Talent Acquisition

Instagram recruiting: strategy & examples

May 8, 2019

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Instagram recruiting: strategy & examples

11 min read

Instagram recruiting gives you the opportunity to tap into one of the best unexpected talent sources.  Trailing Facebook and YouTube, Instagram clocks in at a whopping 1 billion active users a month. 500 million of those are active every day. Such an engaged audience would be a shame to waste in your hiring process. Instagram recruiting is worth a shot.

Digital recruitment is crucial for expanding your talent pools. And good news: Instagram’s user base expands worldwide. Sourcing for a specific location? That’s easy to accomplish on the platform, too. Read on to figure out how to source on Instagram (and boost your employer branding game).  

Build an Instagram recruiting strategy

Social media is useful for hiring in two main ways: employer branding and sourcing. Geared toward visual media, Instagram provides a space for your company to give a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to work there. Recruiters, individually, can also use their pages to post and network with other like-minded people.

Similarly, users of the app can post field-specific events they go to or projects they’re working on. If you thought Instagram was only a sea of Facetuned selfies, you’re not far from the truth. However, you can still tap into the hordes of potential talent that inhabits Instagram.

Step 1: Employer branding

Before you start your candidate outreach on Instagram, you need to build your employer brand on the platform. If potential talent clicks on your company or personal profile and finds one lone picture of a desk plant, they won’t take the bait. There are multiple ways to show the “human” side to your brand. Here are the steps you can take to showcase your company culture on Instagram.

1. Pick the right username, bio, and profile picture.

Your Instagram profile is the only place you can post links, so use this space wisely. If you have 10,000+ followers, you can post Instagram stories that allow viewers to “swipe up” and go to a provided link. But if you’re just getting your bearings on the platform, this likely won’t be an option at first. Especially if you’re a small company, it’s important to set the stage on your profile first and foremost.

Your username should be simple and easy to remember. If you’re hard to find, you won’t be found. If your company’s name is available, take it. You can also try to get it by DMing the account with it or using copyright claims! When all else fails, use a word tagged on the end (rather than random numbers) that is relevant to your brand. Keep it identifiable and easy to understand. Your profile picture should match all of your other social profiles and be simple, as well. A logo works well, here.

Tip: Only create a separate careers Instagram recruiting profile if your target candidates differ greatly from your customers! An example of an instance in which this would work is @disneycareers:

disney instagram recruiting

An Instagram bio is limited to 150 characters. In less than a tweet, you need to explain what your company is all about! While your Instagram can be used to push your product, it’s better-suited for employer branding. For that reason, use your tagline and relevant company hashtags. But also mention that you’re hiring and showing potential new hires what it’s like to work with you! Drop that careers site link in the designated area.

recruitee instagram bio recruiting

(Example from our Recruitee Instagram bio. Follow us @Recruitee for more inspiration!)

2. Take pictures in your company’s natural habitat.

Potential candidates will want to see what’s going on behind the scenes at your company. While this can look staged, if you take photos during natural occurrences in the office, it has less of a chance of looking fake. Don’t just tout that ping-pong table. Take pictures of things relevant talent would find interesting, such as:

  • Office upgrades;
  • Company milestones;
  • New hires;
  • Birthday parties;
  • Discussion panels;
  • Events;
  • The view from office windows;
  • Clean desks with branded merch;
  • Customer and employee testimonials;
  • Relevant memes, even.

The options are almost endless. Here’s an example from @whatsapp:

whatsapp instagram recruiting

And if you’re going to use filters, make sure to use them sparingly and consistently. Lower the intensity on whichever filter you use, and keep the filter the same across each picture. This makes for a seamless feed that’s pleasing to the eye. It shows that you’ve taken the time and effort to show off your best company assets: the employees! This builds trust and adds to your credibility as an employer.

Tip: Smartphone pictures can look just as great as professional ones! Ask your coworkers for candid photos around the office to fill up your feed.

tonys chocolonely nl instagram recruiting

(Pictured: @tonyschocolonely_nl)

3. Choose the right captions and hashtags.

If you’re hiring, use #hiring. If you’re posting about an event, find the hashtag used for that specific event. Curate your hashtags so that they are relevant and searchable. Using too many looks a bit sloppy and unprofessional. If you’d like to hide them, altogether, you can put them in the first comment under the picture rather than the caption.

You can also use periods on each line to delegate the hashtags to the “read more” section of the caption. This cleans up the text and allows the important stuff to be highlighted! Keep your captions short and to the point. Make sure readers know how excited you are to be bringing on new team members or celebrating company holidays. Overall, sell yourself as a company that everyone would want to work for (and that culture fits can’t help to apply to.)

colophon foundry instagram recruiting

(Example of simple text and hashtags in the first comment from @mindsparklemagazine)

4. Follow and interact with relevant profiles.  

Find relevant companies and individuals to follow on Instagram. In the tech field? Search “tech” in the Instagram search bar. Follow companies or influencers that you are already aware of. It’s also a good idea to comment and like other photos on Instagram. Again, use that search bar to find relevant posts.

But be careful! Don’t spam with the same comments or follow too many profiles. This will signal to Instagram and its users that you’re not engaging genuinely. Following and unfollowing quickly is also a tactic that is useful for growth, but obvious and frowned upon in the Instagram community. In other words, follow companies and individuals that you are aware of or find interesting and useful to your field. Interact with them, and don’t be generic!

5. Post stories, videos, and photo carousels.  

Get creative with your posts! Instagram is great for photos, yes. But are you tapping into its full media potential? You can post:

  • Multiple photos at once;
  • GIFs;
  • Videos;
  • IGTV;
  • And stories!

Story highlights are a great addition to your Instagram recruiting repertoire. Have a great Instagram story that you don’t want to disappear after 24 hours? Highlight it! This will allow potential talent to view it any time they like. You can even put story highlights into categories for a sleek, organized feel.

recruitee instagram recruitment

5. Go live!

If you’ve built a substantial following in your field, you should consider going live on Instagram. When you go live, it’s just like posting a story. There will be a glowing Instagram-colored ring around your story at the top of your followers’ feeds. Other people can find it on your profile or by searching Instagram. Regardless, it’s a good way to get your face (and team faces) out there!

There are tons of options for topics to go live with to boost your employer brand. You can live stream:

  • Events;
  • Office parties;
  • Presentations;
  • Panels and discussions;
  • Anything that reflects your brand positively!

Step 2: Sourcing

When it comes to sourcing, why not try a virtual career fair on Instagram live? If you’ve garnered enough followers that would be interested, it’s worth a shot. Have them answer questions that you ask live, and get interested candidates to swipe up or follow a link in your profile to your careers site. Get creative! It pays off.

live instagram recruiting

Now that you’ve given potential talent something to look at on your profile, it’s time to start Instagram sourcing. Instagram recruiting wouldn’t be complete without actively seeking out qualified talent. But where do you start? It’s similar to the employer branding steps outlined above. Let’s get started:

1. Follow and search through field-specific hashtags.

Similar to the hashtags that you would use in posts, find hashtags that are relevant to the field in which you are recruiting for. For this, you simply use the search bar on the Instagram explore page. This is the page directly to the right of your Instagram feed.

instagram recruiting on explore page

Here, you can type in keywords that will lead you to relevant profiles and posts about those keywords. For instance, if you’re looking for a Javascript Developer, type in #javascript. Posts that include that word or hashtag will pop up! You can either look at top posts or recent posts. Both are useful! Just be aware that the users posting the top posts may be high in-demand in their field.

instagram recruiting for javascript developers

2. Search via Google or DuckDuckGo.

You need to use the mobile app to post on Instagram. However, the social platform is still accessible on a desktop and/or browser. This means that you can use Boolean search on Google or DuckDuckGo! Brian Fink showed specific results of Instagram recruiting this way during our webinar, but here is a basic rundown:

  • Put “site:instagram.com” in your search engine first.
  • Then put exact keywords in single quotation marks, like so: ‘content marketing’.

This should bring up results of Instagram profiles and posts that you should look into. Facebook does own Instagram, so you may see some Facebook results here. However, this is a good way to use Boolean search for Instagram recruiting outside of the Instagram search page and hashtags.

3. Post job ads

As previously mentioned, Facebook and Instagram are interconnected. This means that if you run a job advertisement on Facebook, it will also appear on targeted Instagram feeds. In fact, the only way to run a PPC ad on Instagram is to go through Facebook’s ads manager. For this reason, you need to familiarize yourself with social recruitment ads, in general.

Here’s a quick overview of running social recruitment ads for your jobs on Facebook and Instagram (but you can find even more here!):

  • Make sure your Facebook and Instagram business accounts are set up and presentable.
  • Add payment options to your Facebook profile.
  • Go to the campaigns section of your Facebook Business Manager.
  • Create a campaign and choose an objective (tip: choose ‘Traffic’ for job ads)
instagram recruiting ads on facebook
  • Go through and select your target audience for the ad(s).
  • Tip: When you are selecting your targeting options in your ad set, you can change whether you want your ad to show up on Instagram and Facebook or whether you only want to show your ads on Instagram.
  • Run the ad for a certain period of time or until your set budget runs out!
  • Track important KPIs from the PPC job ads on Instagram to ensure the platform is right for your hiring process.

If your target candidates aren’t primarily on Instagram, it may not be driving enough traffic to your careers site. This won’t justify spending time, effort, and money on this form of social recruiting. If that’s the case, there are many other social recruiting channels to test! You never know; Instagram could be your top converting social recruitment platform.

4. Use Instagram comments and messages.

On Instagram, you have four options of using the platform for directly speaking with potential candidates:

  • Comments on posts;
  • Direct messages in normal inbox to those who follow you back;
  • Message requests to users who do not follow you back;
  • Video calls via the Instagram app.

With video calls, it’s not recommended to go for that option first. Wait until the candidate has expressed a clear interest in continuing the application process. Then, you can set up a time for a call. However, it’s more beneficial to use your ATS if it has video interviews integrated into the system.

In any case, it’s possible to reach out to candidates on Instagram. As long as you don’t send too many cold messages or post too many similar comments, this can be a good tactic. You can’t link to your job openings in comments, but you can send them via direct messages! Drive traffic to your careers site and job postings. Make sure to keep track of your candidate outreach and contacts in your talent acquisition software. You may also be able to find additional social profiles or ways to contact them via their Instagram bio.

Is Instagram recruiting worth your time?

Use HR metrics to guide your hiring process. You won’t know if a social recruitment channel works if you don’t try it first. It may vary from job opening to job opening. If it works for one company, it may not work for yours. It’s important to keep tabs on social analytics and following, as well as click-through-rate and conversion on your careers site. Further, make sure the hires sourced from Instagram are quality hires.

Instagram recruiting is worth your time! Regardless of its conversion rate, Instagram is still a great place to showcase your employer brand. People love to engage and interact with behind-the-scenes photos. Follow us on Instagram for inspiration, and tag us @recruitee in your Instagram job ads and inspired team posts!

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Beth is the HR Community Manager at Recruitee. Based in Pittsburgh, Beth enjoys spreading the word about recruitment innovation. Follow @TAinnovatorbeth on Twitter for updates on the #TAinnovators community! 💙
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