CULINTRO A Community for Restaurant Professionals

Recruiting Talent with Social Media


By Janet Hoffmann, President of Hoffmann and Associates

Many companies are using social media as their main tool to source and recruit talent. A recent survey conducted by Jobvite showed 92% of respondents are using or plan to use social networks to recruit new employees. The social networking site most used by employers (and most successful in gaining hires) is LinkedIn (78%) followed by Facebook (55%) and the fastest growing site is Twitter (45%).

There are many advantages to using these sites over the more traditional methods.

  • Facilitate development of short and long relationships with potential candidates.
  • Humanize your brand and make the process more personal – candidates want to connect with people not companies.
  • Allow you to reach out to the candidates rather than waiting for them to come to you.
  • Provide more information about your prospects
  • Enable you to see where your competition is hiring.

However, social networks should be considered one more tool that can assist organizations in achieving their goals. Companies are smart to consider it as part of an overall recruiting strategy that includes new and traditional methods. Just like any tool, knowledge should be gathered, its pros and cons should be evaluated, guidelines put into place to mitigate any concerns and all users thoroughly trained. Here are some ideas on integrating social networks into your overall recruiting strategy.

Build on Existing Resources

Many companies are experiencing the benefits of social media in their marketing results. Today, just about every organization has a Facebook page. Fans of your company’s Facebook page are potential candidates for employment and a resource for sourcing additional candidates. Speak with your marketing department about adding a careers page to your existing Facebook account. There you can post job openings, information about what it is like to work for your company and include employee testimonials.

Partner with those in your organization that are already using social media or have the knowledge. This includes not just your marketing and IT departments but other employees who are personally active in social media and passionate about your brand.

Targeted Sourcing

LinkedIn and Twitter both have search engines that allow you to focus your search for candidates. LinkedIn provides an advanced search option that allows you to search by location, company, title/experience, industry and keyword. Twitter search also has the capability to search by names, keywords and phrases, locations and hash tags.

Joining groups on LinkedIn provides an opportunity to target those in the field whose skills you are looking for. Join groups where potential candidates may be. Look for those answering or posting questions and find ways to engage in conversation. These individuals may have the skills you are looking for or they may be a 2nd or 3rd connection away from someone who is.


Referrals have always been a key element of successful recruiting strategies. Studies show that one in ten referrals are hired versus one in one hundred regular recruits. Referrals usually are more qualified, involve a shorter recruiting cycle, stay longer and perform better. One of the concepts social networking sites are built on is referrals. Your employee’s connections and friends place a higher value on the opinion of their friends than any other form of recommendation. Harnessing the power of referrals through social networking can be an effective strategy.

A number of companies have created widgets that their employees can load on their Facebook page. When a job is posted it appears through the widget on the employee’s Facebook page. Some widgets search their friends and connections to find someone that fits the profile. The employee can then refer the job to their friend or connection.

Many companies including Starbucks, KPMG and Zappos have engaged their employees in creating videos about what it is like to work in their organization. These videos are posted not only on their website but also on YouTube which today is the biggest search engine. The voice of an employee talking about their experience with a particular organization rings truer than any other form of advertisement and is one more method of harnessing the power of referrals.

Another way employees are becoming brand ambassadors for their companies is on company sponsored employee blog sites. Some great examples of these are Southwest, Zappos, Sodexo and Hyatt Hotels.

Build your connections on LinkedIn. You never know when they be connected to a qualified candidate for the position you are trying to fill and may be able to provide you with an introduction.

Lower Cost

Social networking sites provide a lower cost option than traditional methods of job boards and outside recruiters. Facebook ads allow you to target a specific audience such as by location. Pricing options include choices to pay per click or per view of your ad. Jobs can also be posted for free in Facebook marketplace.

Posting jobs on LinkedIn does involve a fee. However, the status bar in your profile provides a free means of posting for a position you are trying to fill. Many groups also have a job posting page and a targeted audience of candidates.

Twitter for Jobs

Twitter may not be the first resource that comes to mind when thinking about using social networks for recruiting. However, there is a great deal of activity taking place on twitter – both from employers and job seekers.

The easiest use of twitter is to post a job you are looking to fill. If you or your company don’t have a large following to start with, do a search on keyword, industry, hash tag, interest or location. This will provide you with many contacts. Many times when you follow them – they follow you back.

When you post your job use hash tags to make them stand out. Hash tags (#) are used to assist with searches. Include these in your tweets and your tweets will be included in the search. Some popular ones for employers and job seekers are #jobhunt, #hireFriday, #jobseekers, #career, #recruiting, #employment, #jobs.

Social media is here to stay. It is an effective tool to market to your guests and many companies are realizing how it can be used effectively within the organization. Recruiting your talent is a great way to begin using social media as a competitive advantage.

About Janet Hoffmann

Janet Hoffmann has an extensive restaurant background in both operations and human resources. She is currently the President of Hoffmann and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in the areas of human resources strategy, organizational effectiveness, leadership development, talent management, employee engagement, employee relations, executive coaching, social media and interim human resources executive support. Janet works with her clients to identify their needs, develop practical solutions and facilitate change to enhance their business performance through people.

Janet holds a Bachelors of Science in Hospitality Management from Cornell University and has earned her Senior Professional in Human Resources certification. She has been a speaker and presenter at numerous industry events such as the NRA Show, HR in Hospitality and the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers.

You can find out more about Hoffmann and Associates at You can reach Janet directly at 917-756-9560 or or follow her on Twitter at @hoffmannassoc.

Head back to the Culintro Report archive