Five of the biggest mistakes made when using social media for recruitment

This is a guest blog by Tony Restell. He is the founder of, a social media agency that helps candidates and recruiters leverage social media to reach out and recruit top talent. 

Using social media for business and, more specifically, recruitment, is not new. In fact, the recruitment industry was one of the first to really grasp the power of social media for achieving business goals, knowing that the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and beyond is where their target market of jobseekers hang out. 

Consistently and cost-effectively (that is the return on both your time and money) attracting the best talent through social media is not as easy as some HR departments and recruitment agencies might think though. The best results can only be achieved with the right amount of commitment and a well thought through strategy. 

Mistakes are still being made in social recruiting and here we share 5 of the most costly: 

 1. Nobody likes and trusts you

If it’s simply a case of creating social media profiles, inviting friends to like or follow you and mundanely posting links to job vacancies, then your social recruiting attempts will glean very poor results. 

People are most likely to engage with brands and personalities that have a strong social presence and that they have come to know and respect over time. Improving your recruitment or business brand on social media involves earning trust through sharing relevant and valuable content – and through engaging with people and showing you care. Only then will you be able to attract a larger following of potential talent who will engage and share your content, increasing your overall reach. 

A great strategy to adopt here is to engage with influencers who already have sizeable audiences that you can take advantage of by encouraging them to like and share your social posts. But this takes time – the polar opposite of the “results-today” mentality that is so pervasive within recruitment.

2. You work off a social post template 

Time and time again (and this is mainly the case for agencies over in-house recruitment departments), recruitment posts start with the same message: ‘Hi All, I’m currently recruiting for this position. Please click on the job title below to view the Job Description and apply to it!’ Far from compelling – and unlikely to prompt a flood of shares – wouldn’t you agree? Even the exclamation mark didn’t excite us. Instead, think about what your ideal candidate would be excited about. Could the role you’re referring to in fact be ‘The greatest opportunity for a junior graphic designer to truly express their love for creativity and enter a promotion programme with a young and dynamic B2C agency’?

3. You don’t know who you’re talking to and when

 Not every job will be suitable for every social media user that you could potentially get in front of, and so it follows that you don’t want to frustrate your network by constantly posting irrelevant vacancies. 

Some serious consideration needs to be given to who you are trying to appeal to and where you’ll find them. You’ll know from personal experience that the reasons you use certain social media profiles and the posts you share differ from one platform to the next. Maybe Facebook and Pinterest are used personally while Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are used for business and professional development. The truth is, this will vary by both country and industry – so be wary of generalisations. It also stands to reason that different types of people will likely be using different social media platforms at varying times throughout the day. 

This is not to say you can’t post the same vacancy on all social media sites, but think carefully about the wording and timing of the post and whether your intended audience is actively looking for a new role or receptive to a little bit of interruption marketing in their feed. Indeed, consider whether posting a series of job listings is even the best way of filling your roles full stop?

 4. You’re not using targeted social media advertising

Social media platforms have some of the most intelligent targeting tools available, which recruiters and employers are failing to exploit. With even a small budget, you can appear in the news feeds of the right people who didn’t even know you or your job existed. 

Highly targeted social media advertising can significantly increase the number of quality and relevant applications you receive while improving social presence and brand awareness at the same time. 

If you’re under pressure to make a successful candidate placement for a high calibre client, then it’s certainly worth targeting the best talent and you can do this by location, job title, interests, sector, current employer and much more. Or why not run a campaign to encourage an influx of CV submissions to improve the quality of your candidate database?

 5. You’re waiting for a knock at the door

One of the biggest problems that businesses and recruiters have is that the perfect employees usually have jobs already and aren’t actively looking for new ones. 

Proactively researching, sourcing and approaching candidates directly on social media can be extremely effective. Not only will the recipients potentially be flattered, but you can strike up meaningful conversations quite quickly – provided your approach is right.

LinkedIn is perfect for this type of social recruiting, but don’t limit yourself to just this site. Invest time understanding the workings of other social sites and you will find a raft of opportunities for approaching and engaging with your ideal candidate audience. 

Make social recruiting a key focus. Sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? Maybe even a full-time job. 

Well, in all likelihood that’s the reality – and a lack of realism about the time and resource needed to do this well is one of the biggest reasons companies get disappointing results from their social media recruiting strategy. But luckily there are tools and systems available, such as Zoho Recruit, which can make easy work of tracking candidate progress while integrating with your social media accounts.

Whilst external social media experts can be hired in to supplement both the skills and the resources shortages that might otherwise hold you back. So don’t let either a lack of skills or the right tools be an excuse for you getting inferior recruiting results on social media.


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