Social Media: A Powerful Tool for Recruiting Top Talent

6 reasons to focus your recruiting efforts online.

Competition for construction talent is fierce given the shortage of skilled workers. Without an adequate workforce, revenue growth is all but impossible. But where to find those workers? And how to draw them to your company when they’re ready to make a leap? Increasingly, for recruiters and also construction companies themselves, the answer is social media.

It’s true that the best employees often come from referrals, but word-of-mouth recruiting is limited to the size of your existing network. Social media lets you dramatically expand that network and cultivate relationships with people who will one day be looking for a job even if they aren’t looking now. (Remember, most potential hires aren’t actively looking for work.) A social media presence that puts your company in a good light can tip the scales when those future candidates do begin a search. In fact, 59 percent of employees say a company’s social media presence was part of the reason they chose their workplace.

Play the social media game right by engaging and impressing your audience, and your followers will come to think of your company as a great place to work.

RELATED: How to Use Social Media to Boost Your Construction Business

Beyond that basic premise, here are six reasons social media works for recruiting when used either actively (through ads) or passively, through audience engagement.

Your target audience is there

A big part of getting attention from the right candidates is promoting your business where their eyeballs already are — and for a great many people, that’s social media. This is particularly true for two large and growing segments of the workforce: millennials and Hispanics.

According to a report from Nielsen, adults ages 18 to 34 spend more than six hours per week on social media (and lest you think Gen Xers aren’t also there, people ages 35 to 49 spend almost seven hours). Hispanics tend to be heavy users of Facebook; 73 percent use it, one in four are regular users of Twitter and 34 percent are active on Instagram. Each of these statistics puts the U.S. Hispanic segment above national averages for social media use.

This is not to say other segments of the hiring pool are not also using social media. Research indicates more than 20 percent of all U.S. online time is spent on social media.

Social helps you find them, vs. them finding you

Professional recruiters will tell you social media has become an essential part of the hiring process, largely because it gives them greater control over who sees and applies for jobs.

I've been recruiting for almost 25 years, and our recruiting efforts have shifted pretty heavily to social media,” said Jennifer Truhlsen, senior recruiter for Executive Resources. Truhlsen noted that LinkedIn has become especially useful. “It’s a great tool to find people. It's easier to target a specific industry, type of experience or location. It also gives you additional useful information, such as the job stability and education of the candidate.”

Grapevine Staffing CEO Susan Dunphy said LinkedIn can be a helpful add-on to more traditional recruiting approaches. She and her team first deploy strategies such as tapping their network and attending tradeshows. “We then source using LinkedIn,” said Dunphy. “We find the people we want to talk to. We do not post and have them find us.”

You can peek behind the curtain

Anyone can look good on paper, and many can look great in interviews, hiding personality traits that may cause a problem on the job. Snooping accounts on social media channels outside of LinkedIn can provide insights into a candidate that you might not otherwise discover.

Applicants who appear comfortable complaining about their current employer, expressing extreme views or divulging too much personal information, for instance, could prove to be poor fits with your company culture.

The construction industry is not the only sector using social media for candidate sleuthing. A recent CareerBuilder survey indicated 70 percent of employers across industries use social media to screen candidates before hiring.


“I've been recruiting for almost 25 years, and our recruiting efforts have shifted pretty heavily to social media.”

Jennifer Truhlsen, Senior Recruiter for Executive Resources

Users are comfortable with tech

Sooner or later, construction will go high-tech. The revolution is already beginning. Last year, the construction technology sector secured more than $430 million from investors who believe the industry’s appetite for tech-based solutions is increasing.

RELATED: 4 Big Construction Tech Trends for 2018

As the construction industry becomes increasingly reliant on Internet-connected tools and digital forms of communication, adding employees already accustomed to using technology, even if it’s as simple as Twitter, simplifies the onboarding process.

Platforms allows for hyper targeting

As we all learned during the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica controversy in March, social media allows advertisers to target precisely the right people with the right message at the right time. The result is a higher return on investment when you’re advertising your posts or your jobs tab on a cost-per-click basis. The last thing you want is a high response from an irrelevant audience.

Nearly every social platform that allows advertising, from Snapchat and Instagram to Facebook and LinkedIn, offers targeted campaigns that ensure your ads are seen only by users with the characteristics you’ve identified as valuable.

A wide range of titles

LinkedIn is the place to be when searching for high-level professionals with polished resumes. But what if you’re looking for a heavy equipment operator? Both Facebook and LinkedIn have launched initiatives to increase the number of workers interested in similar lines of work on their sites over the past several years, and you can narrow your search using industry-specific keywords.

In 2017 Facebook launched a Jobs tab that lets you advertise jobs on your business page and even receive applications.

Seventy five percent of construction firms plan to expand headcount this year according to the Associated General Contractors of America. That’s a lot of competition for top candidates. Social media may be just the thing that gives your firm an edge.

Kelly Moore has written about trends and topics for the construction industry since 2000.

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