‘Inbound’ talent acquisition: Social media recruitment strategy to engage passive candidates
- 6 Min Read
Despite social media ranking as the most popular channel for talent acquisition, ineffective distribution and a lack of diversification mean most organizations fail to engage talent that would address skill shortages. Joel Lalgee provides the foundations of an ‘inbound’ social media talent acquisition strategy that captures the attention of otherwise passive candidates.
A staggering 92% of employers use social and professional networks to recruit talent, ranking above job adverts in popularity. And yet, argues social media recruitment expert Joel Lalgee, organizations invest their time strategizing on a mix of traditional job board recruiting and outbound social media talent acquisition strategy.
By doing so, talent acquisition teams lose credibility and awareness with potential candidates, waste carefully curated content, and drown in a sea of noise. In this HRD Q&A, Lalgee reveals how TA and HR leaders can bring recruitment, employer branding, and communications teams together to co-create an inbound social media talent acquisition strategy that will be vital in the battle for passive talent.
1) Why do TA and people leaders need to ensure social media is a core part of their employer branding and TA strategy?
Joel Lalgee: The number one reason is that it’s how people now connect with brands. The first thing every job seeker and every prospect your TA team is going after will do is Google your company and search for it on social media.
If you don’t have quality content, if you’re not telling a story, then you lose credibility. You also miss out on a massive opportunity to get ahead of the curve. You need to get a clear team strategy in place, and not just rely on employer branding and marketing. Train and equip your recruiters to interact, engage, and grow their brand on social media alongside all their other outbound activities.
2) Does social media recruitment require a dedicated talent acquisition team, or should multiple teams and divisions come together?
Joel Lalgee: HR and TA teams often confuse this process. There are content creation and marketing teams, employer branding teams, or even communications and PR teams creating assets and content.
But creating good content isn’t enough. You have to have a distribution channel. And they’re two different strategies. One looks at telling a story or the colors of the brand. It’s marketing. Distribution is where most companies fail to take advantage. They take a video, let it sit on YouTube, and it only gets 25 views.
If you trained your TA or recruiting teams to distribute content effectively, you’re able to create a lot more awareness around the content you have produced. Content creation falls on the marketing or PR team. But your TA and recruitment teams need to distribute content regularly. You need to have a clear strategy for that.
3) What steps can organizations take to develop an ‘inbound’ talent acquisition strategy?
Joel Lalgee: Train your people on what to do. And talk more about your content, just as you would talk about your outbound recruitment strategy. HR and TA teams plan how many people they need to source, how much outreach they will need to do, and what tools they will use to do so. But when it comes to content, people don’t strategize around it as much as they should. Talk about it in your strategy meetings.
Secondly, you need to involve somebody at an executive or leadership level. Without that presence, it’s going to be hard to get your team to engage and take it seriously.
4) How can video social media content help attract talent for hard-to-fill roles?
Joel Lalgee: The first thing I tell TA leaders is to educate themselves. Before they start creating videos, go out and find people who are in their industry. If you’re recruiting for a tech role, find tech influencers on TikTok or Instagram Reels that are putting out video content and get an idea of what people are engaging with.
Secondly, work together as a team. If you are expecting your recruiters to operate on an island, you won’t see results. But if you start by working with your recruitment team, then expanding to hiring managers, and eventually to the rest of our employees.
Make sure you train the team collectively on video content to make sure they know what they are doing. Otherwise, the video content you put out won’t be engaging or stop people in their tracks. And then it’s just about being consistent. Consistency is the most challenging thing but is crucial to building up an audience over time. Working together as a team means you can deliver consistent video content that brings the best results.
5) Beyond LinkedIn, how can other platforms help with filling hourly or non-full-time job roles?
Joel Lalgee: You can repurpose content and videos on pretty much every social media platform. If you create a piece of content for TikTok, you can also post it on Twitter or LinkedIn. So, figure out, where are your candidates. Where are they spending time? And be careful not to make assumptions based on your preferences.
It’s as simple as getting your team into the habit of asking the candidates they interview where they spend time on social media and who the influencers are. You might figure out, for example, every single manufacturing hourly employee your recruiters talk to is on YouTube. Maybe every tech candidate is on Reddit.
Discovering this helps you to create awareness with an audience on platforms you hadn’t thought of because of your preferences.
6) How will external pressures such as channel convergence and AI limit the effectiveness of an ‘outbound’ social media recruitment strategy?
Joel Lalgee: In the short term, AI will make everything louder and noisier. It also makes everything easier to write. If someone was able to send out 20 messages in an hour, they can now send out 200. Having multiple channels and creating awareness in multiple ways works to cut through that noise.
Whether it’s social media, newsletters, podcasts, or other channels, you cannot rely on one channel. Figure out as a team how to explore the different options, and then you can see what channels work best for you.
But things can change quickly. If you’re just tied into LinkedIn for posting jobs and talking about your brand, you’re putting yourself at risk. What if LinkedIn makes a change in how you can connect with people? Without diversifying your talent acquisition channels, you’re at risk of your whole strategy falling apart.