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Job Recruiting Socially: Are You Doing It Right?

SXSW Interactive will kick off in just a few short days, which means an influx of digital mavens, web geeks, coding ninjas and job recruiters will descend upon Austin to network and learn. Job recruiters?  It’s true: Now is the time of year in which tech recruiters from all over the country come to town to whisk homegrown and visiting talent away.  So we’re taking this opportunity to look at how many tech recruiters and other professional headhunters are using social—both online and off—to get ahead, while others are falling behind.

Social network recruiting trends

For social recruiting online, Jobvite’s Annual Social Recruiting Survey offers a peek at how job recruiters are ramping up. Here are the highlights:


  • Nine out of 10 job recruiters in the U.S. use, or plan to use, social networks to support their recruiting efforts this year.
  • Recruiters plan to increase investment in social recruiting by 73 percent this year.
  • While 83 percent of job seekers flock to Facebook, LinkedIn remains a recruiters’ top social network at a rate of 94 percent (LinkedIn) versus 66 percent (Facebook).
  • Nearly 70 percent of recruiters consider their social recruiting skills to be proficient or expert level.
  • A majority (two-thirds) of recruiters spend at least some money on social recruiting each month.
  • For those who are implementing social recruiting, 44 percent report the quality and quantity of candidates have both improved. About one-third also report a shortened time-to-hire and increase in employee referrals.
  • More than half of recruiters have reconsidered a job candidate based on their social profile (up 13 percent from 2013).
  • The primary type of social post that has caused recruiters to take job candidates out of the running is an illegal drug reference followed by sexual posts, profanity and spelling/grammar mistakes.

In short, it appears recruiting through social media can really pay off. And those doing so are becoming very good at it. If you see yourself falling behind, it may become increasingly harder to catch up.

“If you’re going to do social media, you need to get it right or not do it at all. Uninformed content and inappropriate interactions can do more damage than not engaging in the first place,” advises Austin-based interactive media strategist Joey McGirr, CEO, McGirr Enterprises.

“Companies will need to become more and more strategic and deliberate in their social media efforts in 2015,” writes Melissa Murray Bailey, employer branding strategist and president – Americas for Universum. “Job content is not ‘thumb-stopping.’ Your content needs to be real, authentic, data-led, and purposeful.”

Face-to-face recruiting trends

Many digital consultants tell their clients to network on social media like it’s one big cocktail party. So, wouldn’t it be better to just go to an actual cocktail party? The answer is: Yes and no. While social media has created great efficiencies like the ones mentioned above, nothing builds relationships faster than face-to-face interactions.

Take a look at these statistics, complied by

  • Face-to-face conversations tend to be more positive, and perceived as more credible than online conversations.
  • When it comes to nonverbal cues, inflection has a 38 percent impact and facial expressions have a more than 55 percent impact. Both are lost when communicating online, which can have a negative effect on sincerity.
  • Face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships.

Supplementing social with traditional face-to-face recruiting can, quite simply, get you further faster. And, in this job market, that’s essential. Take a tech recruiter’s current quandary, for example.

“Unemployment for software developers/engineers is just shy of half the total national unemployment rate,” writes Shravan Goli, president of Dice. “Hiring managers need to move quickly when they find a potential fit for this position.”

Rest assured, face-to-face recruiting doesn’t need to take the form of handing out business cards and flashing a killer smile. Companies like Bigcommerce are revolutionizing the way job candidates are recruited offline with projects like speed-recruiting events (an offshoot of speed dating). For Bigcommerce, it all started with an idea to physically get in front of dozens of Silicon Valley Google, Facebook and eBay employees by serving them coffee and “poached” eggs while they wait for their morning commuter buses to work. How did the effort fair?

“The eve of the first day of our recruiting campaign, we saw a 150 percent increase in applications…In the days following the campaign, we made offers to 13 San Francisco employees. Ten accepted,” posted Bigcommerce Chief Product Officer West Stringfellow, who alluded to the company’s offline and online recruiting efforts working in harmony in this particular instance. “During the week of the event, 94 percent of visitors to the website from the Bay Area were new to the site. Overall, we received more than 5,000 social shares that created a total of 30 million potential views across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.”

So as professional headhunters, hit the web and, likewise, the pavement this spring. The great divide between who is mastering social recruiting and who has not will widen. Which side of the gap are you on?


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