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The role of social media in recruitment

Social media as a digital platform has had a tremendous impact on how we communicate and maintain dialogue with friends, family, and colleagues. It has also become a rudimentary practice for every organisation to have a social media presence for marketing as it forms a key part of business strategies.
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This growing trend has piqued the interest of HR professionals, more and more of whom are coming to appreciate the need for an active and engaging corporate presence on social media to attract top job candidates. In 2021, as many as 92% of companies use social media and professional networks to hire for jobs.

Unpacking the top channels


LinkedIn is likely the first channel that comes to mind for recruiting and employee advocacy as it is a fantastic way to attract candidates that may already be interested in working for your company. However, it is also a very effective tool in gathering information about candidates who may not be currently looking for a change. LinkedIn is a widely used social media network for passive recruiting. On LinkedIn, there is an ongoing trend towards engaging with and sharing content from thought leaders who then create aspiration for people to work where they are employed. Thought-leadership pieces allow companies to show the calibre of minds that work for the business and create aspiration for others to join the team.

Twitter is playing a fundamental part in recruitment, especially for young professionals and graduates. Hashtags relating to job searching such as #JobseekersSA are receiving large amounts of traffic, with #JobseekersSA being the biggest hashtag used, with over 160,000 interactions in the first year of its creation. The culture of hashtags and tag-a-friend has created communities that assist each other by making recommendations to their friends on job posts that are most relevant to their skill sets. Encouraging users to #TagAFriend is a great way to tap into this culture and get followers to amplify tweets to their network of friends.


A lesser-known feature of Facebook is the Jobs feature, which can be accessed entirely on mobile. Businesses can customise their applications with interview questions and other details such as salary and job location. When users click to apply for an opening, Facebook will automatically populate the application with portions of their public Facebook profile. Users can edit every part of their pre-filled form except their name and profile photo. Submitting the job application then generates a Messenger thread with the business, which can track and review applications.

TikTok is the ideal place to connect with Gen Z and Millennials. With technology at their fingertips — and a regular tool in their growing hands — Gen Z’s have been able to connect to faraway cultures, issues, and news earlier and more often than any generation before them. Creators on TikTok are redefining entertainment; from film to sports, to fashion, music, lifestyle, and the workplace. With the rise of career and job-related creative content, TikTok believes there's an opportunity to bring more value to people's experience with TikTok by enhancing the utility of the platform as a channel for recruitment. With the launch of TikTok Resumes, users can now create short, creative videos, combined with TikTok's easy-to-use, built-in creation tools to organically create new ways to discover talented candidates and career opportunities. Popular hashtags on the topics include #careerdevelopment, #careeradvice, #leadership, #hr, #training, #nowhiring and #jobsearch. #NowHiring has over 65m views.


A record-high number of workers quit during the pandemic and people increasingly went public with their exits, posting their resignation notices on restaurant signs or posting the moment they quit on TikTok for all to see and share. This was both an empowering moment and an eye-opening one for many and should encourage businesses to not only showcase what you do or sell but also what you are doing for your employees.

Ways to use the top social media platforms


Showcasing Culture: Your organisation’s culture plays an important role in recruiting and retaining the best talent. Job seekers look for a clear understanding of a potential employer’s culture to gauge whether they can see themselves enjoying the company and succeeding in the position.

Communicating with jobseekers: According to a recent study, 94% of recruiters are active on LinkedIn – and with good reason. Millions of people have already opted to post their career profiles and interests on the professional networking site, and more profiles are being created every day. For recruiters looking to reach out to experienced – but perhaps passive – candidates, social media can be a tremendous resource.


Maintaining a good reputation: According to Glassdoor, 69% of job seekers will turn down a job with a company that has a bad reputation, even if the job seeker is currently unemployed.

This means that, in addition to leveraging their own social media to impress candidates with corporate culture, HR professionals should also be monitoring social media for mentions by current and former employees.

79% of job applicants use social media in their job search and according to a study done by CareerProfiles, 73% of Millennials found their last position through a social media platform.

To keep up with this demand, companies must broaden their reach and increase accessibility by utilising social media to attract and hire.

About Ashleigh Burton

Ashleigh is a Digital Communications Associate at Consulum, a government advisory firm. She is also a board member for a local NGO in Johannesburg, NS Impact Foundation, with a core focus on brand building, strategic partnerships, and fundraising.

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