Talent Acquisition

How to Use Instagram as a Recruiting Tool

Ever thought of using Instagram for recruitment?

It may sound like an unlikely use of the platform, but it can actually be a really good tool for networking and reaching out to candidates. I spoke to Angela Bortolussi, who is a Recruiting Manager at Recruiting Social and a featured author for Undercover Recruiter and she revealed some of her secrets behind using Instagram for sourcing candidates, building her professional network and developing her personal and company brand.

Listen to the interview below, keep reading for a summary and be sure to subscribe to The Employer Branding Podcast.

About Recruiting Social and Angela’s role:

Recruiting Social was founded by a fellow named Chad MacRae. He started the company back in 2012, and since then he’s brought on numerous employees, myself being one and we’ve also grown out from our Vancouver location into Los Angeles as well, so that’s been very exciting. So in a nutshell, Recruiting Social, we’re a Social Recruitment company and I think people always question well what does that even mean?

I think the premise of that is really that we focus on attracting the right candidates, and then by telling the company story, so essentially that would be our client. We’re big into culture fit, because we know especially in the tech space it can be a lot based on skill, but culture is a huge fit for a lot of our clients and it’s a focus for them, as well. And then, of course, being that social component we use various different platforms to reach out to candidates in very specialised ways as well.

One being Instagram. And so my role with Recruiting Social is I’m a Recruiting Manager, and I focus on technical recruitment and product recruitment as well.

Finding technical and product people on Instagram:

  • Networking events – What would happen is, is  I could check into that location and then I could search that location to find out who has been at that location as well.
  • Hashtags – And then any type of popular hashtag that the event is putting on, I could search that as well, find out who used that hashtag, when they were there and then reach out to them. Just to even build that connection, because even though that connection just in terms of reaching out to potential hire might not happen right then and there for a potential job, it could happen six months down the road.

The 3 keys to success on Instagram:

  1. Good content – It really does come down to the quality of pictures. And it doesn’t mean that you have to go and buy a professional camera to take these pictures. I use my iPhone. So that is key and I think to a moment that can capture who you are, and what you’re doing. So usually saying good content comes with quality pictures but also a theme. If you look at my Instagram account, you can see that the theme is coffee, computers, networking, branding, and Recruiting Social.
  2. Hashtags – And the next thing too, is about using hashtags, owning that hashtag. At Recruiting Social we use #RecruitingLife as our main go to hashtag, so that’s always key as well.
  3. Think before posting –  If you ever doubt yourself and the picture that you’re posting, it’s probably best that you don’t post it.

How to get more engagement on your content:

  • It depends on the community that you’re in – For example, mine would be like the tech community and the HR community, so usually what I say is the engagement component can liking photos, it could be commenting on photos.
  • Have a small conversation – I always say Instagram has been, I would say, a more productive networking tool than LinkedIn, because essentially you are capturing a moment with someone, because we always say Instagram is within the moment, it’s very authentic. You get to see someone’s life essentially, so that is one that’s your comments back and forth.
  • Cross promote – You’ve got followers on, for example, Twitter, or on Facebook, encourage them to follow you back on Instagram as well and create that sense of community within your Instagram plot.

How to get more followers:

  • I’ve seen a lot of companies taking part in is IG takeovers – So you have someone that’s an influencer in your industry take over the account for the day, it could be for the week, usually if the say a day is successful enough to build those followers.
  • Tagging other people and your photos.
  • Put thought into the subject lines in caption lines. I think if you are more authentic when you’re writing your captions, and telling people how you feel in somewhere from, again keeping it professional if you do have it public is key, and then, of course, leveraging trending hashtags is always a big one.
  • Use hashtags – I usually say cram in a bunch of hashtags, it doesn’t hurt. After an hour usually they do often expire, meaning your pictures are no longer at the top of the explore page you’re usually at the bottom, and so you can delete them after as well.

How to find people to recruit:

  • Build up your bio – Before you can even go out on your search, you definitely have to build up your bio. So if we are going to be potentially reaching out to people or engaging with people, they know who we are essentially and maybe why we would be reaching out to them.
  • Hashtags – Then you can simply do searching hashtags. So if I was searching a hashtag on UX designer, or if I was searching a hashtag in regards to places, #YVRTech would be one, so that’s the Vancouver tech scene that’s a common hashtag that they use. I would start there because then you can see who is using that particular hashtag, where they’ve checked in. Again going back to if I went to an event like Tech Fest here in Vancouver. They create their own hashtags for that event. So when I do a quick search, I can see all the attendees and those could be potential job seekers as well.
  • Send a message – The nice thing and I guess new item that Instagram has implemented, is the direct messenger. So before you’d have to send a message through a picture to get someone’s attention through a message, but now you can actually just send them a direct message without having to do that on Instagram. So that changes the way we communicate with people as well.

Does this tie into using Instagram as a networking tool?

  • Reach out – In regards to the direct messenger, it does make it easier to reach out to people for opportunities.
  • Transparency – I always make it very transparent as to why I’m reaching out to them. So for example, if it was a UX designer or someone in the tech industry, usually I give a quick intro to who I am, why I’m reaching out to them, and why I think maybe they might be a good fit for a role, or why maybe we want to network with them in the future as well.

The Instagram pitfalls to avoid:

  • Bad lighting – If you’re in a dark space, it’s probably best to avoid that.
  • Not knowing your audience – I think one of the major pitfalls when it comes to Instagram, because really again you can use it any way that you feel fit for your brand, or for your personal brand, is I think just in terms of its users so if you’re a company that is trying to build some brand awareness within Instagram. We know that usually the users of Instagram are usually between 18 to 29, in comparison to maybe the 30 to 49 age bracket. The users are a little bit more less engaged. So I would say it’s very youthful, Instagram, but I know that there are more later adopters that are using Instagram. It’s just I think Instagram is still known as a younger social media channel.

Tools and apps you should use:

  • FaceTune – If you don’t have it, you should definitely download it. FaceTune’s a great tool to use just to fix any imperfections on pictures or even enhance them. For example, if you have a table with maybe a white coffee mug on it, and you just want to make it more a crisp white, you can do that within FaceTune.
  • Boomerang – You can attach that with Instagram as well. And again, it’s just that visual content, I guess, on Instagram, which I think is getting more popularity since Snapchat has come out. And it’s been gaining a lot of popularity as well.

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This off-the-grid home, nestled into the canopy of local flora, invites you to come in and be one with nature. Host @kristiemaewolfe and her mom built the detailed bamboo structure by hand. Kristie's been interested in the tiny home movement for awhile, trying out the lifestyle in Idaho, where she built her first little home from the ground up. She says, “The forced simplicity of living small made me realize I wanted to live like this permanently.” That experience lead her to build a tiny vacation home on Hawaii’s Big Island, where she hosts guests looking for an eco-friendly experience. The up-in-the-air home features a wrap-around lanai, huge windows where sunlight streams in, and a partially open air shower that sustainably uses Hawaiian rainwater collected from the tin roof. If all that isn’t enough of a fantasy, there’s a hanging bed below the treehouse – the perfect spot for daydreaming. Which is exactly what Kristie continues to do as she plots her next project: Lord of the Rings style Hobbit Holes in the Northwest. See more of Kristie's handiwork by clicking the link in our bio.

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The next big thing for Instagram:

It’s tough now to say because things change so often, but one being that now that you can buy ads on Instagram. That seems like one that is going to get pushed a little heavier this coming year.

We know that Hootsuite now offers compatibility with Instagram and posting, so that’s a big one. I think there’s probably pros and cons with using Hootsuite. I know some people were opposed to it because it’s not that authentic moment that you’re capturing, that Instagram is known for. But when it comes to branding and marketing, it can be a successful platform to use, in the sense that you don’t have to worry about posting images throughout the day and it interrupting your day-to-day work.

Follow Angela on Instagram: @abortolusssi.


By Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO of Link Humans, home of The Employer Brand Index.