Recruitment Marketing Social Recruiting

Creating a Social Recruiting Strategy that Gets Results (Without Overthinking It)

Creating a social recruiting strategy that gets results (without overthinking it)
Profile photo of Aaron Schwartzbord
Written by Aaron Schwartzbord

Social recruiting can seem like it takes a lot of planning and effort to start, but it doesn’t need to be that way! We recently spoke with Jessica Summerfield from Advocate Aurora Health and Jana Luitjens from Parexel who shared their proven structure for starting a successful social recruiting strategy.

Creating a Social Recruiting Strategy that Gets Results (Without Overthinking It)
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One of the most important aspects of any Recruitment Marketing strategy, no matter the channel, is content. It’s content that will interest, educate, excite and engage your talent audience beyond just “apply now.” Recruiting content could be employee stories, quotes or testimonials, company awards and examples of your company culture (to name a few) in written, video, audio or photo/graphic formats. Really, the sky’s the limit! 

At Rally, we often hear members of our community ask us, “What type of recruiting content should I publish to attract talent on social media?” or tell us, “I am still working on my content plan so I’m not ready to start posting to our social channels yet.” 

First off, you already have recruiting content that you can start using right now. A quote from an employee is content, and so is a photo of your “employee of the month” or the staff lunch last week. And second, while I love a good marketing plan, oftentimes we can be so focused on thinking about and planning our ideal strategy, that we’ve missed the opportunity to just engage talent and attract talent. You just need to start putting content out into the world and see how it does. Then your strategy and long term plan can be built around what you’ve been doing that works, and less focused on that perfect thing you think you should be doing. You’ll also be able to adjust and hone your strategy in real time to get better results faster. Imagine spending months on a plan and then it does nothing! What are you supposed to do then? 

Social recruiting is a great medium to test and optimize your Recruitment Marketing content plan. To get some first-hand examples and pro tips, we spoke with two members of the Rally Community, Jessica Summerfield and Jana Luitjens, who have developed robust and successful social media strategies at their companies. By using some creative thinking, focusing in on their hiring goals and testing and measuring different types of Recruitment Marketing content, they’ve each built social content machines that actively engage and convert their talent audience into candidates. 

As Jessica reminded us, “When we’re thinking about creativity and how we can be more creative in our Recruitment Marketing, sometimes it’s not overthinking it, but starting somewhere and continuing to evolve the content that we’re putting out over time.” 

Jessica and Jana have created a proven structure that they use to build their Recruitment Marketing campaigns (social and other). The 3 attributes are: creativity, being multi-channel and posting consistently. We’re going to dive deeper into each of these elements in a bit, but first, let’s meet our experts! 

Jessica Summerfield and Jana Luitjens’ structure for effective Recruitment Marketing campaigns

Jessica Summerfield and Jana Luitjens’ structure for effective Recruitment Marketing campaigns.

Rally Note: To hear directly from Jessica and Jana, watch our RallyFwd Virtual Conference from December 2022 on demand. 

Meet the Experts: Jessica Summerfield and Jana Luitjens

Jessica Summerfield, Talent Acquisition Marketing Manager, Advocate Aurora Health

Jessica Summerfield, Talent Acquisition Marketing Manager, Advocate Aurora Health

Jessica Summerfield is the Talent Acquisition Marketing Manager at Advocate Aurora Health, one of the top 12 not-for-profit healthcare organizations in the U.S. Advocate Aurora Health currently has about 75,000 team members and about 5,000 open jobs. 

Jana Luitjens, Senior Recruitment Marketing Specialist, Parexel

Jana Luitjens, Senior Recruitment Marketing Specialist, Parexel

Jana Luitjens is a Senior Recruitment Marketing Specialist at Parexel, a clinical research organization supporting its clients with clinical trials of new treatments. They have roughly 19,000 employees globally and are hiring for more than 1,500 new employees, with a team of four recruitment marketers. Jana shared, “Recruitment Marketing, as a function, is quite deeply embedded within Parexel and we’ve had it here for about 10 years.”

Sourcing creative social recruiting content

We’re going to start with finding and creating social recruiting content. Our experts remind us that you can find content in different ways, but you’ve got to look around your company creatively. Especially if you’re struggling to figure out what to post and need some fresh ideas, start by looking at your current employees. 

One example of sourcing content comes from Jana at Parexel. She started by saying “Creating content from scratch can be a lot of work! Think about what internal resources you have to pull from. Maybe it’s a presentation from a conference or an internal training.”

Jana got a great idea from an internal Lunch and Learn where 2 employees were sharing what it’s like to be a project leader (which happens to be one of Parexel’s main hiring needs). She said, “I listened to the Lunch and Learn and thought these employees were so engaging, so I reached out and asked if they were ok if I shared their presentation publically. They were so excited that we wanted to feature them and their work. We ended up turning this into a series of posts all around our project leader roles.”

A LinkedIn post that was based on an internal Lunch and Learn about the Project Leader role at Parexel. 

Another way to source content is from your employees’ personal social profiles. Jana explained that with LinkedIn, if you’re not connected with every employee at your company personally (which may be hard depending on your company size), you can use a LinkedIn admin account to go through the mentions that the company has received and find employees who have posted. If it sounds like a good story to promote publicly, you can reach out to them and ask if you can use it. 

Jana continued, “Doing this can also help the employee: they feel appreciated and seen by the company, and they can build up their personal brand.”

This is exactly how Jessica created one very success social post for Advocate Aurora Health. 

She explained, “I got the idea by scrolling through LinkedIn. One of our HR directors posted that a couple of our sites had done a graduation celebration for everybody there who had recently finished an educational program. It included everything from a very simple certification to a Ph.D. These teams had a graduation ceremony and my colleague shared the photos on LinkedIn. I reached out to her and asked if we could post them on our channel and then checked with the team members who were featured to make sure that they were okay with it. Ultimately, we got their “ok” and shared it on our corporate channels.”

This is a great example of finding truly engaging and authentic content. Jessica continued, “This works not just because it’s sharing something that happened at our company. It works because it also connects to our employee value proposition (EVP) that we recognize growth and the individuals who work here.” 

left LinkedIn post created by a member of the Advocate Aurora Health team celebrating employee graduations. Right post Jessica created for Advocate Aurora Health’s corporate LinkedIn based on the content colleague created. 

On the left: a LinkedIn post created by a member of the Advocate Aurora Health team celebrating employee graduations. On the Right: The post Jessica created for Advocate Aurora Health’s corporate LinkedIn based on the content her colleague created.

To wrap up this example, Jessica offered some information about the outcome of this post. She said, “I went back to my colleague who had originally posted about the graduation and asked how many people the original post reached. She reached about 2,500 people (and she has just about 500 connections). So her post was seen by 5x the number of connections she has. And it performed very well on our corporate channels as well, reaching about 9,000 people in our audience (almost 17% of our followers). So, this content, showing our culture and values, really got to a lot of people.” 

Multi-channel social recruiting strategy

There are a lot of channels to share your content on. According to data from our Recruitment Marketing tool, Rally Inside, practitioners use up to 29 organic channels each month to attract and engage talent. If you’re just starting out using social recruiting strategies at your company, this can be overwhelming!

Rally Note: To learn more about the channels being used by over 1,000 Rally Inside users, download our Rally Inside Benchmark Report: The Best & Worst Recruitment Marketing Channels

Jana told us, “Parexel is working with LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We post our content on all of them. We also post about once a week on Glassdoor.”

For Parexel, they’ve been posting on social media for a long time and built up their channels. If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of channels you think you need to be posting on, start with one and develop a following there. Then when you’re ready you can add another channel. 

When you do have a number of channels, it’s a good strategy to connect your content across the different platforms. The content can also have multiple purposes. For Respiratory Care Week, Jessica created a dedicated multi-channel strategy. She told us that, since respiratory therapists are in high demand, her goal was to recognize their team members in this field and also generate new applicants for these positions. 

Jessica explained, “We shared three different types of posts, highlighting our respiratory teams and team members. We posted this content on a few different channels, which tied our celebration of Respiratory Care Week together across platforms. This allowed us to really drive a lot of awareness and applications throughout that week.”

multi-channel social media posts Advocate Aurora Health honoring Respiratory Care Week. 

A variety of multi-channel social media posts from Advocate Aurora Health honoring Respiratory Care Week.

While posting across different corporate pages on popular social platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) is one form of multi-channel social recruiting, also remember to consider each of your employees’ social profiles as a potential channel that can expand the reach of your content.  

Parexel has a dedicated employee advocacy program but Jana recently tried LinkedIn’s native employee advocacy tool. If you don’t have an existing employee advocacy program or tool, this could really help you get started in pushing sharable content to employees. 

Consistency in social recruiting

Consistency in your social recruiting is vital. The only way to build a following and get the reach you want is to continue sharing engaging content week after week. And the algorithms used by social platforms reward users who are sharing consistently. 

Jana explained her posting schedule. “We have two slots per week to post content on our corporate social media channels. One of them is actually on Saturdays because no other department was posting on Saturdays, so my team asked if we could have it,” she said.

Their other slot to post content is on Tuesdays, which they’ve branded the weekly post as Talent Tuesday, where they share employee stories. 

Consistency can bring about results you aren’t expecting. Jana was surprised when she looked at which social post had the highest number of clicks. It turned out to be a pretty general “We are hiring” post. Jana realized that this post did so well because it was one in a series that told a story. She explained, “Candidates want to know what it’s like to work at the company and, once you’ve provided that information to them, they can imagine themselves there, then a post like this has the ability to get a lot of clicks like this one did.”

Parexel’s most clicked social media post of year. general worked because it was part of series that told a story about company

Parexel’s most clicked social media post of the year. Even though this post is general, it worked because it was part of a series that told a story about the company. 

Jana and her team have continued to improve this general post and discovered that making them about one specific department or job role really worked well in their Saturday slot. “Don’t overthink it. You might find out that a simple, consistent post works. We have tested a few other content types for our Saturday slot, and this one continues to work best.”

Rally Note: To learn more about how to launch a 4-week Recruitment Marketing campaign that creates awareness for your employer brand, builds a talent pipeline and generates quality applicants for key jobs, register for our Virtual Bootcamp: Recruitment Marketing Campaign Strategy

Defining and proving your success with social recruiting

Jessica explained that different posts have different goals. “A lot of times, especially with social media, we think the goal is just engagement or just increasing reach. Sometimes lower reach is okay when you’re getting the content to the right people,” she said. So make sure you’re thinking about your goals for a particular effort or even a specific post. Jessica reminded us that ending up with just 5 link clicks may sound like a small amount, but if they get 2 applications from those links, it’s a success!

Sometimes you may want to try something a little different. Jessica shared that sometimes they boost posts, paying the social platform to increase the content’s reach. She explained, “We did some posts about different career events we were doing throughout the Chicago suburbs. I knew that we don’t have as big of a Facebook following in the Chicagoland area, so paying a little to boost the post helped us reach people we couldn’t have otherwise gotten to purely organically.”

After boosting those posts, they ended up getting a lot of clicks (about 400) which came out to be less than $0.50 cents per click. In this case, the metric Jessica was focused on was keeping the cost per click low while reaching as many people as possible. Jessica advises, “Think about what success means for each of the different types of posts that you’re doing and make sure that you’re measuring that as much as you can.”

In terms of data and measurement, Jessica uses a number of tools for this purpose. She uses Google Analytics to see data specific to their careers site. She pays attention to the keywords people are using in search engines to find their web content. She uses Rally’s Recruitment Marketing tool, Rally Inside, to identify which content topics work best on which channels, and where that content is sending people. She’ll also compare her website traffic and social media engagement to the data coming from her applicant tracking system.

Examples of data Jessica uses to measure and analyze social recruiting success- chart at the top comes from Google Analytics, showing data specific to careers site. The Charts at bottom from Rally Inside and shows which social posts performed best.  

Examples of data Jessica uses to measure and analyze her social recruiting success. The chart at the top comes from Google Analytics, showing data specific to her careers site. The Charts at the bottom is from Rally Inside and shows which social posts performed best.  

Jessica told us, “Last October, we had a huge drop in applicants in the month of October until the final week, which was Respiratory Care Week. In that last week, there was an increase in applicants for respiratory roles, and we attributed that (at least in part) to our content.” 

Rally Note: Sign up for your free Rally Inside account and discover what Recruitment Marketing strategies work best to attract talent.

Jessica and Jana both reminded us that you can’t do everything, but you can start with something. Recruitment Marketing content can seem overwhelming, especially on social media. There are so many channels and you may feel there is a lot to learn. So start with something (anything) small, be sure that you are tracking and measuring your results, and continue to optimize your content each week and month. In no time, you’ll find success with social recruiting!

Thank you Jana and Jessica for sharing your strategies with us. To watch their presentation, and get even more next-level talent attraction strategies for 2023, watch December’s RallyFwd Virtual Conference On Demand. 

Creating a Social Recruiting Strategy that Gets Results (Without Overthinking It)
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About the Author

Profile photo of Aaron Schwartzbord

Aaron Schwartzbord

Aaron Schwartzbord is the Director of Marketing for Rally Recruitment Marketing. A data-driven marketer with 15+ years of experience, he is passionate about helping companies of all sizes and industries grow with creative strategies and efficient, streamlined processes.

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