10 Tips for Using Social Media for Diversity Recruiting

January 31, 2014 11:19 am

By Barbara Frankel

Social MediaHow do you reach today’s generation of increasingly diverse recent college graduates? Three DiversityInc Top 50 companies with high rates of recruiting young talent from underrepresented groups—Sodexo, Kaiser Permanente and ADP—tell us the best game in town is social media.

“Multicultural not-for-profits and other groups that promote diverse talent have traditionally been places organizations utilize to seek talent outside of the company,” says Christine Talbot, Vice President, Human Resources at Kaiser Permanente (No. 3 in the DiversityInc Top 50). “Now we are finding that social media is the significant tool job seekers, including a diverse makeup of passive and active job seekers, rely on when considering a new job.”

Christine Talbot, Kaiser Permanente


“Our dependency on social media is going way up,” adds Jenny DeVaughn, Senior Director of Employer Branding and Sourcing for ADP (No. 27).

These companies particularly use LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as online job boards such as DiversityInc’s Career Center, to reach Millennials. Here are their 10 tips on how to use social media for diversity recruiting:

No. 1: Train your employees in best use of social media.

“They learn things to say for our branding and the best ways to get their messaging across,” says DeVaughn.

Each individual recruiter needs cultural-competence training as well as a personalized sourcing strategy emphasizing social media.

As an example, Sodexo (No. 1) requires its recruiters to join industry-related groups on LinkedIn and to push their own attendance at events, such as an annual conference for the National Facilities Management & Technologies Conference/Exposition.

“We had an opportunity to sponsor a panel on women in facilities management and we created a landing page to have all recruiters tell people on social media to come to the panel and meet our executives,” says Sherie Valderrama, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition.

No. 2: Link to recruiters’ profiles and pictures.

Scott Sherman, Sodexo


At Sodexo, it’s important to personalize the social-media relationship with the recruiters, notes Scott Sherman, Director of Talent Acquisition.

Kaiser Permanente has its recruiters focus on joining groups on LinkedIn with the desirable demographic—such as groups for women professionals, Latinos, Blacks, etc.

ADP has as many as 30,000 contacts on LinkedIn, leading forums on discussions and getting name recognition. “This generation wants everything in real time and we give it to them,” says Ed Hurley-Wales, Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion.

No. 3: Combine relationships with not-for-profits and colleges with a strong online presence.

Talbot notes that the greatest value in using not-for-profits as a recruitment source is in local chapters and that recruiters looking at college must use social media as their primary tool. “Today’s students are very connected in an online world. It’s different than deploying a large number of university-relations people to blanket campuses,” she says.

No. 4: Work with social-media sites on the best ways to find talent.

“When you use these social-media outlets, you are actually purchasing a recruitment option from them,” Talbot says.

Some social-media sites offer analytics to help you understand the demographics of the audience you are reaching. DeVaughn cites Facebook’s ability to tell you what device job candidates are using to access the site (phone, tablet, laptop).

LinkedIn does not directly identify job candidates by race/ethnicity/gender but does give its recruitment customers tools that help identify diversity of candidates, such as search terms that pop up frequently—Historically Black Colleges and Universities or keywords that are most frequently used among underrepresented groups, says Joseph Roualdes, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, LinkedIn Talent Solutions. Recruiters can proactively categorize candidates themselves as “diversity prospects” within LinkedIn’s recruiting platform and place them into folders that enable the recruiters to keep track of numbers.

No. 5: Train your recruiters to look for clues.

Jenny DeVaughn, Sodexo


Social-media profiles/pictures give recruiters more clues about who belongs to and/or supports underrepresented groups. For example, Sodexo looks for membership in organizations such as the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality or the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Sodexo also encourages job applicants on its career center to self-identify.

ADP links the in-person relationships as well as the nonprofit relationships to social-media activity. “It’s not just about posting to social media and tagging, for example, the National Association of Black Accountants,” DeVaughn says. “It’s about tweeting in-person active sponsorship. It’s about mirroring your activities online.”

No. 6: Use employee referrals to build on social media.

DeVaughn urges recruiters and all employees to use social media to look for possible ADP candidates.

“Our No. 1 resource is our own employees’ getting referrals for us,” she says, adding that 30 percent of new hires come from employee referrals. She also recommends using ADP alumni and their extensive social-media networks as referral sources.

No. 7: Stay up on the ever-evolving world of what’s hot in social media.

Talbot says Kaiser Permanente relies more on Facebook and less on Twitter for recruiting.

“And now it’s Instagram and other sources I have yet to even hear of that my kids tell me about,” she says.

DeVaughn notes that many college students and recent graduates chat on Twitter about prospective employers and it’s important to tweet and retweet job advice, such as résumé tips, to engage them.

No. 8: Use the right social media for the job.

Sherie Valderrama, Sodexo


“Part is the message you share; part is where you share the message,” Valderrama says. For example, if Sodexo wanted to hire a Vice President of Operations, it would be important to join a group on LinkedIn aimed at a targeted demographic, such as a group for women in executive positions.

“Over time, I’m building a relationship and sharing blog posts [on LinkedIn and Facebook] and news articles where our CEO [George Chavel] talks about diversity. The message is this is a culture of inclusion, this is an environment that we think you’d be excited about,” Valderrama says, adding that the messaging is more important than the actual job opportunities.

No. 9:  Use your employee resource groups and encourage them to have a strong social-media presence.

At Sodexo, the resource groups have Facebook pages and help the recruiters with internal mobility of membership.

No. 10: Follow up on your diversity-and-inclusion messaging and make sure it’s true.

“Diversity recruiting doesn’t stop at the moment of hire,” Valderrama says. “We are out on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn. Anyone joining our company is joining with eyes wide open.

DeVaughn notes it’s important to have a very strong call to action in the messaging. “People want to stay in touch with growing companies like ours that are very successful. We have to make it clear for them how to do that.”