Social Media Spotlight on Instagram

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By: BrightMove Recruiting Software

Jer Langhans, Global Talent Acquisition Manager for Expedia and former Brand Manager for Starbucks, says that “Instagram puts the ‘media’ into social media”, according to The Undercover Recruiter. If Instagram is so crucial to the way social media pushes information, what benefits might be drawn from utilizing this site for recruitment?

Whether common sense or a new way of looking at Instagram, consider these tips and potential benefits for using Instagram in your recruiting plan:


Followers to your Instagram page may not be limited to employees and customers. Pay attention to those that follow your page but have not applied for a position. These may be passive candidates that could successfully fill an open position, sitting right under your nose. 


A topic that has become like a broken record, Branding is always an underlying factor when it comes to social media. What you post on any site about your company influences opinions, generates interest, and projects an overall image for the organization. As on other sites, choose the photos you post wisely, make sure you link back to your corporate website, and try to get as many employees as possible to follow you as this shows support and engagement. Regular activity is, as always, a crucial component to brand building on social media sites. 


Comment on photos, follow a few accounts that follow you. In order to get potential employees engaged in the process, you have to be engaged yourself. Convey the message that your organization is employee-focused, trendy, or fun to work for. It’s also a good idea to get employees involved. Let them know about the company’s presence on Instagram and encourage them to follow and share in order to drive up popularity. 

Involve Employees 

There should be an initiative for employees to follow you, as well as for them to post pictures and links back to your company page. This will show candidates that your employees are engaged an active in the company culture. You can also post photos of employee events or employees recognition announcements to serve this purpose. 


Search for candidates using keywords or hashtags. Instagram uses username or hashtags in order to search for specific accounts/posts, so be sure to use appropriate hashtags for your posts.  The Undercover Recruiter cautions, “When uploading photographs, ensure you use hashtags – but don’t hashtag every element of the photo and be careful. Some Instagram users will hashtag too many times on their photo with useless tags – meaning that a search may only bring up 50% useful results – don’t be one of the users who spams the tags feed”. Brand new to searching using hashtags? “Instagram [has] an interesting partnership deal with FourSquare – when a user posts a photo, they have an option to tag it to a location (powered by FourSquare’s results). Want to find someone locally? Search for #[location] and then through the Location tags provided on that search, or click the blue link on a photo (the location link) and it will bring up all photos tagged to that location (in the photo above, clicking on ‘Trafalgar Square’ will bring up all photos tagged to that location). Create a hashtag especially for your brand, and also maybe run a few competitions or contests. This will build your fanbase and allow [you] to see whether the people who like your brand are the [people] you want to employ.”

This isn’t a site that candidates are looking at to find serious job opportunities. This is a site that you may find passive candidates on and that will connect to you when they see a post you’ve created for a job opportunity. If you build up your popularity enough, users may start to look on their own at your page for postings on opportunities. 


Marketing company Vocus made the decision to implement social media recruitment into their overall strategy. “We were working on campus recruiting at the time, and it happens that Instagram is a platform that many college seniors are active on.” Vocus had a unique space they were looking to show in order to convey their specific office culture. Photographs and the Instagram format seemed to fit into that mold for them. “Instagram is helpful at any event, from happy hours to the National Collegiate Sales Competition. It helps us stay connected with members of the team that are there and lets us show what we’re doing as a company.”

Instagram was looked at by Vocus as a way for them to reach out to passive candidates. “Hires are the overarching success metric for social recruiting content – specifically when an interviewee says they found out about the position through a given social platform.” Engaging is a crucial component of making this strategy successful. “User interaction is also important…we [Vocus] track likes, comments, shares and overall reach.”

While Facebook and Twitter are planned well ahead of time, “Instagram and Pinterest are more off the cuff,” Segovia said. “Say there’s a basketball tournament at lunch — we’ll just throw that photo up on Instagam.” Segovia also posts a photo of a staff member along with a small blurb about them to highlight specific team members. This allows current employees to learn about their coworkers and candidates the chance to learn about the type of people employed by Vocus. Getting employees involved in posting, Vocus offers incentives like gift cards to employees that post on Instagram and mention the company.

From a recruitment perspective, Instagram allows opportunities for engagement, branding, and relationship-building to current and future employees. It’s an easy-to-use medium that can easily be added to enhance a current social media recruitment plan.

Comment with any other ideas you have used or come across for utilizing Instagram!

For more recruiting and engagement strategies, continue on in the Social Media Series for articles about: LinkedIn. Facebook. Twitter. Google+. YouTube. Pinterest. Yammer. Quora, Dribbble, and GitHub. Also look into advice on Managing Employee Use of Social Media, How to Create A Social Media Policy and Social Media Branding and Marketing strategies.

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