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Table of Contents

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Recruiting quality candidates is an evergreen challenge for HR professionals everywhere, and one of the newest opportunities comes with social media. If you’re considering dabbling in social media recruiting, keep reading to learn about Instagram’s potential and how to get started with it.

What Is Instagram Recruiting?

Instagram is an image-based social media platform that (at the time of writing) is the 15th most popular site in existence. You read that right: site, not social media platform. Here are some basic statistics as of 2022.

With over one billion active members, it’s no wonder Instagram recruiting has become an integral part of a well-rounded recruitment strategy. The platform, if utilized correctly, can be an effective way to connect to your current employees as well as attract ideal candidates.

Instagram recruiting is the process of advertising jobs, recruiting candidates, and connecting with potential employees through the social media platform Instagram. This recruitment strategy is also commonly referred to as social recruiting, social hiring, or social media recruiting.

Should a Company Use Instagram Recruiting?

The short answer is yes. This can be effective on its own up to a certain point. To get the best return on your recruiting efforts, casting a larger net by combining recruitment strategies tends to be more effective. However, Instagram can be a solid cornerstone to a complete recruitment plan if leveraged strategically. To really answer this question in-depth, let’s cover some of the main benefits and challenges of recruiting on Instagram.

Benefits of Instagram Recruiting

Here are four general benefits of Instagram recruiting. It:

  • Is cost-effective. With the exception of paid ads, recruiting on Instagram is virtually cost-free. See the site itself for information and the cost of advertising on Instagram.
  • Builds company brand. If done strategically, you offer the world and potential candidates a behind-the-scenes peek at what makes your company a great place to work. (See Build Your Brand under the Strategies section below.)
  • Builds a pool of passive candidates. There’s certainly value in job boards, as they speak directly to those in search of work, clearly state positions available, and layout the expectations of the role. Such places have an important role to play in a versatile recruitment strategy. However, on social media, you can speak to potential candidates who may or may not be looking for work right now (passive candidates) in a casual and more emotionally connecting way. Your posts can highlight your company’s mission, culture, and what makes your company a great place to work. Your goal is not for candidates to apply for a job with you. Rather, you are enticing more qualified potential applicants to keep your business in mind if they are currently looking for a job, know someone looking for a job, or even find themselves needing employment in the future.
  • Has a broader reach. As your posts get liked and shared, your followers’ followers see your posts. Add hashtags to extend that reach.
    • What about those unicorn candidates? We all know them. The ones who are a perfect fit, who are excellent workers, and believe in the company’s mission, but aren’t looking for work right now. You are keeping your company at the forefront of those candidates’ minds. In the future, if they ever need a job, they will likely be proactive in looking for your company’s job postings.

Drawbacks of Instagram Recruiting

Learning to use Instagram effectively is a project. Drawbacks include:

  • Time investment. There are a massive number of strategies out there. It takes time to learn what strategies exist and even more time to find what strategies are effective for your company.
    • Creating content isn’t as simple as finding some stock images or posting a selfie. To leverage this platform effectively, you need to take the time to create content that encourages the interaction of your followers and is impactful enough to stick in a potential candidate’s mind.
    • This is a rapidly adapting platform, and in order to stay relevant, a good company page adapts with it. This requires a continual investment of effort.
  • There is a learning curve. As with every new thing you learn, it takes time. Learning how the platform works take getting used to, no matter how intuitive the setup. Some things to consider learning include:
    • Social media best practices and etiquette
    • Navigating the platform
    • What kind of content your ideal candidate finds intriguing
    • How to create content that is influential
    • Using commenting and private messages
    • Finding the style and “voice” of your company
    • Who to follow/interact with to increase your reach
  • Delayed return on investment. Building an effective business page takes time. You can’t expect to post a handful of stock images and have ideal candidates come running. There is tremendous value in being intentional about how you run your page. For all the time it takes to create a well-developed company page, the return can be massive compared to the investment. An effective page is (more often than not) a mature page.

Instagram Recruiting Strategies

In order to use Instagram effectively, there are two methods to keep in mind: proactive and attraction. Attraction focuses on building and perfecting your company’s image, interacting strategically to gain followers, and using hashtags to increase your reach. Proactive recruiting focuses on zeroing in on specific influencers and ideal candidates (whether they’re currently looking for work or not).

Attraction: Build Your Brand

Who is your audience, and what do they care about? Now more than ever, candidates are looking for more than just a job description. They’re looking for a place they want to spend their work lives growing. By building your company brand, you’re offering potential candidates a direct look at your mission, culture, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts.

Construct your company’s “voice.” Instagram is not a professional platform, and how companies interact with their followers can be the most impactful part of your company’s pull. This is not the place to poach potential employees. This is the perfect place to show potential candidates the lighter side of the business. Other effective focuses can be the company’s mission, location, and perks of being an employee. Here are some pages that are top-notch examples of doing this effectively.

  • Innocent Drinks. At the time of this article, their “About Me” states: “We make healthy drinks. Please buy them so we don’t get fired.” This is a prime example of the light-hearted side of the business which makes them approachable and memorable.
  • Wendy’s. Another example of how to take this casual approach.
  • General Electric (GE). An excellent example of a more professional approach. The pull of their method is less personality and more of the exclusive behind-the-scenes view of their mission and what they are doing to accomplish it.
  • Marriott Careers. The focus of this page is to showcase gorgeous locations and all the perks that come with being an employee of Marriott. Their attraction method centers around potential candidates’ desire to enjoy where they work.

Attraction: Use Your Network

  • Get permission to tag your current employees in your posts. This increases your reach because now anyone who follows the people you tag can now see the post.
  • Does your company do any volunteer work? Perfect! Create the post and tag the organization’s Instagram account. Did you treat your team to lunch? Tag the restaurant’s Instagram. The possibilities are endless and the impact can be massive.

Proactive: Connect With Passive Candidates

  • Passive candidates are those with the skills and experience that could be perfect for your company but are likely currently employed in a relevant position. This means they will not be on job boards—but they are on social media, which makes it a virtual talent goldmine. (See “Use Comments, Private Messages, and Tags Strategically” below.)

Attraction and Proactive: Interact Strategically

  • Find some similar companies that are already popular on Instagram. Follow them and turn on notifications; then try to be one of the first comments on their new posts. Why? This extends your reach to their followers. Whoever views their post will likely view your comment, which can lead them to your page.
  • Don’t follow anyone and everyone. Some of the most popular company pages follow only 50-100 other pages. This is part of using social media strategically. Only follow those who hold value towards growing your business. Who your business follows on Instagram is a reflection of your business and the values it represents. Be selective of who you follow. This insightful article from business2community.com says this:Explore their feed and if they don’t have any viable mutual business reason to follow them back, don’t. Ignore them. The keyword is “mutual” – social media across all platforms works best when both sides have content that is meaningful to each other’s interests. On a side note, if a follower has content that is vulgar, demeaning, or goes against you and your clients’ moral code, blocks them.
  • Comment on others’ posts, particularly if that person is a potential or passive candidate. These should be thoughtful comments. Tag others you think might appreciate the post. Quote the post and say what you liked about it. This is where you can get creative and let your company’s voice shine.

How to Start Recruiting on Instagram

The first step is to create your company page; then brainstorm and schedule meaningful content. From there, it’s all about being active, consistent, and interactive. Lastly, never stop exploring new concepts, strategies, and methods of connecting with your audience.

In addition to the insights provided on this page, read what Forbes says about leveraging social media for talent acquisition.

Step 1: Create Your Company Page

In order to properly create a business page on Instagram, there are a few things you need to do first. Mainly, you need to create a personal account representing your business (if your organization doesn’t already have one). In Settings, you will have the option to change the profile type from personal to professional. (Search www.business.instagram.com for current instructions.)

Then, follow the steps outlined in the Instagram Help Center to set up the business account.

Here are some tips on setting up your company page.

  • Define your target audience and cater to your profile to catch their attention.
  • Determine what kind of voice is appropriate for your business.
  • Select a profile picture and create your bio.
    • Your picture is likely the first impression your potential followers will have of your company.
    • Your bio needs to explain your brand (especially if it isn’t obvious) and showcase your company’s voice in 150 characters or fewer.

Step 2: Brainstorm and Post Relevant Content

Strategy is the name of the game. One of the key components of a successful talent-attracting company page is consistency. You won’t be able to remain consistent if you’re scrambling to find content. Therefore, the best way to remain consistent is to set aside time to create content and put it on a schedule to post. This is commonly known as a content calendar.

Another major part of doing this effectively is having the right content for the right audience. Who are you trying to attract? What kinds of things would those people find value in? For example, are you looking to attract tech-savvy individuals? Post content about the technological side of your company and how you’re pressing into the future, relevant news articles, and so on.

Use Comments, Private Messages, and Tags Strategically

Connect with people by interacting with them. There are many ways to interact with potential candidates, but the three major ways are to comment, privately message, or tag them.

  • Commenting can be both proactive and attractive.
    • Proactive: specifically target those whom you would like to make future employees (whether they are currently employed or not). Comment on their content meaningfully. Tell them what you liked about their content, relate your company to their content, and/or tag others in the comment to give their post a broader reach. This is a simple way to provide value to them and make your company stand out.
    • Attractive: search for relevant influencers and similar companies with a currently established following. Make sure to turn on notifications. The thing to keep in mind here is to comment meaningfully as promptly as you can when they post new content. This will give your company page more visibility to those who already follow similar content.
  • Private messaging should be done sparsely and specifically. People tend to be much more responsive if you comment on their posts or reply to their comments on your (or others’) posts. Look for clear openings before messaging anyone privately. If they private-message your company, respond. If they ask a question via a comment on a post, a good method is to give a short answer via comment reply and an extended answer via private message. Wait for the potential candidate to take a step toward you before taking a step towards them. Any other use can be seen as rude or pushy. This is a part of social media best practices.
  • Tagging potential candidates on third-party relevant content is an excellent way to provide value with no strings attached. The point is to make yourself ‘real’ to them and keep your company at the forefront of their mind.

Keep Learning

The landscape of social media is evolving as quickly as the technology used to access it. The best pages on Instagram roll with the punches and are quick to utilize the newest features of the platform. Use the full variety of options to connect with your followers, and don’t shy away from new methods.

There are many resources to learn from, including YouTube videos and articles outlining the psychology of social recruiting, the most effective ways to reach your target audience, and even the best hashtags to extend your reach. In the world of social recruiting, the one who has the most knowledge wins.

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Find more qualified candidates, streamline your internal hiring processes, and improve your candidate experience with Eddy Hire.

Questions You’ve Asked Us About Instagram Recruiting

Absolutely. However, Instagram recruitment might not be the most effective method for every kind of business. Research the demographic you are reaching out to on Instagram and compare that with the ideal candidate you are trying to connect with. If they are in line with one another, this could be the game-changer you’ve been searching for. Something else to take into consideration is how much you need to recruit new talent. Instagram recruitment is more attractive than proactive method of recruiting and casts a wider net. If you don’t have a large enough need to attract talent, your time and energy might be better spent elsewhere on more proactive methods (such as referrals through your network).
Not necessarily. To be effective, you should have an official business page. To be even more effective, you should certainly strive to become verified. Through the verification process, you earn a little checkmark next to your company name wherever it appears. This proves to everyone who sees it that you are a confirmed legitimate company page. It gives you more credibility and encourages more people to follow your page and interact with your content.

Kayla is the Chief Innovation Officer at Hero Culture, where the passion is to create company cultures of retention using the power of personality.

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