THE BLOG
10/31/2016 02:35 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How To Recruit Top Millennial Talent With Social Media

2016-10-29-1477701857-7769738-millenialsmallbusinessownersworkingonsocialms.jpg
Image credit: PhotoDune

In a competitive marketplace, recruiting top Millennial talent can be a challenge for small businesses. Companies no longer have the upper hand in hiring. Prospective employees can afford to be picky when it comes to choosing their next position. Offering a high salary won't be enough to ensure your would-be employee accepts the offer. Everything from workplace culture fit to non-salaried compensation package benefits can make a huge difference.

Small businesses also face a distinct challenge that larger companies don't experience. Without massive resources or brand clout of major companies like Google and 3M (recently ranked the #1 company for Millennials according to Forbes) or the attractive workplace culture of businesses like Buzzfeed (which ranked as #3) and Zappos, small businesses can struggle to even get their name out there as a desired place to work. Part of the recruitment process then hinges not only on your business's ability to find great talent but also on elevating your business's profile as a top choice for Millennials.

Here's how to get started:

1.Get the word out about your company culture.
Why should a job seeker pick your business over the competition? What makes your business unique? Workplace culture is key to recruiting and retaining top talent, argues Emily Oswalt, a social media manager at 21 Handshake. Oswalt recommends using social media to build relationships with prospective hires. "Highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to jump ship and go work for the competition." Encourage your employees to share images of day-to-day workplace life, be that the team's "Tuesday Taco" lunch tradition or surprise birthday balloons for a co-worker.

Use hashtags like #bestcompany and #companyculture. Or take a page out of the Zappos playbook with company specific tags. Zappos employee uses tags like #zappiversary and #zapponians when sharing photos on Instagram, further solidifying the company's culture.

2.Target the right Millennial talent with Facebook ads.
I've written before how online sales can feel a bit like an endless string of online dates, and the same goes for talent recruitment. At first, the dating pool seems huge with endless choices and opportunities- and that's a great thing! But if you're looking for "the one," dating (and recruiting) can start to feel exhausting. The recruiting experts at BetterTeam recommend a unique approach to recruiting: targeted Facebook ads.
Image credit: screenshot

Check out the sample ad the team created to hire baristas. (above) The ad copy concisely conveys an essential message about workplace culture: we're serious about award-winning coffee and are just as selective as you about coffee are when it comes to hiring top talent. In this example, BetterTeam is recruiting an experienced barista for Chicago, so they use Facebook's ad filters to geo-target the ad to anyone in Chicago that has "barista" in their job title or listed as "interests."

3.Recruit talent before they need a job.
Don't wait for top talent to come to you with a job application. There's a high probability that the most sought-after employees are already gainfully employed. That doesn't mean, however, these employees love their jobs or can't be convinced to switch. Your mission: identify this talent and find out what could motivate them to leave their current company to join yours. Use LinkedIn to search for top talent in your marketplace and the send an invitation to connect. Invite this talent to your next company-wide networking event.

Does LinkedIn show you have one or more connections in common? Request an introduction from one of these connections and invite folks out for coffee or lunch. Take time to listen to their professional goals. Do you get the sense that they love their current job but would like more flexible working hours/telecommuting options? Maybe they're worried about career advancement and don't feel like their current company is investing in them for the long-term. By identifying these concerns, you'll be able to best position your company as an attractive alternative when it's time to get serious about an offer.

Remember, recruiting talent away from an existing job requires a light touch at first. Like any sales role, you don't want to come on too strong and scare them away! Take time to listen to their needs and, when they're ready for a more serious conversation; you can then share why your company would be a great fit.

Bottom line:

There's a false expectation that you can recruit top Millennial talent with just a few tweets. The recruitment process is much more complicated. Social media is a silver bullet for recruitment woes. It can - and should - play a significant role in your recruitment strategy. Use social media to build your company culture reputation, identify top talent in your city, and ultimately set the stage to convince this talent to join your team.