see more of their work. Alternatively, if your candidates are in fields like finance or IT, you may find the most relevant information on LinkedIn.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

In addition to using social media for active recruiting, it can also help attract talent. Your social media channels — from LinkedIn and Facebook to Instagram and Twitter — can highlight what makes your company a great place to work. Does the company throw a summer barbecue, volunteer at a local non-profit, win industry awards? Share these on your channels and post photos when you can. You never know if one of your followers is looking for a new job. The more you can demonstrate that yours is a place employees want to work, the better your chances of piquing the interest of talented candidates.

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Look For New Tools

The social media landscape is always evolving, so it’s important for recruiters to stay on top of new features that make their jobs easier. A great example is the launch of LinkedIn’s Open Candidates feature, which allows job seekers to privately signal they’re open to new opportunities. Without a finger on the pulse of what’s new in social, your competitors are likely to find and hire a candidate before you even knew they were looking.

Work Your Own Networks

Companies offer referral bonuses for a reason. Recruiters and hiring managers often tap current employees for candidate referrals before trying other outreach, so it only makes sense to work your own networks as well. Your personal social media channels are filled with family, friends and acquaintances, which make them great places to source candidates who come recommended by someone you know. Post positions to your own channels, and you’ll be surprised by the number of people in your network who are open to new opportunities.

In such a competitive job market, recruiters and hiring managers need to evaluate their current recruiting practices and figure out where social media can enhance their current strategies. In order to find the best candidates, it’s important to stop using social media as just another job listing platform and start thinking about it as a specialized tool that helps identify, vet, attract and secure talent quickly and effectively.