How To Make Social Media Your Most Important Source of Candidate Placements

By Tony Restell

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How would you like to have social media contribute more candidate placements than any other source of hire in your business? If you're like many recruitment business owners I speak with, you're probably thinking this sounds like crazy talk... it would necessitate not just an improvement in the results you're seeing, but a complete transformation in what, to date, have been pretty mediocre results. Right?

So I was thrilled to attend Greg Savage's recent London talk and thankful Greg agreed to me writing up some of the key messages. Because Greg provided both the proof of the social media results you can aspire to - and the template of how to ramp up the results you're achieving. I'll be sharing both here.

Greg Savage Social Recruiting Strategy

Setting The Scene: The Foundations For Social Media Success

Let me set the scene though by saying that social media success comes mostly to those who do things differently from the majority of people in your industry. It stands to reason, right, if you want to get exceptional results then you can't just be doing the same run-of-the-mill things that everyone else is doing? Instead, you need to do things that are more effective and scalable - and you need to test / learn / test to see which approaches produce the best results in your niche market.

To be even more specific, the results you can expect from social media are a function of two variables: the reach you achieve amongst the target audience you wish to engage with; and the conversion rate you achieve in persuading the people you've reached to do something that's explicitly valuable for the business (such as registering a resume or requesting a call).

Now before I go any further, let me share with you the stat that will really make you pay attention. In Greg's business Firebrand Talent,  they achieved 420 hires of a total 700 hires from candidates attracted to the business via social media. That's $6.7m of billings directly attributable to social media as the source of hire. I'm betting for most people reading this post, that's a pretty staggering figure and one you'd dearly love to be able to replicate!

Greg's success didn't happen by accident. Crucially, significant thought had been given to the ways that the business might be able to translate social media followings into candidates actually applying for vacancies to which they were highly suited. That doesn't just happen by accident or through good karma, it's an activity flow that needs to be mapped out so that it happens time and time and time again. Greg freely admits that they did not get it right at once. There was trial and error, tweaking and remodelling. But in the end it started to pay big time.

In Greg's case, testing various approaches had them land on the option of offering candidates a free salary check. Candidates would be enticed to a page where they'd share a few key bits of information about themselves and then would receive back a bespoke salary estimate for the range they should be targeting in their next career move. (This salary survey site is still operating, even though Greg sold Firebrand some time ago, see: By doing so, candidates were submitting all the information that Greg's team needed to be able to send out highly targeted job alerts in subsequent weeks. And to add to the beauty of this strategy, all of this was automated! Consultants were not involved until a resume landed in their inbox.

Why Greg's Approach Was So Successful

This approach is so successful because it offers candidates something they want, is a process that can be delegated away from expensive billable recruiters, is scalable... and ultimately results in candidates receiving opportunities for which they are highly suited.

Now compare and contrast that with the approach most recruiters take on social media of spamming out job listings on their profiles and you can see this is chalk and cheese in terms of approach. Furthermore, it also lends itself to testing and continuous improvement. Different signup pages and messaging can be tested to see which one will pull in the highest number of candidate registrations for any given number of candidate followers.

Of course, once you have an approach that will predictably convert X% of your social media interactions into placeable candidate registrations, you're then in the enviable position of being able to invest in growing your social media audience already knowing the kind of return that that's likely to bring you. If every 100 interactions with potential candidates on social media produces 20 candidate registrations from highly valued passive candidates, then it's easy to then justify the scaling up of your investment in growing your audience and increasing the interactions you have with that audience.

So if you want to turn social media into one of your most important sources of candidate placements, here's what you need to do:

1. Brainstorm different things you could offer candidates in your industry that they would dearly want to get hold of and would be willing to register their details to receive.

2. Set up lead capture pages or processes that candidates can be directed towards during any social media interaction (or by running a social media advertising campaign).

3. Drive candidate traffic to these lead capture pages or processes via any means you can. Get to the point where enough candidates have gone through the process that you can determine the clear winner(s) in terms of offers that convert most effectively.

4. Work out the approximate cost per acquired candidate from your winning offer and use this to build the business case for investing more significantly in the growth of your social media audience and engagement volumes.

5. Scale up and test / learn / test. By scale up, we mean increase the activity levels or advertising spend so that the audience you are reaching on social media is grown ever larger. More candidate flow through the funnel will produce more candidate registrations at the end of the funnel. But don't be complacent...

... just because you've found the winning formula doesn't mean it can't be improved upon. Take your best performing offer and then A/B test different variants of the sign-up page or offer. Perhaps there's a further 20% upside to be had from just presenting the offer to candidates in a slightly different way (you'll be amazed how often that is the case once a business just starts to test things rigourously).

Conversions Without Reach Equals Minimal Results!

As Greg points out however, its not as easy as coming up with a “hook” (which in itself isn't easy either!). The Firebrand success was built on their massive social footprint. Many thousands of targeted Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections and blog subscribers. So they had a “community” to target and drive to the salary site. That community took years and hard work to build, which is why you need to be investing in the growth of the audience your recruitment business reaches on social media.

So there you have the Greg Savage case example on getting great placement fees through candidates attracted to the business via social media. Keep at the forefront of your mind that this successful strategy involved winning over potential candidates to taking the next step in the journey (registering a few details), so that Greg's team could then market the prime opportunities each candidate was best suited to at a later date. Whereas most recruitment businesses and recruitment consultants instead focus on going straight for the kill - sharing jobs endlessly in the hope that one will end up in the lap of the ideal candidate. Surely we've all been trying this long enough now to know that it's just not an effective way of winning over candidates and making placements? So perhaps it’s time to implement a more proven approach in your business?

Footnote: Greg’s blog is worth subscribing to:

This blog is part of our series of blogs and webinars on social media for recruiting. We'd love to hear your feedback and ideas for future topics you'd like to see us cover. Please do comment below.


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