Social recruiting is a phenomenon that keeps rising in popularity among recruiters and talent acquisition professionals. And it’s not that weird. Considering that more than 4.14 BILLION people now are active users of social media (and that we spend roughly 15% of our waking time using social platforms), it is a great place to reach out to candidates.
If you think about it, why wouldn’t you use social media to attract and convert talent?
- People of all ages, backgrounds, and interests from all over the world are logged on every day
- Most companies have a social media presence (whether active or not)
- Social media platforms exist to share content and information
Recruiters who are working actively with employer branding and social media recruiting have a real opportunity to strengthen their teams with top talent.
In this report, we’ll guide you through the world of social recruiting. The starting point and foundation of this article is our own proprietary data. It comes from all the social recruiting campaigns we have published and managed for hundreds of our customers on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
In case you didn’t know, Jobylon is a modern and user-friendly hiring tool used by some of the biggest employers in the Nordics. Aside from providing really great hiring software, we also help our customers launch recruitment campaigns on different platforms. This includes everything from employer branding initiatives on Facebook to laser-targeted campaigns on LinkedIn.
The data we will share with you in this article will cover areas such as:
- If you need to have a well-known brand and good social media presence to succeed with social recruiting
- The effectiveness of social recruiting in urban vs rural areas
- The best time to post recruitment campaigns on social media
- The devices you should optimize your campaigns (and job ads!) for
- How to create social recruiting campaigns on Facebook and Instagram to attract qualified candidates and strengthen your employer brand
- How to succeed with posting jobs on LinkedIn
Exciting, right?! But before we dive in, let’s clarify what we’re talking about here when we say “social recruiting.”
What is social recruiting?
The definition of social recruiting can be explained as:
“The use of social media platforms to attract candidates to your job openings and convert them to applicants.”
How is social media used in recruiting?
Social media is used in a variety of different ways in a recruiting context. For example, we work with some customers on:
- Strategic employer brand awareness campaigns
- Sequenced, data-driven campaigns where we retarget desired candidate personas
- Single, one-and-done campaigns focused on driving relevant candidates to the job ads
We have seen (as will you when looking at the data below), that social recruiting is such a great opportunity because of its versatility. It can be used to build awareness within your target audience, to keep candidates warm and engaged, to convert them, and even to turn potential candidates into active applicants.
And it is not only for hiring for entry-level jobs either. We have helped our customers hire every role from heads of marketing and financial consultants, to software developers and store clerks through these campaigns.
Now, you might be wondering, how do you get started with social recruiting? Which channels are good to use? For who? And when? Let’s find out.
Social recruiting on Facebook and Instagram
Facebook and Instagram are among the most popular channels for recruiting on social media. They are two of the platforms that we create the most campaigns for. Considering the impact of these platforms (over 2.5 billion active users each month!) and the sophistication of their algorithms, it’s not hard to see why they are such a popular choice among recruiters.
As an advertiser on these platforms, you have the audience and the tools to reach pretty much anyone you want and deliver the message that you want to send.
Let’s get into the findings!
Do you need a well-known brand to succeed with social media recruiting?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions, especially by our customers who are just starting their social recruiting journey. And we understand why someone would wonder about this.
Aren’t all advertisers on Facebook large companies with huge budgets and established brands?
Most advertisers are smaller companies who can use smart strategies and targeting to reach their desired audience with the means available to them.
Look at what we found when we analyzed the data:
The average cost-per-click was only 5.57% higher for non-established brands than for companies with well known brands. This means that it’s almost equally as cheap to reach candidates for companies with little to no social media presence as it is for businesses with established brands.
Still not convinced that you can do social media recruiting too? Look at the following graph—the data shows us that it is entirely possible to drive relevant traffic to your job ads even if you haven’t worked with employer branding on social media yet.
Established brands, those who work on being seen and sharing their Employer Value Proposition with candidates, were able to attract 9.35% more candidates to their job ads than their lesser known counterparts. This is a sign that working with employer brand awareness works. However, the relatively unknown employers were still able to attract hundreds of candidates to their job ads on average. Not too shabby!
So if paying a small amount of money for a large amount of relevant traffic to your job ads sounds like a no-brainer, then social recruiting is a good fit for you.
Does social recruiting work only in big cities? Or can it be used in rural areas as well?
This is an interesting question. It’s a bit tricky because the answer is….
Yes. It depends on how we want to look at the data.
If we look at the total sum of our metrics, then yes, social recruiting in bigger cities is far better. But if we compare the data by the cost to achieve a result, then there is basically no difference.
Let me show you what I mean. Look at this graph, showing the average amount of clicks-per-campaign in urban vs rural areas:
Campaigns in urban areas get 73% more clicks on average, a significant difference.
We see the same trend when comparing the average reach (how many unique people see a campaign) and average impressions (how many times a campaign has been shown in total).
You get 89% more reach on average if you market your jobs in urban areas and 64% more impressions. And this makes total sense. More people living in bigger cities = more potential candidates for Facebook and Instagram to show the ads to.
Where this gets really interesting though is when you compare the cost to achieve a certain result (such as driving traffic to job ads). In this case, the geographic difference is pretty much nonexistent.
The difference is not even 2%.
So what does this mean?
You can summarize it like this: Social recruiting in rural areas is not worse, it’s just less.
And as mentioned previously, this makes sense considering the target audience is much smaller for those types of campaigns.
Okay. Great. You’re sold on the benefits of social recruiting! Now the question is, “How do we do it well?” To answer this, we must know what to post, when to post, and where to post.
When is the best time to post jobs on social media?
You know you have a job you want to market. Great. You have decided on a channel to use. Cool.
When should you post it?
According to our data, it doesn’t matter that much. However, we’ve seen a tiny little spike in terms of clicks, reach, and impressions during the weekends. So if you’re going to do a social recruiting campaign, make sure you launch it before the weekend! But also, don’t sweat it if you don’t have time – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are almost as good. The difference between the day when you get the most reach (Sunday) and the day which gives you the least reach (Friday) is 16.4%.
Users being slightly more active on the weekends makes sense. More candidates have time to scroll on social media, and might be more receptive to new opportunities when thinking about their job that they might not want to return to on Monday.
And here is the same data in terms of clicks. The difference between the day when people clicked the most (Saturday) and the day with the least clicks (Monday) is only 4.8%.
So the answer to the question of when the best time is to launch your social recruitment marketing campaign is: It doesn’t really matter. But if you can, try to get it live before the weekend to get that tiiiiny extra boost!
What devices should you optimize campaigns (and job ads) for?
If you thought the last data points were close, you’re in for something else here. I’m sure you’re aware that most traffic nowadays is on mobile phones. But just how much is not easy to know.
As it turns out, 96% of all candidates we have helped send to our customers’ job ads and career pages have been via mobile. That is a HUGE number.
What does this mean for you? It means that you must, must, must make sure your job ads and career pages are mobile optimized. Your forms need to work on mobile. And the user experience has to be great, even on small screens.
Try it now. Pull up your phone (if you aren’t already reading on it), and go to your career page. Does everything look ok? Is all of the text legible? Are the buttons easy to click on?
Now check, do you have modern job ads? Are they pleasing to look at and easy to read? Will a candidate coming from social media get a feel of your employer brand just by looking at your job ad?
Try to apply. Is it easy to submit all form fields? Can you upload all necessary documents? Is the candidate experience off to a good start?
If you answered no to any of the questions above, this needs to be fixed. To get another feel for how many people can land on your job ads or career page through social recruiting, take a look at the distribution of traffic:
How to create a successful social recruiting campaign on Facebook and Instagram
Facebook and Instagram are two great platforms for social recruiting. But before we get into the why and how, let me address a common concern.
A misconception many people have is that it is not possible to attract qualified candidates to white-collar jobs on Facebook and Instagram. Well, this is simply not true. In fact, white-collar jobs are performing in line with our internal benchmark for driving qualified traffic to our customers’ job ads.
This can also be exemplified by several campaigns in which we’ve helped customers fill roles, from financial consultants to heads of marketing through Facebook and Instagram.
Why you should do social recruiting on Facebook and Instagram
Apart from the fact that you can find, attract, and convert qualified applicants, Facebook also offers an amazing opportunity to build your employer brand at the same time.
Even though you’re only marketing a single job, it’s likely that your ad will be seen by thousands of people who might be potential fits for your company, now or in the future. This means that you have a great opportunity to showcase your employer brand, tell stories about who you are as an employer, and create buzz about and desire for working with you. All while still generating high quality applications for your open positions.
This double opportunity of combining social recruiting and recruitment marketing leads us to our next point.
How to create the perfect Facebook recruiting campaign
As every company has different things to offer potential employees, and every candidate has different needs and desires, it’s not possible or practical to give a one size fits all answer here. We couldn’t tell you to write X or use image Y. Instead, what we should focus on is the process.
Now, I’m sure you already have an idea about what you can offer as an employer. And hopefully you’ve got a good guess about what it is candidates like about you. So the answer to the question about how to craft the perfect campaigns on Facebook and Instagram is to leverage the powerful testing tools they offer.
You can test different copy, different EVPs, different images. You can even test different target audiences. This is what we do all the time with our customers to find winners. Then we keep on building from that momentum to increase the odds of creating great recruitment campaigns.
How to tell what works and what doesn’t
This is a really important step. With all the testing you will be doing, you need to analyze results to get an understanding of what works and what doesn’t.
There are 2 levels of analysis here:
- The first level consists of looking at the data from facebook. This will tell you how many people clicked on your job ad. It’s a good way to see if your social recruiting campaigns are generating traffic. However, to get deeper insights we need level 2 analysis.
- The first level of analysis lacks in its ability to tell you whether or not the traffic you generated actually applied. This is why level 2 analysis is so valuable. By connecting your social recruiting data to the data in your hiring software, you can see how many applications your social recruiting efforts have generated. And further along in the candidate journey, level 2 analysis tells you which messaging, channels, and audiences resulted in the most interviews and eventually hires.
Preferably, you can integrate your social recruiting efforts with your hiring software and follow the entire candidate journey there, from candidates first seeing your ad on facebook, to applying, to going through the whole recruitment process, to joining your company.
For example, when we do recruiting campaigns for our customers we can monitor the effectiveness of the campaigns, not only based on how much traffic they generate, but also based on how many qualified candidates they generate.
We might discover that Instagram is a huge traffic driver to a particular job, and get a fair number of applicants from there, but most get rejected in stage 1. Meanwhile, the amount of traffic from Facebook is much lower, but the applicants from there are higher quality and thus move further along in the recruitment process.
By only analyzing these campaigns on the first level, we might believe that Instagram is a great channel for us and Facebook isn’t. This would be an unfortunate conclusion to make since it doesn’t reflect what it is you truly want: Quality hires.
To summarize, here are the steps to succeeding with social media recruiting on Facebook and Instagram:
- Know your candidate persona and what you have to offer
- Use Facebook’s built-in test features to see what type of messaging resonates with candidates
- Follow up and analyze the effectiveness of your campaigns, not within Facebook, but rather within your hiring software
This 3-step process will give you great insight into what is working for you while attracting and converting candidates along the way. And, oh yeah, insight into building your employer brand too.
Bonus: What job categories perform best on Facebook and Instagram?
Will all jobs work equally well on Facebook and Instagram? No. Not all the time anyway.
There are some types of jobs that are better suited for these platforms than others. Fortunately, we’re continuously gathering data on this to be able to better advise our customers on when to choose Facebook and when to launch their social recruiting campaign on another platform. And now we’re gonna share that data with you!
In the chart below, you can see the relative success of social recruiting campaigns on facebook and instagram per job category in terms of clicks. In other words, our measurement indicator here is the amount of traffic we drive to each individual job ad on average per campaign.
As you can see, warehouse jobs are outperforming all other categories significantly. These types of campaigns get almost twice as much traffic on average as the second best performing category.
But don’t be discouraged by warehouses’ relative success from doing recruitment campaigns. Blue-collar, HR, healthcare, customer support, sales, and marketing jobs are all performing above our internal benchmarks.
If we look at the other end of the spectrum, IT and Finance jobs generally get a bit less traffic from Facebook and Instagram. However, these campaigns still get hundreds of clicks on average – not bad.
So, what is causing these differences?
It’s hard to give one specific reason. We’re always testing different parameters and many things come into play here. One thing we have discussed internally though, is the difference in nature between categories.
For example, IT is a very large category with many different jobs. In IT, certain skills set you apart more clearly than in other categories. You might be highly qualified within IT security for example, but not know much about IT project management. Or you might know a certain framework, but not another. Therefore, as a candidate with an IT security background, you may not be a relevant candidate for a project management role, even though you are a part of the target audience.
If a job we advertise isn’t a fit for you, and you aren’t a fit for the job, the average clicks per campaign go down in the IT category overall.
Meanwhile, warehouse jobs are very similar in nature and speak to a clear target audience. The same is true for electricians (blue-collar), recruiters (HR), nurses (healthcare), account managers (sales), and SEO specialists (marketing).
Again, we can’t say for sure that this is the explanation for the differences between the job categories, but it might be related to them.
The next time you have an HR, customer support, or marketing role to advertise you should feel excited about using Facebook and Instagram (and don’t forget our tips on “how to” from before)!
And what if you have an IT role out? Should you discard Facebook and Instagram?
Remember, these numbers are just averages. We have launched social recruiting campaigns within IT, finance, and engineering, which have all crushed our benchmarks. You just generally have to be more thoughtful and strategic with these campaigns. Reach out to us if you want to chat about any thoughts you may have before a campaign!
Alright! We’ve gone over two out of our three most frequently used channels when it comes to social recruiting. Let’s check out the third.
How to create a successful social recruiting campaign on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media platforms for both recruiters and job seekers, and it’s not hard to see why. LinkedIn has more than 700 million members, making it a meeting point for those offering and those searching for jobs alike.
How do you create LinkedIn campaigns that attract the right candidates and get you the most value for your money?
When you want to do social recruiting on LinkedIn, you basically have two campaign formats to choose between. Either you can post a job slot, or post a feed campaign.
Let’s go through them one at a time.
How to successfully post a job slot on LinkedIn
To figure out the answer to this question, we need to understand how LinkedIn job slots work.
If you haven’t seen the inside of posting a job on LinkedIn, this is what it looks like:
As you can see, you can target your job slots to specific candidates based on a few factors:
- Job title
- Geographic location
- Employment type
LinkedIn uses a smart algorithm to match relevant candidates with relevant jobs. For example, if you’re a software developer in Stockholm you will probably be presented with other job opportunities as a software developer in Stockholm.
Also, if you have the skills that an employer is looking for in your profile, you will likely get matched up.
Have you ever gotten a message or email from LinkedIn such as:
“ is looking for: ” or, “New opportunities are waiting for you” or, “Top job picks for you?”
That’s the LinkedIn algorithm telling you, a relevant candidate, that you are a good fit for these positions as you match the recruiters’ criteria based on some or all of the factors mentioned above.
This means that if we can better use LinkedIn’s matching features, we can attract better candidates.
Now that we’ve uncovered this insight the question becomes, how do we use LinkedIn’s features to hijack their algorithm and boost our social recruiting efforts?
Let’s start from the top.
What job title should I use when posting a job on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn’s algorithm is smart, but the more we can help it the better. When it comes to the job title, the way to help is to use one of the standard, “indexed” titles offered by LinkedIn. You could say that these job titles are part of a library, and LinkedIn’s algorithm searches through this library to find relevant candidates looking for jobs with the same title.
This means that the difference between “HR Business Partner” (not indexed by LinkedIn) and “Human Resources Business Partner” (indexed by LinkedIn) can be huge. Just look at this data:
When we compared jobs with indexed titles to jobs with non-indexed titles, we found that jobs with indexed titles got 52.9% more clicks on average.
Next time you post a job on LinkedIn, try to use the standardized and indexed titles offered by them.
What should your geographic location be when posting jobs on LinkedIn?
Here it’s best to post the city where the job is (obviously). However, to further tilt the odds of finding the perfect candidate in your favor, you don’t have to be too narrow with the location.
Let me explain. If the job you are hiring for is located in a suburb, it’s okay to use the closest larger city as the geographic location.
The reason that this works is because more candidates are going to be looking for jobs in rather than in .
As mentioned before, social recruiting in smaller cities is not worse, it’s just less frequent. So in order to give you the best selection of candidates, try to use the names of nearby bigger cities if you can.
But what if the job is not near a larger city?
Then don’t use this little hack. You always want to be honest with candidates. It will not aid your chances of “wooing” top talent if they get enticed by promises of a nice job in the city when in reality it’s a 1.5-hour commute to the office.
What skills should I use on LinkedIn jobs?
The list of skills you can choose for any job is massive. It’s way too big to mention in this post. However, this also means you have very good targeting options as LinkedIn allows you to use up to 10 skills per posted job.
But with so many options, how do you know which skills to use to attract the right candidates?
We have discovered a simple strategy that allows us to find and use skills to target specific candidate personas with laser-like focus. It only consists of 2 steps and takes no more than 3 minutes.
Here’s what you do:
Search on LinkedIn for people who currently work in the position you’re trying to fill and visit their profile. Scroll down to their skills section and see what skills they are promoting. Then use those same skills in your job post. Repeat 5-10 times to find patterns and commonly used skills. Simple, right?!
- Find ideal candidates
- Use the skills they are already promoting
This simple strategy will allow you to use LinkedIn’s algorithm to reach those dream candidates.
For those of you reading this in a country where English is not the primary language, we’ve seen that jobs posted in English actually perform almost twice as well as jobs posted in the local language – 86% better to be exact.
How to post a great feed campaign on LinkedIn
Posting an ad that shows up in peoples’ feed on LinkedIn requires a few more steps than posting a job slot.
Here are the 6 steps which you have to complete:
- Campaign objective
- Ad format
- Budget & schedule
- Conversion tracking
Here you simply choose what goal you are trying to achieve with the campaign. It could be things like brand awareness, website visits, video views, or job applicants.
LinkedIn uses this information to set up and optimize the campaign depending on your choice. Some ad formats will be available for certain campaign objectives and not others.
LinkedIn offers amazing targeting opportunities! This is a goldmine for marketers and recruiters alike. You can target your ideal candidate persona based on things such as geographic location, job title, job function, seniority, years of experience, age, education and skills AND more (am I the only one who gets excited about this?!?!). Needless to say, you can target veeeery accurately on LinkedIn.
Here you choose whether you want to promote an image ad, a video ad, text, spotlight, or message ad. As I mentioned above, the available formats change depending on your campaign objective.
This gives you the option to boost your reach using the LinkedIn Audience Network, a.k.a a group of sites and apps that partners up with LinkedIn and shows ads.
Budget & Schedule
Decide how much you can spend on promoting a job and for how long. I want to mention that LinkedIn is way more expensive than Facebook, so make sure you have access to a larger budget when using LinkedIn. Furthermore, LinkedIn enforces a pretty aggressive minimum spend threshold which means you cannot pay below a certain sum to even launch your campaign!
Here you can track conversions that are important to you. For example, you can track when someone who clicked on your campaign submits an application. This means that if if you spend 1000 SEK on a campaign and track conversions on it, you can see that the campaign generated 20 applications (which thus cost you 50 SEK per applicant)
Feed ads are definitely a bit worse than job slots, but can be a nice addition to your social recruiting efforts to reach passive candidates with laser targeted messaging.
Should you use job slots or feed campaigns on LinkedIn?
According to our internal data, they are very similar performance wise. Job slots get 2.5% more clicks on average, but the cost-per-click is 5.6% percent lower on feed ads.
In my personal opinion, there are a few things that speak in favor of job slots:
- They are shown where people actively search for jobs – on LinkedIn’s job board. This is not true for feed ads which show up in the feed, regardless of if one is looking for a job or not.
- They are easier and quicker to set up.
- They are separate from your company’s ad account where marketing might be hesitant to let you in.
- If you set it up well, LinkedIn will promote your job slots in people’s notifications and even email. This will not happen with feed ads.
If you can only make one choice, I’d say go with job slots. But as previously mentioned, get that curious experimentation going! I’m sure you’re going to find some really interesting insights.
Woah. That was a lot to take in. Social recruiting is a really exciting opportunity for employers looking to find great hires, build up their candidate database, and increase employer brand awareness.
These were our main findings from our work in social recruiting in 2020. Hopefully, you got insight into the interesting facts about how it works, the stats behind these platforms, and some inspiration to create your own successful social recruiting campaign.
Feel free to download our free PDF report with all the statistics and findings we discovered when analyzing our data.
Now go out there and create a great campaign to gain a competitive advantage now and for years to come! 💙