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How to Use Social Media to Find Job Candidates

Are you searching for job candidates the old-fashioned way—by placing want ads on newspaper or job search websites? That’s all well and good, but you can boost your chances of finding the perfect hire by expanding your job candidate outreach to include social media.

Social media is a natural way to search for job candidates, and has some great benefits. First, if you get recommendations for job candidates from people you know, the candidates are already vetted because there’s a connection. People are unlikely to recommend someone they don’t know well or have reservations about, meaning you’re getting a better quality of candidates from the get-go. Second, social media enables you to personalize your outreach for job candidates more specifically than you can on a big job search site. And third, social media enables you to dig around for more insights about candidates using that person’s and your overlapping connections.

So how can you get started looking for candidates on social media? LinkedIn is a natural place to begin, since this site’s focus is on employment. You can post job openings on LinkedIn (there is a cost), or use LinkedIn Premium’s TalentFinder tool to network. But you don’t need to use these tools if you don’t want to—simply updating your status to tell your network of contacts about jobs in your company is a great way to get the word out. You can also contact individual LinkedIn contacts directly to see if they know anyone who might be suited for the job you’re trying to fill, and ask them to spread the word to their contacts. Last but not least, you can see who the people are that are most active in your network or the LinkedIn Groups in your industry. This is a good way to find talented workers who may not be actively job-seeking, but might be open to a job change if you contact them about your job opening.

While LinkedIn is a great way to go for professional jobs, if you’re looking to hire less skilled positions such as wait staff for your restaurant or clerks for your retail store, Facebook and Twitter are both useful options. Of course, you should post or tweet links to your website (where you have your job listing and information about how to apply), but also increase interest by using Facebook and Twitter to share more information about the kind of people who work for you, and what it’s like to work at your business. You could post:

  • Short video clips of you talking about the job and what you’re looking for
  • Photos or videos of the people the new employee would be working with
  • Video of your employees in action (such as cheerfully serving customers during the lunch rush)
  • Fun, behind-the-scenes stuff like photos from your annual company picnic, holiday party or karaoke contests

The goal is to make your company a fun, exciting place where people want to work—and by doing so, to attract people who will be a good fit for your company culture.

One thing that’s crucial to keep in mind when using social media to find job candidates: If you do visit a candidate’s social media accounts, it’s important to only take into account information that relates to how well they could do the job. Using information on their social media accounts (such as race, marital status, health issues, or whether someone has children or is pregnant) as a reason not to hire them could get you in hot water for discriminatory hiring. If you have any doubts about this area, it’s best to check with an attorney.

Image by Flickr user Coletivo Mambembe (Creative Commons)


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