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Social Media Recruiting: 3 New Trends

Recruiting with social media is here to stay, at least for a while. Here’s why: Nine out of ten companies use some form of social media to attract, source and engage qualified talent. Out of that talent pool, more than half of all recruiters rated candidates found by social media job sourcing as “highest quality.”

With each Internet user having an average of 5.54 social media accounts, where is the best place to focus these social media recruiting efforts? To answer those questions, we uncovered these valuable social media recruiting trends.

Niche Networks like GitHub

A major criticism recruiters have for sites like LinkedIn is they are too general: A catch-all for all sorts of talent with restrictions on searches. It’s often best to go to where these small groups congregate, says Jonathan Kestenbaum, executive director of New York’s Talent Tech Labs. To find highly technical talent, for instance, he recommends turning to GitHub and other similar sites. GitHub is a social coding site that boasts a membership of over 8.9 million developers, programmers, engineers and techy-types, who contribute to around 20.8 million repositories of source code—and who are readily searchable for recruiters. Stack Overflow is similar to GitHub and can be a great place to source engineers.

Dribbble is another niche social network, often touted for its strong community of designers including web designers, graphic designers, illustrators, icon artists, typographers, logo designers, and other creative types.

“The site is an ideal showcase for design, which in turn allows recruiters to assess the talent of individual designers,” explains Dice’s Mark Feffer. “Hiring managers really care about designers’ portfolios and examples of their work, and Dribbble represents a great resource for collecting samples.”

Creative Hubs Like Instagram

Lest you think Instagram is only for the birds (or puppy, workout, food or fashion inspiration), take note: One in every three job seekers report finding a job through this social network. Instagram is particularly useful for recruiting creative talent, says Melody Richards, HR manager at Kindred Agency, who launched an Instagram portfolio to give creative marketing professionals the chance to learn more about their company and apply to join the growing team.

“Instagram is the perfect platform to hire through for us as there’s a huge amount of creative people making use of the platform in interesting and pioneering ways,” she reflects in an article for the international HR and people development organization CIPD. “You might be skeptical of its value as a recruitment tool, but it’s really working for us; we’ve had a flurry of CVs land in our inboxes since starting the campaign. Over the last weekend alone, we received applications…we’re going to take through to interview stage.”

Chatty Sites Like Reddit

You may already use the social site Reddit as your go-to for the latest HR trends or cat videos, but it’s a powerful social media recruiting tool as well. At the site, recruiters can join discussions and offer advice to the very same job seekers they want to recruit.

If you’re looking to recruit more boldly on Reddit, you may want to take a page from the Google Now playbook. This past summer, Google started using Reddit as a recruitment pool for Google voice volunteers to help the company improve its voice recognition engine for specific accents. Users began seeing gig listings appear in a number of subreddits (individual communities) in August.

Up-and-comers in the community discussion are gaining traction daily. One such site is Stack Overflow, a Q&A site where 4.7 million programmers dive deep into the challenges they’re facing.

“On GitHub, users primarily post and comment on code, whereas on Stack Overflow, they engage in detailed conversations about often-narrow aspects of technical challenges,” Feffer points out. “For recruiters, Stack Overflow represents an opportunity to get a sense of a candidate’s technical expertise, how they approach challenges, and their skill at communicating with others.”

Common Sites (Used in Uncommon Ways

You can also turn to the social sites you use each day, just not in a traditional sense. The folks at collaborative recruiting platform Lever recommend searching Amazon book reviews for promising candidates (look for Java programmers reviewing Java books, for example) or search for the profiles of those who attend relevant industry events. Next time you download an app at the Google Play store, experiment with finding top programmers there. Each app in the store includes an email usually belonging to the developer who built the app.

One Big Caveat

Utilizing all of these channels effectively and still have a recruiting problem? You may have stumbled upon the one big caveat: Your company culture.

“This doesn’t work if your culture sucks,” says Chris Ferdinandi, a human resource and social media professional at EMC Corporation (now Dell EMC). “If your organization isn’t a good place to work, employer branding [through social media] won’t make it one. Fix your culture first.”

Ask your top employers: What social media sites do you use? Have you seen competitors recruiting with social media in those spaces?  You may be surprised by their answers and inspired to get out there and socialize with better social media job sourcing.

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