Find the Perfect Hire by Tapping Into Social Media

perfect hireAre you looking to hire employees, contractors or interns this year? Take a tip from a Washington Post article on how public radio station NPR used Twitter to find employees.

When NPR’s standard methods of searching for interns fell short and the organization wasn’t getting enough candidates, they decided to spread the word through a Twitter campaign. The one week effort landed a flood of applications and led to hiring 15 new interns.

NPR’s move made sense because the organization was looking for employees who were social media savvy. What can you learn from NPR’s approach?

Here are 3 ideas:

Think Outside the Box

While we might think of LinkedIn first when we think of hiring, since that social media site is set up for business networking, and even allows you to post job openings, it’s not the only way to go when using social media to find job candidates.

Match the social media network to your needs: For instance, if you’re looking for a Facebook marketing expert, or someone whose job involves lots of socializing and outreach (such as a PR person), try reaching out on Facebook.

If you’re looking for a graphic designer or photographer, try spreading the word on a visually oriented social site like Tumblr or Instagram.

Get Niche

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn aren’t the only ways to go in terms of social media. Are there niche social media sites dedicated to your industry?

If so, they could be great places to post if you’re looking for someone with wide expertise in your industry. Even on Facebook and LinkedIn, you can get better results by drilling down to industry oriented or skill oriented groups (such as groups for the manufacturing industry or for B2B marketers) to spread the word about your open positions.

On Twitter, create new hashtags relevant to your open positions or use existing hashtags so your tweets catch the attention of people following those topics. NPR, for instance, used a hashtag “#pubjobs” to attract people interested in public media.

Always be Recruiting

You say you have no open positions and no immediate plans to hire?

No matter. With competition for talent heating up this year, if you do find yourself short of staff, you could end up suffering in comparison with bigger companies. That’s why it’s important to present ongoing information about what your company does, what it’s like to work for you and what kinds of people and skills you’re looking for.

In addition to outright recruiting, NPR also did “soft” recruiting by using the hastag #nprlife to tweet about daily life at the office. The outreach gave potential candidates a look at what it would be like to work at the company.

You can put this kind of information on your business’s website, under a heading “Working at X Corp.” or similar, where you can also list open positions and contact information when you have openings.  All year long, share informal insights into what it’s like to work at your business on your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.  Those insights could be photos from your latest staff potluck or tweets about what you’re working on now.

Showing off your small business as a fun, creative and rewarding place to work will go a long way toward building interest and goodwill that leads qualified candidates to you when the time comes.

Employee Photo via Shutterstock


Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow her on Google+ and visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

14 Reactions

  1. Linked In has a premium account option where you pay to get better information or more refined filtering. Is there any merit paying for this to get more qualified hires?

    • You might see if the local Miami media has a social media platform. But for this much of a specialty, you might want to resort to more traditional recruiting methods, though I would for sure check out LinkedIn for possibilities

    • I am not sure. I would ask the question on Twitter or Facebook to see what other people’s experiences have been

  2. “NPR’s move made sense because the organization was looking for employees who were social media savvy” , but does this actually work if you’re looking for employees who aren’t social media savvy? I don’t think so :(, the good guys with a lot experience aren’t always using social media…

  3. What social media would one utilize to recruit a Baker/Kitchen Manager for a new French Bakery Cafe in downtown Miami.

    • You might see if the local Miami media has a social media platform. But for this much of a specialty, you might want to resort to more traditional recruiting methods, though I would for sure check out LinkedIn for possibilities

  4. Great post, Rieva. It’s a great idea look for employees through social media. I’ve even heard of social media being used as a final deciding factor on for employers when recruiting traditionally – gauging their engagement and interaction with their networks. Thanks for sharing your insights on this.


  5. What advice would you give to someone looking to be *found* as a potential hire/contractor in the Twittersphere?

    • It depends on what specifically someone wants to be found as. I stalked small business accounts on Twitter 5 years ago when I started my business and saw that AT&T was relaunching their website. I asked if I could help–and they’re my still a client.

  6. Rieva,

    Just read this one from Very useful tips, I must say.

    I’ve proven myself that social media is great place to hire employee. I hired a VA and freelancers from social media – a place where I can see what they are up to before I pitch them with my intention 🙂

  7. Gary @ TTC Customer Service

    Great article – I agree wholeheartedly. With competition for talent so fierce these days companies need to be doing everything they can to get the right candidates first. Changes are the best of them will be looking for employment opportunities through all avenues – including social media!

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