Love it or hate it, social media has become a valuable tool in the search for new technicians.
Facebook alone has two billion active users each month, according to a June 2017 report from CNBC news. Trailing far behind are Instagram at 700 million users each month, Twitter at 328 million monthly users and Snapchat at 166 million users. Then there’s LinkedIn, the “professional’s” social media channel, with 500 million overall users as of April 2017, according to Fortune magazine.
All those users aren’t just posting selfies and stalking their exes online, either. The Aberdeen Group research firm reported that 73 percent of millennials (defined by the Pew Research Center as those between the ages of 18 and 34 as of 2015) found their last job on a social networking site.
In other words, if you’re not using social media to help in your search for skilled technicians, you’re missing out on millions of potential candidates.
However, for those equipment dealers who already are using social media for recruiting, the outcome has been somewhat disappointing.
“We are getting some response, but it’s not necessarily what we’re looking for,” explained Santiago Bautista, a recruiter for Road Machinery based in Phoenix. “We receive a diverse group of individuals who apply for various jobs, like a chef applying for a mechanic’s position. Whether LinkedIn or Facebook, it’s relatively the same outcome. It really is hit-and-miss.”
Likewise, Randy Fetterolf, of Cleveland Brothers in Pennsylvania, said, “Candidates tend to be entry level. We can’t reach those that have the 5- or 10-year experience level using social media.”
Those in the equipment distribution industry aren’t the only ones reporting mixed reviews with social recruiting, according to an article in Strategic HR Review. That resource concurs, along with numerous HR professionals, that the key is to use the right social media in the correct way to reach your targeted audience.
To begin with, not all social media platforms are created equal.
For instance, if you’re trying to reach millennials or even younger generations, AdWeek recommends you use Snapchat over Facebook and Instagram instead of Twitter.
That doesn’t bode well for Facebook, which in early 2017 announced a new feature allowing users to post jobs on their business pages and target them to certain demographics. The company then followed up in September 2017 by partnering with ZipRecruiter, a job listing aggregator, to allow employers to click a box and broadcast job postings to a wider audience beyond just those users who follow their business pages.
AdWeek points out that Facebook is now “a popular social media platform for parents and a handful of digital-savvy grandparents.” Younger generations are “looking for a new platform to avoid those embarrassing comments from mom and dad.”
Fetterolf has seen the decline of Facebook firsthand while speaking to students at area high schools and technical centers.
“In the past five visits, I’ve actually polled my audience as to what social media they use,” he said. “At the most, I’m getting three people that use Facebook out of a class of 20. Most of them are using Snapchat and Instagram.”
As AdWeek points out, millennials are very visually oriented. Their preference for images and videos over words explains why they find Snapchat and Instagram so appealing.
To make the most of Snapchat as a recruiting tool, look no further than Taco Bell and McDonald’s. They and other companies buy geo-targeted sponsored visual stories and link them to their websites’ career pages.
Snapchat also offers Campus Stories, which allows users near selected schools to post and view stories. And then there are Snapcodes for those with little to no budget for recruiting. Snapcodes allow companies to create an online code that can be placed just about anywhere. Snapchat users can take a photo of the code, which uses the app to redirect them to the business’s website.
Workable, a recruiting software maker, recommends that companies interact regularly with their Snapchat followers, share their company’s brand and culture through their postings, and be creative with visuals, yet keep it “raw.” Perfect pictures and videos aren’t required, as long as what you share gets the point across: that you’re hiring and that your company is a good place to work.
If you’re recruiting on Instagram, Workable suggests putting more effort into your visuals while, again, always promoting your brand. No clickable links are allowed on Instagram photos, so if you want to send job candidates back to your career webpage, include links in your user profile or your photo captions.
Ultimately, if you want to recruit new technicians using social media channels, you’re going to need time – not only to become technically savvy but also to nurture those online relationships.
“It’s working,” Bautista points out. “I’m sure if we dedicate more time and more resources to it, then things are bound to turn around.”