How Social Recruiting Gives You an Advantage in a Tight Job Market

I was reminded a couple weeks ago when a recruiter sent me a couple weeks ago an email asking about how to reach job seekers on Twitter and if they thought I should host their own Twitter chat to better reach, engage and build relationships with candidates. The short answer is yes and it depends.

For many HR and recruiters, social media is new and unchartered territory. Heck for the Fortune 500 social in general is still completely new. It presents a unique opportunity to reach, engage and relate to the candidate before they consider applying for a job opening or joining your talent network to learn more about your company. The key words here are “learn about your company” not shout out one side job openings using social media channels. You have to actually get out there. Build relationships and do it ongoing. 


Increasing numbers of job seekers are looking to social media to learn more about your company and engage with recruiters. Recruiters have an opportunity to reach an untapped pool of candidates because let’s face it most employers are not engaging on social media for recruiting outside of LinkedIn Mails and automated RSS job feeds.

  • Sourcing – Companies can source using social media channels to find passive candidates before they have an opening or if they have to fill an immediate need. For me, social media is a human-powered Google search. In fact, I have a VP of HR friend who I’m helping with job referrals only through Facebook. She’s not actively looking for work by applying for jobs or using a headhunter in the traditional sense. Imagine the possibilities.
  • Reach – Social media is about increasing your reach and tapping into the powers of your network. Social media use in recruiting requires some faith. You have to go “all in.” It means you have to invest some time and parts of yourself to be effective. You have to give long before you begin to receive but once you do, the ROI is 20x what you were expecting.
  • Right Time Recruitment – Candidates are looking for work. It’s increasingly in the moment, spontaneous and via their mobile device. Recruiters need to use what I call “right time recruitment.” This means investing time in social media, sharing of resources and community building with the understanding that candidates will find you. The challenge is that right time recruitment involves you using a talent network versus just relying on job postings via your ATS to do your hiring.


There Are No Short Cuts in Social Recruiting & Hiring

Social recruiting works to your advantage only if you invest the time to build those relationships and just like a marriage, relationships are work. In this job market, you can’t just expect candidates to show up just because. With the present economic numbers, there are a lot of fish and employment suitors in the sea. If you do the work, they will come but it starts with putting in that sweat equity. There are no short cuts only best practices in any type of recruiting especially those of the social variety.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions


  1. Tom Hart says

    Social recruiting starts with having a strong brand presence across social media channels. Candidates are looking for this today. Any company that isn’t active in social media appears to be “behind the times.”


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