Social media is a perfect fit for staffing firms, given the relationship- based nature of our industry. And it would seem that the industry would have jumped at the chance to embrace the phenomenon long ago. However, that isn’t always the case, and those dragging their feet may soon find themselves left behind. Even those who do dabble in Facebook and LinkedIn need to keep a constant finger on the pulse of trends and developments if they want impactful marketing strategies that stand out from the rest.

“We are all in an age of new media,” Staffing Industry Analysts Communications Director Jennifer Arcuni said during a panel discussion at this year’s Executive Forum North America. “Traditional media has been disrupted. Social networks are now a major global phenomenon.”

Getting the message out and reaching people has never been faster or simpler, according to Tim Bleich, owner, president and founder of Vector Technical Inc., which mostly places workers in technical positions with manufacturing firms. “It’s like the industry was created for staffing,” he says. “It dovetails right with who we are and what we are trying to do.”

Facebook has been the most successful social media tool for Vector, although it also uses LinkedIn and Twitter. The Ohio-based company’s recruiters include many millennials, who post openings and get almost immediate feedback. However, Vector uses Facebook more to drive brand recognition than to find job applicants. To this end, the company posts blogs and content topical to the industry; much is candidate-driven, but some is geared to the enterprise client.

Vector also holds contests on Facebook to get followers and drive traffic to its website. About every quarter, the company gives away gas cards, which gets its followers “tagging and sharing like crazy.”

“Because of the internet and technology and social media, we can compete with anybody,” Bleich says. It levels the playing field. “The beauty in all of this is the speed to get to the candidate and the speed to get the candidate to the employer. Nothing is as fast as what we are getting from social media.”

Not One Size

Not all firms find the most success with Facebook, especially if they work primarily in the professional sectors. Accounting recruitment firm Mercer Bradley’s marketing strategists, who developed a formal strategy for its social media program, found Twitter and LinkedIn to be better platforms for the company to use than Facebook.

Angela Chambers, president and managing partner for the Mercer Bradley national brand and practice leader of its Winnipeg, Canada, office, was surprised to see how many people engage with the firm. Chambers attributes the success of its blogposting program to distributing “real stuff,” and not just “corporately branded advertising.” She focuses on publishing relatable material that demonstrates the culture of the firm — who they are and how they work. For instance, Mercer Bradley’s philosophy is very focused on relationship building, so one of the things she has on her social media is the slogan, “Just because you work with numbers doesn’t make you one.” For the first time, Mercer Bradley plans to explore some pay-per-click advertising programs on LinkedIn and has also joined the Instagram community, something Chambers did not expect. It has developed some “really fun” visuals, using snippets of testimonials on Instagram.


Light industrial staffing firm HTTS Inc. needed help reaching targeted candidates to generate a steady flow of qualified applicants. The company began efforts to get its jobs in the places where candidates spend time online and made them more interesting visually. HTTS’ job posts now include “picture-friendly graphics” that portray their target audience.

The company, which serves the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, also now posts videos on its Facebook page. It is also running the videos in places like the PPL Center, a sports arena in Allentown, Pa.

HTTS’ videos introduce the firm and discuss its services and things like upcoming job fairs.

“I will tell you that video is the place to be right now,” says Sales Representative Kari Smith. When tracking our analytics and metrics on Facebook, we’re seeing more people are reached with video content and there is often more social engagement with posts that contain video.

Building Rapport

365 Healthcare Staffing Services now realizes it takes all its staff to boost engagement on its social media. Its most recent social media push focuses on “aggressive brand awareness,” says COO Jennifer Haynes. The Los Angeles-based firm, whose staff of 12 places nurses and healthcare techs, noticed a “pain point” was its small size when it came to recruiting new candidates.

“Folks just didn’t know who we were,” she said.

In addition to help from outside consultants, the company’s account managers now actively post. “They tend to do funny memes, or adopt a much more personal touch,” Haynes says. “We tend to get more interaction from those personal job postings that are put up from account managers.”

The account managers are also now part of community groups related to the specialties that 365 staffs, trying to build rapport. They post on job boards, blog and do “anything that will get someone to take that extra step to our website.”

Staffing Industry Analysts endeavored to identify social networks useful for sourcing candidates for internal staff positions by asking respondents to its North America Internal Staff Survey about LinkedIn or other social media professional groups, if any, they subscribe to or participate in. Recruiters Network was the social media group most frequently cited by respondents (although that could reflect in part that it was one of the examples in the original survey question). The next three most-often cited groups were those associated with the Society for Human Resource Management, the American Staffing Association and SIA.

Keep in mind that your posted content must have a purpose. Understand who your target is and what you are trying to accomplish, says Lauren Griffin, a longtime staffing and workforce expert who spent many years with Adecco. Focus on the drive and interaction with the candidates. This is especially crucial given the current candidate shortage; people make decisions about whether to work for your firm often on just the presence they see on the web. Be mindful of the candidate experience and that the impression they get of you online accurately portrays your firm.

You can’t ignore it, Griffin says. “You must have a strategy of some sort that works for your company and works for your target market.”