This spring, an unusual profile went up on the dating app Tinder—instead of looking for love, this new Tinder-er was seeking labor.
That's right. Ad agency Havas Worldwide Chicago developed a Tinder profile to recruit candidates for its summer internship program. If users swiped right on Havas' profile, the agency started a conversation with them about their skills and interests, ultimately choosing a match to join its team this summer.
While Tinder remains an outlier when it comes to recruiting via social apps, a large majority of companies are using social media to find talent. According to Staff.com, 92 percent of companies actively seek new employees via social media, with 73 percent of recruiters saying they have made successful hires. Social media is popular for job seekers, too: Among workers earning more than $75,000 a year, 24 percent use Facebook to assess a company's culture, 21 percent use Twitter, 13 percent use Pinterest, 12 percent use Snapchat and 10 percent use Instagram, according to a recent Jobvite report.
"Social media has dramatically changed the day-to-day activities of talent acquisition (a.k.a. recruiting) at Arcadis," says Cindy Bishop, associate VP and director of talent acquisition at design consultancy Arcadis U.S. "Where only a few years ago, sourcing candidates was accomplished by job board postings, university recruiting, employee referrals and partnering with agencies for hard to fill, niche jobs, now we have the access to that specialized talent using social media technologies. Because information is now public, recruiters can contact potential candidates directly and initiate conversations immediately."
Using the Latest Trend to Find the Greatest Talent
Still, few companies have embraced social media as a way to find workers as actively as Havas Chicago. The agency has looked beyond the usual suspects—Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn—instead testing their recruiting luck on the hottest platforms of the moment. In addition to their recent Tinder trial, Havas has reached out to candidates via Instagram and Snapchat.
"It's based on the simple idea that kids understand these platforms," says Jason Peterson, President, Havas Chicago. "If you want to hire someone to do social media, hire the people who know how to do it best."
Recruiters say social media channels enable them to bypass traditional recruiting efforts, such as a blind resume process or hiring friends or acquaintances. The traditional tactics tend to result in average candidates, they say, but social channels enable them to microtarget ideal candidates and discover potential, passionate employees who are often overlooked in more traditional settings.
Recruiting Outside the Box
Recruiters also like how there's not one right way to seek talent on social media. Havas, for instance, asked people to interpret an emoji story as part of its Instagram application process. This deviation from the traditional application process resulted in the agency receiving more than 300 applicants, and about 10 percent of them applied specifically because of the unique application.
Creative agency Mother New York took things a bit further last spring when it created a LinkedIn profile for a faux executive named Donald Buscando—a creepy looking character who would troll the LinkedIn pages of college students looking for interns. Buscando sent silly, odd messages encouraging people to apply for a summer internship position—"Are you a designer? You have beautiful bezier curves. You should apply."—and interested students who visited his profile were then able to see a video of Buscando "at work," with more information about what the agency was looking for in potential hires.
And last month, venture capital firm First Round posted a job opportunity, "Looking for a Storyteller," using the platform Medium. As a blog-publishing platform, Medium is rife with writers and deeply integrated with Twitter—allowing them to reach a highly-targeted audience across two different channels.
The Future of Recruiting
Of course, it's important to note that the vast majority of companies recruiting with extreme or odd social media tactics are looking for entry-level or internship positions. As of yet, there's no emoji application for an open CFO position at a Fortune 500 firm.
But it may be just a matter of time. Ultimately, social media is more cost-effective, creative and far-reaching than traditional recruitment. "It's time to get with the program—print, job boards and agencies are costly and outdated," says Bishop.