In the race to attract the best staff, and always have a talent pool ready to fill any immediate gaps at short notice, more employers are turning to non-traditional recruitment channels, using social media.

Social recruitment is an example of agile HR management. By maximising social media engagement and staff referrals, it lets you continuously seek new talent. Managed well, it can help you create a more powerful brand presence as an employer, and a smooth onboarding experience for employees.

With 1.3 billion active users, Facebook is still the world’s largest social network, but Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are all growing faster. 69 percent of Australians use social media on a regular basis, and if you’re looking to attract new recruits under the age of 30 you’ll probably find more of them on Facebook or Twitter than on job boards.

This is especially important for industries with high turnover or peak seasonal demand – such as hospitality and retail. Using social media to promote your job listings gives you access to the ‘passive market’ – those already in employment who aren’t likely to stumble across your ad on a job board or get in touch with a recruitment agency, but are regularly engaging with social media.

Build your social presence and be part of the conversation

Before you first meet a good candidate, it’s likely they will have done some homework. They will research your culture, work environment, benefits, and look for stories about the people within your business. If you use social channels to create a consistent and attractive story about your business, you’re more likely to attract the best people – and they’ll be better prepared for their new role.

Encourage your current employees to share their stories and experiences on your company Facebook page, for example, post videos, blogs, photos and other content that will attract and engage both customers and staff.

Create a social referral network

When your staff share your job posts with their personal networks, you’ll have a much better chance of attracting – and keeping – the right people, with the best cultural fit.

Data from the US job market indicates employee referrals have the highest applicant to hire conversional rate, and will begin work quicker – saving you valuable time. They also have greater job satisfaction – 46% stay for more than a year. Given the average number of friends, contacts or followers Australians aged 20 to 29 have is 489, you’re likely to be able to reach large numbers of prospective staff quickly through your staff networks.

And, as it’s also less expensive to recruit this way, you can create incentives to reward staff for taking the initiative. That’s a win-win formula for everyone.

So make it as easy as possible to share available positions. Send them the link to your job posting, and give them clear instructions on where to share it, and how to follow up with any friends who may be interested. Everyone in your business can play a recruitment role, you just need to empower them to do so.

Simplify your talent ‘supply chain’

One of the biggest business benefits of social recruitment, compared with traditional recruitment using agencies and paid online job listings, is how cost-effective it can be. Use a free jobs board such as Employment Hero, and you can easily share new vacancies through your company social channels and with your staff.

By always having your recruitment switched on through social recruitment, you can be more responsive and resilient, no matter what opportunities or challenges your business faces.

Three tips for smarter social recruitment

Be authentic. To build your network and your social brand presence, you need to have genuine conversations and share interesting stories.
Be consistent. Social recruitment doesn’t need to end when the candidate accepts the job offer. Think about how you can use social channels to improve onboarding and communication.
Turn your staff into brand ambassadors. Improve the speed to start date, and the success of hire, by supporting them to put the word out through their own networks. And make sure you reward their efforts with a ‘finders fee’ or bonus. By eliminating recruitment overheads such as agency fees and advertising costs, you’ll find the cost-per-hire rate is dramatically reduced.