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Social media is embedded in both our work and personal lives. It has changed the way people consume information and how we communicate with each other. Since recruitment is a people business, it makes perfect sense to use social media as a constructive and creative tool.

What do I mean by "social recruiting?" It encompasses much more than simply posting jobs on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. The real benefit of social recruiting is the deep level of engagement and communication it fosters between prospective candidates and companies. Potential new employees use their social networks to engage people within organizations, learn about company culture and make decisions on whether they want to work there. Their experiences of your company's social presence (and online recruitment practices) will shape their decision-making process when it comes to accepting or declining your offer.

How can you improve your candidate recruitment experience with social media? Here are four tips:

1. Think Like a Candidate

Take a look at your recruitment process through the eyes of candidates — what do you think your social profiles, career website and Glassdoor reviews look like from their perspective? Are your job descriptions captivating? Do you offer interesting content about what it's like work at your organization?

Candidates like speed and convenience, so consider how quickly and competently your teams engage with followers on social media. Are you taking social media seriously or are you still just posting during working weekday hours? Over half of LinkedIn's traffic is via a mobile device and the majority of it occurs before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. So, if you want to attract and engage talent you need to be tuned in when they are active. Use automatic scheduling services, like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, to schedule posts ahead of time if you won't be in the office.  

2. Showcase Your Culture

Differentiate your employer brand by being transparent about what it's like to work at your company. Embrace the power of employee-generated content, and allow them to tell their own stories using text, images and video. Use different platforms including blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest to showcase work-life balance and success stories.

3. Adopt a Mobile-First Mindset

Social media is intrinsically linked to mobile as many of us look at our social sites on them, so make sure that whatever content you create is easily consumed on a mobile device. Some great examples of this are Taco Bell and Sodexo, which make use of Instagram and Pinterest brilliantly to showcase their culture and employees.

Taco Bell regularly posts Instagram pictures of their team at work or interacting within the community. They’re keen for potential applicants to picture themselves in the role and understand what a career at Taco Bell means. Sodexo uses Pinterest similarly for employer branding and talent attraction.

4. Practice Proactive Onboarding

Don't wait for a new employee to start before you think about on-boarding him or her. Instead, use social media to introduce prospects to the work you do, such as presentations, videos and case studies.

Samsung's blog is an excellent example of how to share this type of information. It provides candidates with opportunities to engage with potential colleagues, learn more about the company and make them feel like a part of the organization very early. Closed Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups or Google+ Communities are also perfect for increasing confidence for new or soon-to-start employees. Rovio, the creator of the popular Angry Birds franchise, used Google+ extensively to create a collaborative, social atmosphere at the company.

All these methods above and the integration with social media should become a natural part of your recruitment process, with the focus being on the candidate experience. Remember, social media can go two ways; people easily share good and bad experiences with their social networks, so put the focus on the candidate to keep both your reputation and intrigue strong.

Photo: Creative Commons