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Slack recruiting: how to source in channels

April 24, 2019

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Slack recruiting: how to source in channels

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  1. Introduction to Slack recruiting
  2. Benefits and how to get started
  3. How recruiters use Slack

You know that Slack is “where work happens”. But did you know that Slack recruiting can make your work a whole lot easier? If you’re part of a hiring team and are looking for a unique social recruitment channel, Slack could be your next big move.

Social recruitment practices morph and grow with the channel that you choose to use. It’s easy to learn how to recruit on LinkedIn because the platform is made for professional networking. With channels such as Slack, however, it isn’t as straight-forward. Slack wasn’t created for the workplace, but it has quickly become the go-to tool for workplace communication.

So how can you use Slack for recruitment? Let’s break down the platform so that you can start sourcing your next best hire.

Slack users can pick a Free, Standard, Plus, or Enterprise Grid plan that allots them a workspace. You’ll see this sometimes being called other things like teams, communities, and groups. Regardless of the name, these spaces allow users to collaborate. Users include owners and admins, which are normally the head of the company or HR, and members, which usually consist of the employees within the company.

  • 👑  Workspace Owners
  • 🤖  Workspace Admins
  • 👥  Members
  • 🙋  Guests

While Slack is mostly used as an instant messaging tool for coworkers, there are also field-specific groups that create their own community on Slack. These communities don’t necessarily have to be formed under one company. They can be created, for instance, for IT professionals to talk about coding practices and even open jobs. This is where you, the recruiters, come in.

Slack users can interact via:

  • Channels, public and private;
  • Direct messages;
  • Group messages;
  • Video calls;
  • And voice calls.

All of the above allow people to chat and upload documents and photos. All users can also use the ‘Search’ feature that Slack allows in the top right-hand corner of the platform. You can learn more about Slack in the Slack help center. Knowing the basic structure and how to use the features will make the Slack recruiting process much easier. Joining public groups is the first step to sourcing on Slack.

Slack sourcing: benefits and how to get started

Slack, the company itself, suggests using Slack for recruitment. While it may not do everything that your talent acquisition software can, it’s a great supplemental tool for social sourcing. There are many benefits of recruiting on Slack, but here are a few to consider:

1. Workspaces/groups are searchable.

As long as the workspace is set to public, you can find the workspace and request to join. The admins of the group will have to accept your request. This means that joining a company’s Slack workspace is probably not possible (or a good idea). However, you can look for Slack groups that are created for bringing together like-minded professionals in the field that you are recruiting for. There are tools to search for public groups and communities like Slofile.  

slack recruiting channels

2. You can also search previous conversations within Slack communities.

Have a list of keywords you’re looking for when sourcing potential candidates? Use these in the search bar to find Slack members that are talking about those keywords. You can also search your previous conversations with potential candidates if you need to find certain information or import them into your ATS.

3. Search relevant work that users have uploaded.

A big component of sourcing is figuring out if talent has the potential to perform well in the open role. Using the search feature mentioned above can bring up some in-depth conversations between users that can be publicly viewed. For instance, if you’re tech sourcing, you may want to look for relevant coding that users have shared with each other and documents that show their potential. This puts you ahead of the game when shortlisting candidates.

4. You can direct message users.

Other social recruitment channels make it a bit more challenging (or costly) to direct message potential talent. Additionally, as a channel that’s not dominated by recruiters, candidates are more likely to view your message (and maybe even respond).

5. Conversations are more likely to flow freely and naturally.

Like other social sites, Slack allows you to post to other users. Unlike other social sites, the format is a free-flowing conversation. This will allow you to politely ask for interested candidates. Posting your job opening anywhere can be a sticky situation, so just make sure to abide by the rules of each particular Slack group you join.

In any case, conversation on Slack is designed to work well. Check out different channels and experiment by asking questions to super-targeted talent pools. This can even serve as screening before the talent is even in your database! Slack recruiting can save you space where truly qualified candidates should be.

6. It’s simple to use! If you can type, you can Slack.

Social media platforms have an array of features, and Slack is no different. However, Slack’s features are designed to make mediated communication more personal. If you’re familiar with texting or even the old days of instant messaging, you will feel right at home in Slack’s interface. Type up a quick message with an emoji and a GIF to connect with candidates in a way that just isn’t possible via InMail.

7. It’s time- and cost-efficient.

Slack has several pricing plans, but it’s generally free to use. Slack recruiting won’t charge you for social recruitment ads or to send more messages like other social platforms. Putting Slack in your social recruitment arsenal shouldn’t cost you much. In fact, it should increase your hiring ROI by bringing in tailored hires.

Being simple to use also means Slack also doesn’t take time out of your busy recruiting process. Recruitment is highly time-sensitive, so communicating with talent in real-time is crucial. Saving the back-and-forth of emails and phone calls can mean the difference between missing out on a candidate and nabbing the right hire.

8. You can communicate with your hiring team in real-time.

In addition to talking with potential applicants in real-time, you can coordinate with your hiring team the same way! Make a channel called #hiring in your Slack workspace. Ideally, the whole company should be invited to the channel. This way, you can update them on the hiring process, as well as ask them for feedback. This is also a stellar place to receive employee referrals.

Take it a step further, and utilize the Recruitee Slack integration. As soon as you sync the two apps, you will get important team hiring activities pushed to your designated hiring Slack channel. This keeps everyone in the loop and your recruitment on track.

slack recruiting

How recruiters use Slack (and you can, too!)

1. Internally

As mentioned above, Slack users can create a hiring channel. This keeps the whole team abreast of the hiring process. New hires can be welcomed, potential talent can be referred, and job posts can be linked to share on employees’ social platforms.

slack recruiting integration with recruitee

If you have specific questions that need answering immediately, Slack is a great resource. Ask your hiring team members in real-time. Hiring is extremely time-sensitive. Slack eliminates the need to chase down your peers via email or after their lunch break.

slack recruiting team example

You can send GIFs and emojis to your team to boost morale (or let them know when you’re dissatisfied in a polite way!). Your team will thank you for staying on top of things, and your hiring process will show improvements along the way. Integrating Slack with your ATS allows for important updates to be shown in the designated hiring channel. This is a savvy way to get everyone involved. They can send referrals right in Slack. You can share articles or tips for interviewing right in Slack. There’s really no reason not to use Slack internally with your hiring team (especially if your team already uses Slack for other purposes!).

2. Externally

Slack holds a plethora of qualified candidates and their showcased work just waiting to be found by you. External sourcing means networking with these candidates, searching for their conversations, and talking about your open positions at relevant times. The methods of Slack recruiting will vary from hiring team to hiring team (and position to position). To learn how to effectively source on Slack, we recommend checking out the fantastic Brian Fink’s advice on doing so. We spoke with him during a webinar on unexpected talent sources, which you can read or watch on the blog.

slack recruiting quote from brian fink and jason singer

To recap Brian’s advice mixed with a bit of ours above:

  1. Find public Slack communities by using a tool like Slofile.
  2. Join relevant communities to the roles you are sourcing for.
  3. Utilize the search bar to look for certain topics or keywords.
  4. Abide by the Slack group rules and your location (and the talents’ location) rules and regulations for data privacy.
  5. Check out the candidate’s Slack profile and previous conversations, as well as documents uploaded that may showcase their work.
  6. Reach out to the candidate directly on Slack.
  7. Or look for their social profiles on other platforms. In this instance, you may want to learn a different set of social recruiting skills, such as how to recruit on LinkedIn.
  8. Use your sourcing extension to funnel the potential candidate info right into your ATS.
  9. Use your Slack integration with that ATS to post updates to your whole team.
  10. Repeat!  

Search for Slack communities that are relevant to the roles you are sourcing for. And you can take it a step further! Look for recruitment specific communities. Network with like-minded recruiters. You never know when talent will pop up out of a new connection made. Slack opens up sourcing possibilities that you would not otherwise come across. Take advantage of this social recruiting goldmine and thank us later!

Beth is the former HR Community Manager at Recruitee. Based in Pittsburgh, Beth enjoys spreading the word about recruitment innovation.
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