Social Recruiting with Hashtags: Where to Draw the Line

HashtagCall it the year of the hashtag. The almighty pound symbol has exploded outside of Twitter, and is being widely adopted by mainstream social networking sites like Google+, Facebook and Instagram. It’s quickly on its way to becoming the next brand staple. Think about it. If Facebook is your new corporate website, then hashtags are your company’s signature.

And that’s because by entering “#” before a term or message, you make it infinitely easier for your end user to navigate the web to find your tagged message. The essence of hashtag isn't to gauge how clever or witty you are (although it helps), but in its simplest form, it's a widely efficient cataloging tool to help parse the 100,000 tweets entered per minute.  

With the number of social users increasing, if your organization hasn't developed a social recruiting game plan yet, it might seem fleeting to start from scratch. But as the Media & Entertainment industry has shown us, more to follow on that below, the reward is too great to ignore. 

How to Leverage Hashtags in Social Recruiting

As a Fulfillment Manager for Yoh’s Enterprise Staffing Solutions, I support several industries; including Media & Entertainment and Gaming. Part of my job is to find the hottest candidate on the market right now. There is a push for employers and employees to establish their own social media strategy in order to maximize the power of social networking sites. Like any well trained hunter-gatherer, it's more than just searching. You have to cover your tracks, too. This means optimizing your social posts with timely and relevant hashtags to make them search-friendly and meet your objectives. 

Before you go all hashtag crazy on us, there is a skill and grace in which to approach your social media recruiting strategy. Notice I called it a strategy. Let’s use the Media and Entertainment industry as an example.

I am a huge Dateline Fan (#DontWatchAlone). Not only is Keith Morrison’s story telling hilarious, but moreover the show’s approach to social media is as strategic as it is discreet. Dateline, and the majority of the Media and Entertainment industry realized something before corporate America did. Hashtags pay off – big! 

While they are using them to recruit loyal viewers, the approach is applicable to corporate recruiting. To prove this point, I pulled three key takeaways from a Twitter study. Let's review how you can apply Media and Entertainment best practices to lift your employer brand on social media. 

Using hashtags in TV commercials drives positive brand conversation. 
One study found that TV ads with hashtags had 42% more Tweets about the ads than those without hashtags.

Incorporate hashtags in your paid media to keep the conversion going. Perhaps you’ve hooked someone with a PPC or print ad. Whatever the medium, extend the brand experience by incorporating a pre-defined and relevant hashtag letting them know you’re hiring.  

Twitter users are less likely to change channels during commercials.
In a different study, only eight percent of Twitter users tune away from TV ads, compared to 17 percent of TV watchers that aren’t on Twitter.

It’s not a race. It’s a marathon.
From a candidate’s perspective, there’s nothing worse than falling in love with a brand but then seeing stock image photography or worse, radio silence on its social platforms; especially for creative talent. Develop a long-term strategy that keeps your content fresh and consistent.

Twitter users are more likely to remember TV commercials. 
In the third study, Twitter users had a 53 percent recall of TV ads, compared to 40 percent for non-Twitter users.

Make it memorable. Remember, there aren’t boring companies just boring people. You can spin anything to attract the eyes of passive and perspective candidates with a little TLC.

Important Considerations

As you incorporate hashtags in your social media recruiting strategy remember these two principles: relevance and timeliness. Keep in mind, it’s not just for Twitter. Facebook rolled out the use of hashtags in its news feed in 2013. Recently, the social media giant announced that starting on November 1 it will require its 1.11 billion members to pay a small fee for select features and products. How do these two thoughts apply to your strategy?

As long as social media continues to alter the user experience (which it will), you can bet social audiences will shift their behaviors accordingly. If you rely on social media to attract candidates to your organization, you might want to consider how to keep up with evolving trends, measure the effectiveness of your social media recruiting strategy, and course correct as needed.  

This blog was written by Liz Kane. Liz has been with Yoh since 2011 supporting the Enterprise Solutions Group. She has a strong passion for the media industry and recruitment. Liz is the IT Fulfillment Manager supporting Discovery Communications, Sony PlayStation, Time, Inc., and Comcast. If you are looking for her outside of work she can be found at a Philly sporting event or local music concert. Go Birds!


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