Using Social Media to Recruit High Potentials

October 7, 2015 1:12 pm

By Tamika Cody

Although conferences and networking mixers are some of the ideal places to find your next hire, high-potential Millennials are using several online outlets and social media platforms to showcase their skills and look for their future employers.


     Charlie Hall

So how do you reach them?

The first objective is to build awareness by sending a message of being the best place to work, said  Charlie Hall, SVP Talent Acquisition at MasterCard (No. 6 on the DiversityInc Top 50).

“We need to make sure, as people are learning about us as an organization, [that] they have the ability to see the information that is going to continue to attract them to us.”

The second objective is to make sure employees are engaged as talent ambassadors. “That was a huge cultural shift for us in making sure that every employee and manager felt empowered and engaged as a talent ambassador,” Hall said.

To bring the first two objectives full circle, Hall explained that MasterCard had to build its recruiting capabilities to incorporate the online and social media tools: “Then we wanted to make sure that we were leveraging every recruiting network available to us. And, most importantly, show up and find candidates where they are.”

Since MasterCard is a technology company in the payment space, tech candidates aren’t necessarily applying for jobs with the company. “They are out in different spaces and we need to reach them in different ways than we did in the past,” he explained

Leverage Your Brand

As a way to think outside of the box, MasterCard took a look at its branding message of “connecting people to priceless possibilities,” a marketing campaign that’s been around for more than 18 years.

“We never leveraged it for employee branding. We never leveraged it for recruiting,” Hall said. But MasterCard soon realized that it might be a good idea to have its marketing campaign serve dual purposes: one as an ad for its customers, and one for its recruiting efforts.

Before heading out on the recruiting trail with this new technique, the company peeled back another layer to find out what resonated with employees. “We worked with a cross section of our organization to try to figure out what were those things,” Hall said. (To get a glimpse of what matters to MasterCard’s employees, download Hall’s full presentation and head to slide No.5.)

Develop a Strategy

There are several online sites and social media platforms out there that can be used as a tool to locate that ideal recruit. Employers are utilizing Facebook,, Jopwell, LinkedIn and even YouTube to showcase the reasons why job seekers should work for them. But while all are ideal online recruiting tools, when not managed correctly the employer’s message can become muddled.

It’s important to figure out which online and social media platforms you want to be on and get full control of those channels. “We created a content management strategy. And what we found in the social space is that nothing can be static,” said Hall. “[As] soon as it’s static it’s not going to get any attention anymore because if people are going back to the same site where the messages are stale, old, and [don’t] resonate with job seekers you will lose them for sure.”

Also, update the online recruiting tools on a quarterly basis at minimum. Depending on the platform, the online recruiting sites should be updated monthly or weekly. Social media sites like Twitter should be updated at least four times a day.

When the company focused on updating its social media and online pages, it saw positive results. For example, when it kept its LinkedIn branding and targeted career pages fresh, the “apply clicks” increased by 84 percent. And its candidate flow on the updated Direct Employers page through the company’s site increased by 92 percent.

Twitter Recruiting

“Twitter is the number two social media site for passive candidates behind LinkedIn,” Hall shared. “We know that the candidates are there. We know that reach is there if we engage with them correctly.” The key here is to have a number of engagement campaigns directly with the recruiting teams, the managers, and third parties. “For example, we push out #WorkWednesdays where we are pushing out more of our jobs,” Hall said, clarifying that they were posting jobs on Twitter as a secondary push.

Related Story: 10 Tips for Using Social Media for Diversity Recruiting

The social media campaigns increased MasterCard’s candidate reach by 110 percent. “We actually have a tool that measures,all of the social posts that we put out; we can see how many people we are reaching directly,” Hall said, explaining that the candidate reach was based on human resource, recruiting and career topics.

The Advanced Boolean Search

MasterCard’s recruiting team put the old fashion Boolean search to good use as a way to search for diverse candidates online. Boolean allows you to craft a string of search terms that will get you the direct type of candidates in the market.

You can take the Boolean approach one step further by including keywords in the title, url, website and related topics.

When using indirect search techniques for online social media platforms like LinkedIn, Hall said you could use the advanced Boolean search. Your next candidate might just be located right on another candidate’s page. The boxes he suggested you pay attention to include:

• People Also Viewed
• People Similar to
• Groups
• Recommendations
• Connections

Be Creative in Your Search

The key is dedicating time to strategic sourcing and to experiment with various search strings. Hall noted that 20 percent of a recruiter’s time is spent on strategic pipelining. MasterCard direct sourced hires increased by 127 percent, and they saw a 105 percent increase in direct sourced diverse hires.

Hall suggested recruiters and human resource teams expand their search outside of what they’re used to. He recommends creating search alerts as well as developing a search library, which should include search terms and search strings.

If your company has an iron clad marketing campaign and a solid strategy of what social media and online platforms works best, head to the drawing board to see how you can leverage it for diverse recruiting practices.