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How to build a talent pool using social media

Written by Kimberley Startup | October 17, 2011 | 0 Comments

You’ve set yourself up on LinkedIn, got your company on Twitter and are contemplating whether or not to use Facebook. Your followers are going up, and the comments are appearing on your blog.

So how can use this activity to find potential recruits?

With unemployment increasing, many businesses are still finding it hard to recruit candidates with the right skills and experience.

Yes, in most cases, they are still getting the volume in, but finding applicants with the required skill sets for future vacancies is proving difficult.

And that’s where social media can help.

Some businesses are still cautious when it comes to Facebook et al’s ability to deliver results; however, it’s these companies that may not be realising its long-term value, especially when it comes to hiring.

A good online recruitment campaign will always target both active and passive candidates. Active candidates are those you find by using resources such as job boards or the jobs tab on LinkedIn.  Passive candidates, however, is where it gets slightly trickier.

If you’re still considering social media, or in fact dabbling in it but not seeing a return, here are a few tips to start engaging with the passive pool of job seekers:

Who are you trying to target?

A .net developer has a different skill set to a customer service manager. Likewise, a sales executive will use different resources than a marketing director.  So when building a talent pipeline, think about segmenting your social media activity like you would your client base.

One way you can do this is by using the ‘List’ functionality on Twitter. By reading your followers’ bio, or reading what type of tweets they share, you can segment these potential candidates in areas of specialism.

Another way is using your blog. It is assumed that you will have put your blog strategy in place – you know when and how frequently it is published – but you could enlist the help of your existing staff to build up a strong reputation for being a thought leader.

Ask a member of each department – IT, HR, marketing – to write a blog to engage with people of that specialism. And always remember to respond to blog comments (good or bad) to really find out if those who comment know their stuff.


Posting your latest vacancy on Twitter once won’t get you far. Think about the bigger picture: how many people do your followers subscribe to? Will your only tweet get lost in their newsfeed?

Think about #hashtags – what words/terms is your ideal candidate using on Twitter?  You can research this in a number of ways. Find out what #tags are being used in the .NET community, for example. Or use a social media monitoring platform like Hootsuite (the basic account is free) to keep an eye on trending topics or test your own #tag.

Integrate, integrate, integrate

Not everyone is signed up to every social media account. Actually, not everyone has a Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn account. So start using integrated media to get your message out.

One way you can do this is set up an Auto-Respond on your Twitter account. Once someone starts following you, you can set up an auto-respond message thanking them. Use this message to direct them to your corporate blog or careers page. They may not be looking for a job at present, but it will keep them aware.

Likewise, if you create a poll on LinkedIn, make sure to share it on your Facebook page. Or, if you’re really proud of your latest blog, share it using bookmarking sites such as Digg or StumbleUpon.

So what do you think? Are you currently using social media, but struggling to see the return? Perhaps you’ve had a success story using some of the tips above? Please share your comments below.

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