Talent Acquisition


Incorporate hashtags to reach a broader network of job seekers.

By Michelle Stedman

Recruitment is so much more than finding workers to fill available positions. It’s about finding the right people who can make a valuable contribution to the company. Social media makes it easier than ever to show off corporate culture, goals, and facilities to those who could be the right fit. But how can organizations make sure the right people find their posts?

Enter in hashtags -strings of characters, such as words, phrases or acronyms, that start with the hashtag symbol and make posts searchable by users. Hashtags can expose a company to new users who aren’t following their social media accounts. Of course, not all social media platforms rely on hashtags -Facebook being the most important -and hashtags are treated differently on different platforms. That’s why it’s important to walk through best practices for using hashtags to boost recruiting efforts.

Hashtags Types

For recruitment efforts, Twitter and Instagram hashtags can be broken up into the following types:

Recruitment-specific: Hashtags in this category are related to job searching and recruitment. Popular examples include #nowhiring, #jobopening, and #careers.

Brand-specific: These hashtags are specific to the companies using them to help build brand awareness. They can simply be a brand’s name (like #Ford or #Chrysler) or a phrase directly related to the company (like #HootsuiteLife).

Conversations: Hashtags here are used to join a conversation around a particular topic. Examples like #engineering and #engineeringproblems are used by engineers, while #writerslife and #writerproblems are used by authors and bloggers.

Always-on: Exposure Ninja defines these hashtags as those that have communities built around them and are always in use. #MondayMotivation is used for posts related to getting over the Monday Blues, while #ThrowbackThursday is dedicated to posts associated with nostalgia.

Be sure to take a look at what hashtags other companies and competitors are using and how they use them. For example, L’Oreal uses #jobs on their careers Twitter feed.

Instagram Best Practices

It’s no secret that this image-sharing platform is one of the most popular social media platforms amongst young adults. In fact, more than half of people aged 18 to 29 use Instagram to share photos and short videos. Companies are able to promote their brand and workday on Instagram thanks to the search function that relies heavily on hashtags.

The main components of an Instagram post are the photo, caption, hashtag, and link. While up to 2,200 characters can be used in a single caption, users will only see the first few lines in their feed: In other words, short and sweet is best. While it’s tempting to stuff captions with hashtags, it’s better to stick with only a few per post. Not only do too many tags look unprofessional, but non-specific ones (such as #job or #work) are also used so often that posts could get buried within minutes.

It’s also best to incorporate hashtags naturally into the caption. For example, something like:

#CompanyA is #nowhiring new site supervisors! Visit jobs.companyA.com and apply today.

One caveat to posting on Instagram is that clickable links aren’t allowed. Though the web address can still appear in the caption like in the example above, a link shortener tool like Bitly should be used to shorten the address. Including this shortened link in a caption saves space to give more room for actual content. Another option is to include the link in the image itself and direct people in the caption to apply there. It’s a bad idea to post about job vacancies without giving any direction for potential employees to go. Users can also put the link in the profile, where it is clickable.

What type of content to share on Instagram might depend on the company’s overall content strategy. Organizations still in early stages of working out content strategy should try looking at their competitors to see what they’re posting. This is also a great way to see which hashtags are best to use.

Twitter Best Practices

With more than 100 million users, Twitter is an excellent platform for finding potential workers. Like Instagram, Twitter relies heavily on hashtags to share and find content, but there are significant differences. Twitter only allows 140 characters, forcing users to create short and catchy captions. Links are also allowed, making it easier to direct people to job listings.

It’s best practice to use no more than two hashtags per tweet. Similar to Instagram captions, tweets with too many hashtags come off as unprofessional and take away from the limited characters available for content. Incorporate the hashtag naturally into tweets and include a short link to the application at the end. For example, a game development studio could write something like:

Looking to launch your #construction career? We’re looking for site supervisors to join our team. #hiring [short link]

The history of a hashtag also matters and should be checked. While it’s tempting to include a trending hashtag for more exposure, oftentimes these are associated with controversies, political missteps, and breaking news events. Fortunately, Twitter lists trending hashtags underneath users’ profile info, giving quick access to all associated tweets. For non-trending hashtags, simply use Twitter’s search function, which groups results into popular tweets, photos, and videos.

Putting It All Together

Though Twitter and Instagram use hashtags in different ways, fitting them into a coherent recruitment strategy doesn’t have to be difficult. Twitter allows users to share photos and videos, meaning you can use the same content originally used for Instagram (keep in mind that adding a photo or video takes away from your character count). Many always-on hashtags used on Twitter are also used on Instagram, reducing the need to research relevant hashtags.

As with any social media marketing strategy, recruitment is all about creating a consistent brand image across all platforms. Hashtags accomplish this while also expanding reach to new users. Did someone tweet #nowhiring?

Michelle Stedman is vice president of operations and talent management strategist of BirdDogHR.

Tags: September-2016

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