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social media

5 point guide to using Social Media to attract Top Talent

Social media is inescapable, and it’s reach is immeasurable. Tapping in to the power of social media can give recruiters the power to engage and interact directly with the leaders of the future – but using social media effectively as part of your recruitment campaign is not quite as easy as sending some tweets and setting up a Facebook page.

Now that just about every business in the world is trying to reach out to potential employees and customers using social media, it’s increasingly harder to stand out from the digital white noise. At Gradvert, we’ve heavily incorporated social media into our attraction and recruitment process from day one, and believe the rewards of social media recruiting can be incredible – if you invest enough time in it.

There’s an almost endless list of ways you can use social media to attract the next generation of top talent. In this guide, we’ve broken it down into 5 elements which we believe will enable you to take your social media recruitment strategy to the next level.


Step 1 – Know your target audience

A key part of launching a social media campaign of any kind, not just recruiting, is understanding who you’re trying to reach – without this, you cannot construct any other part of your strategy. Aside from knowing which qualifications you’re looking for from your graduates, try to think more holistically about the perfect candidate and build a persona around them.

These questions might be a good starting point:

  • Which social media channels are they most likely to use? Facebook and Twitter are generally a given amongst graduates, but what kind of person are you looking for? Someone more creative might use Pinterest as a source of inspiration; someone who has a confident and engaging personality might watch and create videos on Youtube.
  • What would their hobbies be and how would this make them suitable for the role?
  • What kind of publications or public figures would they be likely to follow?
  • What subjects would they have ideally studied, and is there an online platform for these subjects that they are likely to engage with? For example, some universities set up social media accounts for different departments.
  • What extra-curricular activities might they take part in, and how are they involved with these online? This could take the form of Facebook or LinkedIn groups.

The clearer a picture you can paint of the person you’re looking for, the easier it will be to know where they spend their time online, and therefore where you should be spending yours in order to engage with them.


Step 2 – Make yourself visible

The quality of content you share on social media and the amount of time you spend on it will be worthless if nobody is seeing it. With the number of users and posts increasing exponentially by the day, there’s a lot of competition to face to ensure top talent sees your content over other company’s.

One of the most basic ways to get your channel seen by more people is by gaining more followers – simple in theory, but a little trickier in execution. Twitter is the channel that makes this easiest for you; once you know which accounts your candidates are likely to follow, you can then start to follow your candidates in the hope that they return the favour. Tools like Manage Flitter make this process a little easier, but it still takes a lot of time to build up those numbers.

A more expensive, but often more effective, way of getting your company in front of top talent is through the use of paid advertisements on social media. Just about all channels offer the opportunity to bump your post to the top of your followers’ feeds, but you need to be clever about it.

When sponsoring or boosting a post, on Facebook, LinkedIn or elsewhere, the key is the audience you’re actually promoting it to – the importance of which we covered in Step 1. Most social media networks allow you to narrow down your audience by age, location, interests – LinkedIn even lets you choose the field they’re currently working in. The more focused you can make your target audience, the more successful your paid ads will be and the more return you will see on your investment.


Step 3 – Develop a community

Once you’ve started to build up a following of graduates, you need to give them a reason to engage with you. The best companies on social media, in any industry, are the ones who create an online community for their followers to feel a part of and get involved in.

The key to a building a successful online community is giving followers the opportunity and the motivation to interact with you, and to make the jump from being just a spectator to being a content creator for your feed.

At Gradvert, we understand the important of building a community to engage with employers and graduates alike and this is what inspired us to launch #GradsHour, a Twitter session which takes place every Wednesday (without fail!) and allows businesses to share their current vacancies live with potential candidates. With regular tweeters including the NHS, Arcadia and universities across the country, developing #GradsHour has enabled us to increase brand awareness of Gradvert, build our profile with big names in a range of industries and also provide an online forum for graduates looking for support in finding a job.

Think about how you can increase engagement on your social media feeds – how can you get your followers to create content for you? We used a hashtag to start our conversation, which is a quick and easy method, but takes dedication and commitment to see long term results. You could launch a competition which requires followers to submit their own entries and opinions, or ask open questions that give graduates something to think about – however you open the door to start talking to your followers, make sure you reward those who engage by consistently sharing and replying to their contributions.


Step 4 – Show you’re an ‘employer of choice’

Attracting top talent through social media is all about using social channels to build a brand that graduates want to work for, that they would choose to work for – it’s about becoming an ‘employer of choice’.

Being an ‘employer of choice’ has become somewhat of a buzzword in a time where skills shortages are aplenty, and candidates have as much power to choose their employer as the employer does to choose them, but the phrase means so much more than that – it represents the rise of a completely new kind of corporate culture.

Giving graduates the right to choose, and not simply be chosen, is an undoubtable sign that attracting top talent is now about more than offering a good salary and the promise of promotion. A report from Harvard Business Review explores this, and states that “Today, younger people are looking for an additional form of compensation: an organisation that allows them to do meaningful work, while offering opportunities for personal growth and autonomy.”

It goes on to say that “The next generation is telling companies that to become an employer of choice, they must become social value creators.”

Social media is the perfect medium to communicate these values and opportunities to potential candidates; don’t just post about job descriptions and ask what your followers are up to, expose your company on a deeper level and start sharing your core values, your vision, and your mission statement. This allows top talent to engage with your company in a much more personal way and will attract those who share your core values – which are precisely the people you want.

In terms of informing graduates about the exciting opportunities you can offer them, don’t just tell them – show them. Sharing original visual content like photos, infographics and videos with your followers will allow them to see themselves working for you in a more realistic way – the Facebook page for BP Careers is an excellent example of this.


Step 5 – Measure, review and adapt

The final element of a successful social media strategy is knowing whether it worked. To do this we must first understand the goals of the campaign (is it number of CVs received? Number of placements? Level of engagement?) and then generate ways to measure them.

Whatever your targets are, think about how you can quantify these into data and, more importantly, how you can be sure that the results you’re getting are coming from social media, as opposed to any of your other marketing channels. Tricks like setting up bespoke landing pages and separate email addresses which are only shared on social will give you a good insight into how many leads are coming from there, and tools like Google Analytics are invaluable for showing you the quality of traffic coming to your website from social media through measures like bounce rate, goal conversions and time spent on site.

Successfully putting your company, graduate scheme or latest vacancy on the social media map requires a lot of time, planning, dedication and consistency, but could be a crucial way of attracting top talent to make you their employer of choice.


Looking to bring on new top talent? Looking at setting up a Graduate Scheme? then download the – Ultimate guide to Graduate Recruitment

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Gradvert work with companies across the UK to attract, recruit and retain top talent, specialising in the transport and logistics sector. To find out more about the graduate recruitment services we provide, call us on 0203 693 7380 or email

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