Social recruiting in tech: How to make the most of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit

By March 31, 2020 May 22nd, 2020 Recruiting Tips
Social recruiting in tech: How to make the most of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit

With 94% of recruiters admitting that they use social media for candidate sourcing, the competition for tech talent is as fierce as ever. However, it’s wrong to assume that you can’t stand out from the IT recruitment crowd. There are many ways (some of them creative) in which you can use social recruiting to source new hires!

In our previous articles, we already discussed how you can leverage LinkedIn, and communities like Stack Overflow and GitHub to find developers for your team. Now, we’ve decided it’s time to see what Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have to offer in the matter. 

Below, you’ll find a list of social recruiting best practices, as well as channel-specific tips & tricks that will help you boost your talent sourcing efforts. As a bonus, we’ll also share a pro-tip on sourcing tech talent on Reddit and how you can match its users with their social media accounts. 

Let’s jump right in! 

What is social recruiting & why is it important?

Social recruiting is a term used to describe all the ways social media channels are leveraged to recruit talent. There are several reasons why it’s become ‘a new favorite’ among IT recruiters. Here are a few:

  • You can reach candidates where they spend most of their time online. This means you can expect higher open rates on your outreach messages.
  • Unlike traditional job boards, social media let you reach both active and passive job seekers.
  • You can easily distribute your job posting, or even create a dedicated community for potential hires (which we discuss in the next section).

Social media recruiting – best practices

Here are a few tips we wholeheartedly recommend that you implement across all your social media channels. 

  • Ask employees to share your job offers with their network. When you post a job offer on your company page, ask employees to share on social media. Referrals are key to finding the very best candidates! According to TalentLyft, employees acquired via recommendations have a 2x longer retention rate than those coming from job boards.

Social recruiting Ask employees to share your job offers with their network

  • Be responsive and transparent about your recruitment process. Remember – you’re making a first impression here! Your employer branding specialists should respond to comments and messages posted on social media promptly.
  • Celebrate your employees’ successes. This tells miles about your company culture.
  • Put a face to the brand name. Show off your team to remove anonymity. For example, you can share where you go and what you do together. Why is this important? Because it lets potential employees take a sneak peek of what it’s like on the inside! Microsoft Life Facebook page is a great example of this.

social recruiting Put a face to the brand nameNow, let’s dig deep into the recruiting potential of specific channels.

Finding IT talent on Facebook

While you can no longer carelessly browse through event participants or group member lists (the beauty of a post-Cambridge Analytica world), there are still great ways to source talent on Facebook!

Use Facebook Graph Search to the fullest

Keywords can be an effective way of sourcing talent on Facebook, provided that you know how to use Facebook’s extensive filters. You can filter your results by location, date, name of the group, post type, or the source (i.e. someone in your network, in a group you follow, or public).

You can search for the term across all touchpoints or specifically in groups, people, events, pages, or posts. 

Here’s an example of a search for the term “Javascript” in posts published in 2020 in the “Javascript” group (over 90k followers):

social recruiting Use Facebook Graph Search to the fullestSpeaking of groups…

Join groups for IT developers

The example above is just one of the thousands of developer communities you can find on Facebook. Search for groups where developers share their knowledge or browse for job opportunities.

Once you become a member, we recommend the following steps:

  • post your own job ad 
  • search for any promising candidates who posted in the groups – you might find some true gems here!
  • check who responds with “interested!” or “PM sent!” to other companies’ job offers.

Check Facebook events 

As mentioned above, you won’t be able to see the list of participants (not unless the same event is up on Meetup). However, if you’re looking for senior-level talent, you can check all upcoming and past events and see who the speakers were.

Another idea is looking for any hackathons or workshops related to the tech-stack you’re looking to hire for.

Check the candidates’ culture-fit 

If you’ve found a candidate who looks great on paper, you can use Facebook data to complement their psychographic profile. This way, you’ll be able to quickly screen candidates and eliminate those who are unfit.

Tag away with Twitter

It’s likely no surprise that a lot (but not all) of Twitter’s hiring potential lies in what it’s best known for – tags. 

Use and search for relevant tags

The very first thing your company should do is use tags that will attract those looking for a job (for active seekers, think of tags like #pythondeveloperjobs, and for passive seekers – any hashtags related to the language).

Very much like on Facebook, you should also look for tags posted by developers who potentially match your criteria. To automate this, you can use a tool like dataminer.io to scrap all users who’ve used the hashtag and download their data in CSV format. You can also further explore search options.

Leverage Twitter Advanced Search

If you’re not up for scraping data, you can use Twitter Advanced Search to find relevant candidates. You can narrow down results by selecting words, Twitter accounts, engagement rates (for ex. tweets with more than 50 likes), and dates. You can also filter out tweets with or without links or choose to search just the tweets themselves or also their comments. 

For instance, you can look for people who used the hashtag #TechCrunchDisrupt and the word ‘hackathon’ within the dates of the actual event. This way, you’re likely to find developers who were either participating in the conference or the hacking event itself.

Follow topics on Twitter

Social recruiting Follow topics on Twitter

Social recruiting Follow topics on Twitter2Another area worth exploring? Twitter’s Topics feature. While, as of March 2020, it was still hot off the press, subscribing to topics will let you see the top tweets on subjects that are of interest to you. This could be a great way of finding top-performing tweets for senior-level developers.

Use conference-specific hashtags 

Social recruiting Use conference-specific hashtagsYou can also run searches with conference-specific hashtags like #devopslondon to find the attendees of the DevOps London 2020. This way you can access the tweets or posts from users who attended in the past or even better, plan to attend (hello, networking!).

Social recruiting Use conference-specific hashtags2

Image source: Twitter

Finding candidates on Instagram

The most visually appealing social media platform of all three offers tons of talent sourcing opportunities. Not all tech recruiters are aware of the full potential though, so make sure to take note!

Add job offers in InstaStories

As of 2019, Instagram Stories were viewed by over 500 million users daily. What might come as a surprise, though, is that ⅓ of InstaStory content comes from businesses. Whether you decide to add a sponsored post or run with your organic reach, remember to feature your job offers with a “read more” link.

Search for people using relevant hashtags

Though it may seem so, tags used on Instagram aren’t all related to what we are up to in our leisure time. Many developers also add relevant hashtags to show off their professional skills. So, just like on Twitter, you should regularly search for terms related to your current job openings.

An example? When you search Instagram for #pycon, you get access to over 3.5K posts from people who have at least some interest in Python (with some people even using #pycon2018 or #pycon2019). 

Social recruiting Search for people using relevant hashtags

Image source: Instagram

Another great tip is to check who liked someone’s post related to, let’s say, Python – this shows you an audience that is interested in the type of content.

Send out direct messages

Here’s one thing not every recruiter is aware of – Instagram has a liberal policy of direct messaging. Namely, you can send a message to those outside of your professional network (up to 10 people at a time!). While we can’t say whether Instagram will ever decide to change their approach, right now it is easier to reach out to candidates there in comparison to other social channels.

Use Google Search to find the right people to reach out to

Since the messaging policy on Instagram is so liberal, we recommend that you use Google Search to conduct an on-site search. You can do this by using the following query: 

site:instagram.com (“the term you’re interested in”).

Here’s an example of a search for “python developer”. As you can see, a couple of names pop up right away!

Social recruiting Use Google Search to find the right people to reach out toBonus points: Finding talent on Reddit

While Reddit isn’t a social medium, per se, it’s definitely worth incorporating into your social recruiting strategy. Firstly, there are tens of relevant tech forums with thousands of developers online. According to Recruiting Daily, there are ways to match some Redditors’ accounts with their profiles on social media! You’ll need a little bit of research and booleaning skills (as well as persistence). 

Found a Reddit user who seems to be the perfect fit? You can try and find them by using ANY data that they’ve revealed about themselves in their posts. This is a four-step process discussed in detail in this free recording of the 12 Days of Sourcing webinar.

Summary

While Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter aren’t always the obvious choice for recruiting, it’s safe to say they’re a great source of high-quality candidates. Firstly, nearly 80% of candidates admit to turning to social media to find their next job. 

Secondly, there are tons of features and advanced filters that let recruiters narrow down their search to the very most relevant talent. 

Last, but not least, by engaging your network or creating a community for potential future workers, you get the chance to validate not just candidates’ skills, but also the culture-fit.

We hope that – armed in new ways of attracting talent – you’re now excited to see how much social media has in stock for you. 

Also, if you need more inspiration, check out the 8 creative ways to recruit employees in tech!

All that’s left to say? Happy sourcing!

Image credit: NordWood Themes on Unsplash