Social Recruiting: The New Trend to Replace Job Boards?

by in Digital, Recruitment Marketing, Social Media

Defining Social Recruiting

Social media is currently one of the largest markets. With over 3.196 billion users worldwide (We Are Social, 2018 Digital Report), it makes sense as to why businesses are jumping on the bandwagon and integrating this latest digital trend into their company strategies. One industry that is definitely making use of social media is recruitment. The term “social recruiting”, which simply refers to the recruitment of candidates through social media, has now become a buzzword and an essential tool in the field. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter enable employers to source and recruit talent, advertise vacancies and showcase their company brand. According to Undercover Recruiter, 56% of companies were recruiting via social media in 2011, and this number rose to 84% in 2016. Two years later, and the rate has risen even further – a whopping 92% of recruiters are now using social platforms to find and attract candidates (Agency Central), Wave being included. Social media is no longer just for personal use, as professionals are also tapping into, and making use of it.

4 Companies Successfully using Social Media to Recruit Candidates

1. UPS and Twitter

In 2005, UPS decided to change their headhunting strategy and switch to recruiting candidates online, and it appears that, since then, they have never looked back. Bagging a seat amongst the Top 50 Recruiters on Twitter, the company is considered one of the best in the business when it comes to social recruiting. By posting daily questions, discussion topics and videos about company culture and vacancies, UPS make an effort to thoroughly engage with their followers (potential candidates). The company even use hashtags. Phrases like “FutureYou” are hashed and implemented into their ads; they act as searchable keywords that are tagged to the UPS profile and their available job roles.

2. Disney and Facebook

Disney’s intern-specific Facebook page is known for using creative, eye-grabbing visuals to display
career opportunities. They also post and share fun “life at the Disney office” videos that showcase what it’s like to be an intern at the entertainment brand.

3. EY and Instagram

Career-based social media accounts are a common trend among many companies, and EY is no exception. The company’s Instagram profile combines images that display their company culture and current job/apprenticeship vacancies with graphics that promote competitions for their followers to get involved in. EY strike a balance between work and play.

4. McDonalds and Snapchat

Summer 2017 saw McDonald’s use Snapchat to advertise their open positions. The social recruiting strategy was specifically aimed at millennials and enabled candidates to apply by making a 10-second video that explained why they thought they were suitable for the job.

The Top Social Recruiting Platforms


Although some believe that LinkedIn is not a social media platform because it exists as an online space solely for business and professional networking – social platforms were originally designed for users to interact with their family and friends – it is still classed by many as one of the world’s top social recruiting platforms. In 2015, The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) carried out a study on Using Social Media in Recruitment, in which they surveyed recruiters: 96% of recruiters said that LinkedIn was their preferred network to source talent.

How to use it as a social recruiting tool:
Considered a “professional network” in comparison to other competitors like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is, to some extent, the best platform to use for social recruitment. Since the site is dedicated to business and employment, the Job Poster tool acts as a key feature for recruiters. All posted job ads can be searched by job seekers through the LinkedIn network and are often recommended to potential candidates according to the career areas they have expressed they are interested in on their profiles.

The cost to advertise vacancies: LinkedIn works on a pay-per-click (PPC) system. This means that every time a candidate clicks on the job ad, a recruiter is required to pay a certain fee.

Other Features: Recruiters can also search for the “perfect candidate” and direct message them via LinkedIn’s InMail feature. There is also the chance for recruiters to join groups that are associated with the type of candidate they are trying to find. For example, if a recruiter is looking for an Accounts Manager, they can find an affiliated group on LinkedIn.


Despite LinkedIn being the favourite social platform among recruiters, job seekers seem to prefer Facebook. 83% of job seekers are active on Facebook as opposed to 36% on LinkedIn (Workable 2017).

How to use it as a social recruiting tool:
Facebook Pages are vital in the social recruiting process. The pages are classed as a form of organic social media advertising, as they are essentially free marketing resources: the feature enables recruiters to post and share information about their company and any job offers to the public. The new Jobs Tab feature also makes the process of promoting and viewing jobs even easier. The tab is located on the front of the Facebook Page and allows recruiters to track applications and communicate with interested candidates.

Facebook Ads are also popular with recruiters. Recruiters can advertise jobs for free, but if recruiters want their ads to reach a wide audience, they can also pay for them to be “boosted”.

Last but not least is Facebook’s built-in search engine Graph Search. The feature allows recruiters to search for candidates according to city, education and even the languages they speak.

Other Features: With Facebook, Live recruiters can now interact with potential candidates in real-time via live chats and videos.


Unlike LinkedIn and Facebook, Twitter does not have a specific feature dedicated to a job posting or advertising. More of a blog, but on a micro scale, the platform allows recruiters to advertise jobs in the form of tweets, which have a limit of 140 characters.

How to use it as a social recruiting tool:
Tweets are the prime way for recruiters to engage with potential candidates. The feature enables recruiters to freely write copy, post images or funny gifs and set-up polls. There is even a Live feature like Facebook and a direct messaging service like LinkedIn.

As previously mentioned, hashtags are a key part of Twitter, and if used correctly, can benefit the recruiting process. Here is an example of how we have used this feature in the past: “Wave is hiring! Could you be the next team member? We’re looking for someone with commercial awareness, drive, ambition and a team-player attitude. Apply now! #AccountManager #Job #UK”

Other Features: Twitter’s Advanced Search feature is a little more limited than LinkedIn’s and Facebook’s but is still used in the social recruiting process. Recruiters can search for candidates according to location and the hashtags they have used.

How does Social Recruiting Compare to Job Board Advertising?

Pros of Social Recruiting:

– Social recruiting enables recruiters to reach a wider audience, one that goes beyond those on job boards. There are some people, particularly Millennials and Generation Z, that you can find and recruit on social media that you cannot find on a job board.
– Social media is great for targeting passive candidates.
– In comparison to job boards, social recruiting, for the most part (LinkedIn being the exception), does not come at a cost. This potentially means recruiters will obtain a better return on investment (ROI); for social recruiting, time and effort, not money can be invested to work effectively.

Cons of Social Recruiting:

– Social media platforms tend to have a weaker search interface than job boards. Although LinkedIn’s search engine is solid and perhaps one of the best out of all the other available networks, it still does not compare well to the search interfaces and CV databases of job boards.
– Just as there are some people that you can find and recruit on social media that you cannot find on a job board, the same can be said visa versa. Not everyone is on social media.
– Not everyone advertises aspects of their employment on their personal social media profiles (i.e. Facebook and Twitter), so it can be harder for recruiters to source talent.

Pros of Job Boards:

– In comparison to social media users, those who sign up for job boards have done so with the intention to display their work experience, employment history, skills etc. because these sites were made for the purpose of headhunting.
– Job boards are great for targeting active candidates.
– Although they come at a cost, using job boards can give you a substantial ROI if used effectively. As long as recruiters take care when writing up the copy for their job ads, they are likely to receive good results.

Cons of Job Boards:

– Recruiters cannot direct message candidates on job boards. It is social recruiting that opens up employer-candidate communication.
– Job boards are not great for targeting passive candidates.
– Job boards tend to have a high amount of job seekers registered to their sites, and this means that when recruiters post a job, they could receive a lot of unwanted applications.

Conclusion: Recruiters should make full use of both social media and job boards in their recruiting strategies, as the two techniques, in terms of their pros and cons, seem to balance each other out. Social recruiting, although evidently beneficial for recruiters, should only be used as part of the recruitment process.