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Utilizing Social Media Recruiting to Attract Talent

The reality is that most communication today happens online. The digital age has revolutionized the process of attracting and hiring talent. Today’s recruiters can utilize web searches and social media to access an enormous amount of information about potential candidates before they even apply for the job. A recent Adweek survey showed that over 90% of companies are now using social media for hiring purposes.

Job hunting is a two-way street, and candidates are also using social media to research companies and stay informed about job opportunities. Digital technologies are helping to create an extremely competitive labor market where employees change jobs frequently and employers must compete with other companies for the same candidates. The competition for the limited pool of highly skilled candidates in Engineering, IT, Operations and Sales is especially intense.

According to surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center, 65% of American adults and 90% of young adults now network on social media. If businesses are to be successful in their recruiting, they must increasingly rely on social media to build their brand, get the word out about job opportunities, and more effectively vet candidates. In this blog, we will discuss the benefits and potential challenges of social media recruiting, as well as provide a few tips that will help to optimize your social media recruiting efforts.

Benefits of Social Media Recruiting

In addition to better vetting of candidates, there are a number of benefits to social media recruiting:

Minimal Cost and Time Investment – Social media recruiting does not cost a lot of money or necessarily require a big time commitment.

Helps Company Branding – Featuring content on your company’s social media sites that demonstrates why your company is a great place to work and showcases your company culture is a great way to build your company brand and better attract employees that are a good fit. Additionally, should any public relations issues arise that need to be addressed, social media provides a good avenue to post the company response and other content that protects your brand.

Attracts More High-Quality Candidates – Many high-quality candidates maintain a social media presence. To reach these candidates, HR managers can post about an open position on all the company’s social media sites and include links to the job listings on the company website. The company’s fans and followers on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn allow recruiters to tap a much broader network than they could otherwise to get the word out about job openings. In a recent Jobvite survey, 44% of companies reported that the quality of candidates has increased since implementing social media recruiting.

Allows for Targeting of Passive Candidates – There are many high-quality passive candidates (people who are currently employed and not looking for a job) that recruiters can identify and target on social media. A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) showed, in fact, that recruiting passive candidates is the top reason that companies are using social media for recruitment.

Allows for Better Candidate Vetting – The ability to access information on the candidate’s social media pages allows for much better vetting of whether the candidate will be a good fit for the company culture and the position.

Challenges of Using Social Media Recruiting

Damage to the Company Brand – Just as it’s important for job seekers to be careful about what they post to their social media pages these days, companies should also be mindful that the type of information posted on their social media sites will likely influence how potential candidates view the company.

Potential Legal Risks – Under federal and state laws, certain “protected” information cannot lawfully be used in a hiring decision – race, age, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, health status, pregnancy status, etc. If job seekers suspect that this protected information was obtained by a potential employer from social media (or any other sources for that matter) and used as a basis to deny employment, they can file a complaint under state and/or federal anti-discrimination laws which can lead to a significant financial penalty for the company.

Since it is virtually impossible to avoid seeing protected information on candidate’s social media pages, companies should put the following procedures in place to prevent getting into legal trouble due to their social media recruitment efforts:

  • Have a clear policy which spells out the kind of information found on social media that is acceptable to be used in hiring decisions.
  • Clearly document every hiring decision that involved social media searches to protect the company in case discrimination allegation arise.

Additionally, performing social media searches inconsistently should be avoided, as it makes it easy for an applicant to allege discrimination. Another thing to be avoided is advertising job openings exclusively on social media, as this could be construed as discriminating against certain categories of people who are not well represented on a specific social media outlet.

Note also that companies can easily avoid these legal risks by hiring a quality staffing firm to do recruiting for them. In this case, the staffing firm would be responsible for vetting candidates in a manner which is consistent with state and federal laws.

Tips for Effective Social Media Recruiting

Develop a Social Media Recruiting Strategy. It is important to plan out each step in your social media engagement/recruiting strategy. The ultimate goal is to engage and hire talented candidates, but how will you get there? Some questions to ask when developing your strategy: Which social media outlets will you utilize? How will you build your following? How will candidates first hear about your company on social media? How will they find your open positions? How will they apply for those positions?

Establish Your Brand. One of the keys to effective recruitment is to utilize social media to build your brand. Towards this end, it is important to establish your company as both an authority in your respective field and a great place to work. Utilize social media channels to inform your following about your company’s values and mission. Additionally, social media is a great place to share quality content that establishes your company as a thought leader in your industry and/or helps to educate candidates in ways that catches their interest, earns their respect, and sparks engagement.

As you establish your brand and attract followers, they become both your talent pool to draw from and your advocate network. Once you have gained your followers respect and interest, they will expand your reach dramatically by sharing your openings with their followers on social media.

Create a LinkedIn Company Page and Optimize it for Searches. Most companies these days use LinkedIn for recruiting purposes. If you have not done so already, you should create a company page (Click the “Work” icon on your personal page and then scroll down to “Create a Company Page”). LinkedIn can be a way for candidates to find out about your company and/or job openings and approach you. It can also be used as a recruitment tool to find and approach candidates directly.

To help candidates find you on LinkedIn, it is helpful to share the content that you develop. Additionally, you’ll want to optimize your page to show up in search results. LinkedIn uses the text in the “Summary” section, in addition to the rest of your company profile, to help people find you, while Google uses this text to decide where your company page will show up in their search results.

Make sure your company profile contains keywords that people would likely search for when trying to find a company such as yours. Also, as Google will show the first 154 characters of your company summary, so make sure the first 154 characters contain the key points you want to communicate.

Finally, to help you identify passive candidates in your recruiting efforts that you want to contact directly, LinkedIn has a powerful search tool. You can use the filters in the menu bar below the search field to filter your search results and hone in on potential candidates for your open positions.

Use Hashtags. Hashtags use the symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase with no space characters. Most social media platforms these days support hashtags – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube and more. Hashtags can serve to broaden your reach by allowing people who are not following you to see your social media posts. Hashtags should be something relatively simple that is either relevant to your brand or is specific to a job posting.

Get Employees to Share Your Content on Social Media. Your employees are a great resource that can serve to expand your reach on social media. Employees can share your company content with their social media networks to help distribute it to a wider network. Be sure to have them use any relevant company hashtags when they do. Additionally, follow your employees with your company accounts, and share their content.

Implement a Social Referral Program to Drive Employee Referrals. You can dramatically expand your reach by encouraging employees to share your job postings with their networks with a paid referral program. Additionally, candidates are more likely to consider an opening forwarded from one of their social media contacts than a direct message from a recruiter they do not know.

Add Relevant Images to Your Social Media Pages and Content You Share. On social media in general, content with images is significantly more likely to be viewed.


Social media recruiting is a crucial component of any successful recruiting strategy. When done effectively, social media recruiting is a great tool for recruiting top notch candidates and showcasing company brand. Like any other tool, however, it is important to have policies and procedures in place around its acceptable use. In addition, you’ll want to make sure that all the company’s social media activity stays aligned with hiring practices. This means that you should not post anything in social media that you would not want to put in a job posting.

In closing, it is important to realize that there is no one size fits all approach to social media recruiting. Social media strategies will vary from company to company based on things such as the type of candidates that you are trying to hire, the locations you are recruiting for, the size of your talent pool, and a whole host of other factors. If you are interested in discussing your social media recruiting strategy with one of our experienced recruiters, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

About the Author

Miriana Benitez is a Scientific Recruiter in Astrix Technology Group’s Staffing Division. Since 2006, Astrix has grown from a regional to a nationwide firm working with Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, and all in-between. Miriana found her passion for recruiting in 2010, and has supported a variety of scientific and technical roles. In 2017, Miriana joined Astrix, where she’s specialized in niche research roles for top tier biotech clients.