Social Recruiting: 3 Small Steps for Small Businesses, One Giant Leap for HR

By Erica Bell

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Bullhorn’s 2013 North American Staffing and Recruiting Trends Report found that 98.2% of respondents used social media for recruiting in 2012, versus 94% in 2011. That number is likely to continue growing in 2013. With the number of small businesses and startups currently in the US, standing out from the rest to recruit the best isn’t always easy. Social recruiting is a lot like online marketing in business – you want to reach the right audience, with the right message at the right time. With recruiting, the right audience is high-quality candidates, the right message is the open position, and the right time is when they will make the move. Here are three small steps your small business can take to make a giant leap forward in recruiting in top talent.

Social Recruiting - 3 Small Steps for Small Businesses, One Giant Leap for HR

Level Up Your LinkedIn Presence

More recruiters reported success placing candidates they found on Facebook than those they found on Twitter. However, LinkedIn is still the number one social media site for small businesses to connect with candidates. In fact, 97.3% of recruiters used LinkedIn for recruiting in 2012 and 92.9% of respondents stated that LinkedIn produced candidates they were able to place.

  • Complete your profile with education, experience, a professional headline and place of employment.
  • Post open jobs as status updates. You can generate referrals from employees, trusted peers, and past colleagues.
  • Participate in discussions and groups related to open positions you’re looking to fill. Those who are commenting may be a knowledgeable job seeker, someone to keep in mind for the future, or even a passive candidate.

Make the Push for Passive

The single greatest opportunity for recruiters in 2013 is “increased access to passive candidates via social media,” according to 83% of respondents. Finding passive candidates through social media was considered to have greater potential to advance the recruiting industry than introducing more efficient business processes, and an increase in flexible roles and workspaces. To find passive candidates on social networks:

  • Use your HR software or applicant database. If your small business has been around a while, go back a few years to potential new hires that may be a better fit now that time has gone by. Use social media to reconnect.
  • Recruit them. Even if someone isn’t actively looking for a new position, they’ll feel flattered that someone else is actively recruiting them. You could spark a thought within the candidate about a career move.
  • Ask those around if they know someone with specific skill sets. Instead of asking who is looking for a position, find out who has the talents you’re after and listen to them talk about their current position so you can find out what makes them tick – and want to switch. 

Easily Measure the Effectiveness

While some businesses may determine effectiveness based on how much time is spent contacting and acquiring each new candidate and others may deem the process effective if they are able to place multiple new employees in hard-to-fill roles, it is up to your individual small business to determine what will be considered effective. To make the measurement process easier,

  • Track time spent locating and contacting candidates through social media networks, then compare it to your efforts through more traditional means.
  • Monitor how many positions have been filled through social media recruiting and how many have been filled via your other strategies.
  • Determine if the quality of resumes and applications you receive through social networks meets your standards.

Social recruiting should be a more efficient process than more traditional approaches. Your social recruiting strategy is effective if you’re receiving high-quality candidates and are filling positions. Getting involved on LinkedIn and seeking out passive candidates are some of the easiest ways to get started with social recruiting.


Author Bio: Erica Bell is a social media specialist for B2B lead generation company She writes on a number of topics including online marketing and small business strategies. Connect with on Facebook!

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