Long gone are the days when you could attract top candidates with a newspaper ad. And these days, simply posting your vacancies online won’t cut it. A study published last year by Acas, and carried out by the Institute for Employment Studies, reveals that social media is playing an increasingly large role in the way candidates search for jobs and more frequently, how companies are marketing themselves to jobseekers.

The study revealed that in 2009, for example, the traditional vacancy posting site suffered a 31% drop in revenue and by 2010 more than half of UK jobseekers were using social media networks as part of their job search (Nigel Wright Recruitment, 2011). Millennials, or Gen Y, in particular (and perhaps unsurprisingly) are increasingly using social media tools in order to build an online career presence and search for jobs. Are you doing the same?

The Acas study quotes a survey carried out by Potentialpark in 2011 of over 30,000 graduates, students and early career professionals worldwide found that in Europe, almost 100% of survey participants would like to interact with employers online. The preference was for LinkedIn (48%), followed by Facebook (25%).

Building a social presence

So is your company on social media – and not just when you have a job to offer? A constant, engaging presence is key if you are going to attract top talent. Facebook is an ideal platform for showcasing company culture – pictures and videos of company away days, charity fundraising events or employee achievements creates a more rounded picture of a company than a simple ‘About Us’ section on your website.

LinkedIn, however, should always be more professional in tone. Companies get a better insight of potential candidates if they can check out their LinkedIn profile. Likewise, employers should create a company LinkedIn profile, keep profiles updated, share information about their products and services, and link to the company blog and other social media channels. Testimonials from current employees can be effective and posting regular relevant and engaging content such as blog posts, articles, videos and pictures can establish thought leadership.

Ah, content… the magic word. Or at least to a content marketing agency it is. A social media presence is one thing but to take your social media efforts and recruitment marketing beyond mere advertising requires a considered content marketing strategy.

Recruiting for Shell

At Southerly, part of our work for our client Shell is a content marketing campaign aimed specifically at recruitment. Shell has a very specific set of requirements and it wants to attract the very best graduates and experienced hires. However, being a global energy giant isn’t enough – bear in mind that this calibre of professional can have his or her pick of those.

Shell’s communication has to express its specific employee value proposition, including the development and training it offers, and the benefits of working for the company. We work with Shell to produce a variety of content to showcase all of these things: case studies of outstanding graduate hires and their journey with Shell; articles around Shell innovation and technical partnerships, or infographics illustrating Shell world firsts. We craft the social media posts for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ to amplify these messages and direct candidates to the stories, and ultimately the careers area of the Shell site.

It’s all about telling a 360-degree story of the company and the people who work there. If social media isn’t already a tool in the way that you tell your company story, it should be.