The Role of Social Media in Recruiting

Using social platforms for recruitment goes beyond posting open positions. If you are not utilizing it, or have only been using it to announce open positions, this article shows you other ways to utilize social platforms in recruiting.

Agnes Nduta

Nov 3, 2021 · 8 min read

The Role of Social Media in Recruiting

German Social Media Platforms where Job Ads Were Posted in 2018 Image Source

In 2018, 27.1% percent of leading companies in Germany used Xing to post job ads. On the other hand, in 2019, 25.8% percent of candidates in Germany used Xing to find job search-related information. What do these stats show? Social Media Recruiting (SMR) is a two-way street. Both recruiters and candidates are using the platforms to find each other.

Using social platforms for recruitment goes beyond posting open positions. In this article, we look at the role social media plays in the recruitment process.

Passive vs Active Candidates


Image by Van Tay Media from Unsplash

Before we look at the role social media plays in recruiting, it’s important to have the two main candidate types in mind - passive and active candidates.

Passive candidates are usually not looking for new opportunities, but are open for discussion should interesting opportunities come up. These are harder to find, and may not even have a great online presence.

Active candidates are those who are on the lookout for new opportunities. They may be currently employed and are looking for greener pastures or may be unemployed.

Why is it important to have these candidates in mind? It helps to determine how you are going to use social media to reach the candidates.


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There are various ways you could use social media to source candidates.

Job Opening Announcements

You can use social platforms to make announcements about open positions.

Organic Posts

This can be through a post on Xing, Reddit, or even on communities on Facebook, or LinkedIn. You need to ensure that you use the relevant hashtags so that potential candidates can easily find the posts.

Employee Posts

Recruiters can encourage company employees to share open positions on their own social media profiles. This not only taps into their networks but is also a vote of confidence for their company. Candidates would be impressed by a company where employees are happy to work and encourage others to join them.

You are more likely to reach active candidates through this approach.

For example, a quick search on Twitter via #hiring yields fresh results (it shows the number of tweets using the hashtag in the last hour)

Creative Job-Related Posts

Recruiters can get a little creative in their job announcements. For example, the following post takes the form of a software engineer seeking advice, though posted by the recruiting company.

Paid Posts

A second option here is to run paid campaigns on social platforms like Facebook, Quora, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Automated Recruiting

Social media comes in handy in automated recruiting. Bots (people aggregators) can collect data about prospective candidates from social media profiles, including contact information. Depending on how customized the bots are, they can get you candidates for specific roles based on their experience, skill set, or education.

Some advanced aggregators can collect data from tens of social networks, including GitHub, Quora, and Stack Overflow. This gives you a more wholesome picture of a candidate’s skills and experience.

It is important to note that these aggregators only provide publicly available information. If the bot cannot find a candidate’s email address for example, then you can reach out to them via LinkedIn messaging.

Automated recruiting is ideal if you are looking for passive candidates.



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Social media plays a crucial role in the selection process.

Candidate Selection via People Aggregators

Some advanced aggregators can help you in the selection process by filtering candidates based on the collected information. For example, if you are looking for candidates who have 10 years of experience, you can filter using that as the criteria.

You can then reach out to the candidates. While it is easier to send a generic message to all the candidates, it is important to personalize it as much as possible. For example, ensure that you address the candidates by their names.

Selection and Decision Making

Recruiters also usually look at a candidate’s social profiles to see what they post.

Social media helps recruiters to understand the candidate more. For example, if the candidate is the kind of person who will talk ill of an interview or company in public, then the recruiter may not want to hire them.

While as a recruiter you are not on a mission to bring down any candidate who posts things that portray bad work ethic, it’s important to take the time and ensure that you look at a candidate’s socials before allowing them to proceed to the next step of your interview process.

Sending Initial Communication

You can send candidates an initial message to let them know about the position you are recruiting for and that you are impressed by their profile. This can be done via LinkedIn messaging or any other social platform. In this initial message include:

  • Job details.
  • Salary range.
  • Information about the company.
  • Why the candidate fits.
  • Job title.
  • Company culture.
  • Company mission.

It is also important to make your initial message stand out, as you might not be the only one reaching out to the candidate. Here are some ways to make your initial contact memorable:

  • Personalize it - make use of ‘you’. Tell them about their skills and how they can be useful to your company. For example, from your profile, we see that you have the expertise to lead our team.
  • Be specific - Specify some details, for example, 'the non-profit you run caught our attention', rather than 'your profile is great'.
  • Be friendly and conversational - as much as you need to be a professional, it is good to be friendly when reaching out to candidates.


Video Interview Image Source

You can use social media to do initial interviews to help you to further screen candidates.

Brief Questions

You can, for example, ask them brief questions, and use that as criteria to shortlist. A LinkedIn annual talent survey of over 14,000 professionals globally (511 in Germany, 6010 in Europe) showed that 63% of candidates felt flattered when recruiters reached out to them. Better still, 56% of candidates are likely to respond if the hiring manager reaches out.

Initial Video Interviews

You can also use social media to do initial video interviews, for example via Messenger rooms, Instagram Video Chat, or WhatsApp Video Call. On LinkedIn Messenger, you can start a video call that redirects you to either Zoom or Microsoft teams.

Consistent Engagement

Engagement Image Source

The great thing about social media is that you have a chance to keep candidates engaged even when there are no open positions. 49% of candidates will follow companies on social media to stay aware of positions that open up. You can showcase your company culture (showcase your office workspace, and the team doing fun stuff like playing games or having lunch) on social platforms, making your company more desirable for candidates in the future when you have open positions.

In Conclusion

Social media has become a vital aspect of recruiting. If you are not utilizing it, or have only been using it to announce open positions, this article has shown you other ways to utilize social platforms in recruiting. Why not give them a try?


Agnes Nduta is a content creator who creates worlds in words, empathy and code.

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