Talent Acquisition

Your Guide to Using Slack for Recruitment

Let’s talk about Slack. Do you use it? Do you know what it is? Basically it’s a great tool for allowing people to communicate within organisations. It’s a lot more than just instant messaging though – did you realise it can also be used for recruiting? I know, right?

To get the real inside scoop on how to use Slack to engage with prospective candidates and top quality talent pools, who better to talk to than our great buddy Angela Bortolussi of Recruiting Social! Listen and subscribe to the podcast below or check out the written summary of our conversation.

Okay, let’s formally introduce you & Recruiting Social

Recruiting Social is a social recruitment company. We’re based in Vancouver and in Los Angeles. We provide on-demand recruitment services that we probably talk a lot about. Basically, we act like an extension of a company’s in-house recruitment team, so facilitating the growth of that company. You can kind of think of it like loaning out a recruiter for a period of time. So that’s one of the main services that we offer. And then recently, I became partner at Recruiting Social.

What is Slack all about?

Right now with Slack, I think the best way that I can describe it to anyone is as a messaging app for teams. They originally launched, I think back in 2013. So it was used as a tool to really cut down email and it provides more fluidity in conversation and just really having the ability to share knowledge amongst an organisation. Since then Slack has really become this new sort of phenomenon in terms of communication. So it’s not only used by organisations, just people in general…it’s essentially a tool that connects people with a general interest.

Can anyone join Slack?

Yes, we use it at Recruiting Social and it is a free channel to use. If you want to see, I believe it’s 10,000 searchable messages then you’d have to upgrade to the paid version. But if you’re okay with keeping that limit of 10,000 messages then it’s completely for free.

Why would we be using Slack for recruiting?

So my background is in technology and product recruitment. From my experience in technology recruitment, I’m finding that more gainfully employed, engineers for example, are spending less time on like LinkedIn and checking InMails, which for us being in the business of a recruitment is difficult because we want to engage with them about opportunities, but obviously they are bombarded with messages from all recruiters around the country.

So when I first got introduced to Slack I found it to be a platform where I could connect with talent and able to have really more intimate conversation with people and again, going back to that real time conversation. You can engage with them in that moment about, really, about anything.

And a nice thing to about Slack is when you think of it from a recruitment perspective you’re really honing in on their turf. So if it’s a topic, for example, about maybe AngularJS, you can start a conversation about their interest and then, you know, kind of gradually get into opportunities that might interest them with your employer.

What’s a step-by-step approach to using Slack for recruiting?

  • I think my number one rule if you’re going to use this as a recruitment tool, is really to step up your knowledge, Slack offers on their website so many great demonstration videos on what the social media platform is, how to navigate around channels.
  • And then I think the next step is finding out the purpose behind your Slack channel that interests you. For example, if you’re looking for product managers, maybe finding a relevant channel that might be of interest to product manager in terms of just the topics of the conversation that they’re talking about, maybe job opportunities that they could be talking about within that channel. Right now, I think Slack, they’ve probably got about 300 communities happening right now, so it can get a little bit confusing to see all the Slack channels in which one would be of interest, so, I think right now it’s just best to hone in on ones that pick your interest as a recruiter and, of course, understanding who your audience is within those Slack communities as well.
  • And then I think it’s really important to step up your Slack etiquette is what I call it, so really in this case when you go into a Slack channel, because what happens is when you go into a Slack channel you actually have to get invited to that Slack channel.  So, once you get invited by the administration person within that community, I would say reach out to them directly just to understand the rules and the regulations and best practices within that community and know they’ll be quite transparent as well.
  • After you get the lay of the land of the Slack community then I would just kind of navigate around just to see what other channels are within that community. So, for example, if there is a job or career channel, check it out because that’s a great opportunity for recruiters to post the jobs that they’re essentially looking to fill. And of course, within those Slack channels it’s a free place to post jobs, and I think that’s the really cool thing about Slack, is that we can use it as an extension of our recruitment best practices as well.
  • So once you find a channel that really interests you, then you can really start engaging with people in terms of the topics of conversation. So, someone might be talking about their interest in using like AWS for example. Find out what interests them about AWS and then you can actually use that in conversations with candidates as well. So it’s almost like as a recruiter you know what you’re talking about in some way or form.

Where exactly do you find Slack channels?

They aren’t listed on the Slack website. So that’s another little obstacle when it comes to finding Slack channels. So there’s websites like, Chit Chats is another great tool to use to find Slack channels. Usually sometimes what I’ll do is I just do a basic Google search to find out, for example, a .NET Slack channel or it could be a marketing Slack channel. I think just doing a quick search like that you’ll get a lot of results as well. It just takes a little bit of time just to go through which Slack channel might interest you, but that’s the best start just in terms of to find one.

With are the Slack etiquette do’s and don’ts?

I think, well, in terms of the Slack etiquette as I was mentioning, not being spammy, write with purpose and really introduce yourself. So one example that I can give to that I would say if you are posting in the jobs or career channel I would usually introduce myself. So, “Hi, I’m Angela. I’m a recruting manager at Recruiting Social. I’m looking to hire a senior software engineer in the San Francisco area. These are the particular skills that I’m looking for. This is not a remote position, this is an onsite position”. And then I would provide the link to get more information and then put my email and then LinkedIn profile.

Have you calculated the ROI, the return on investment on using Slack for recruiting purposes?

Yeah. And that’s another great question, because I do often come across that, about what is it in terms of Slack that makes it a better tool than other social media platforms. And in this case I wouldn’t say it’s a better tool, I’d say in terms of just how we use social media, I think, social media in general is not a new thing to the recruitment practice. I think how we’re leveraging it is something new.

So, again, using Slack is just an extension of your other tools that I’m sure that many of us, recruiters use. I think one important thing to note when it comes to using Slack right now, there’s probably as I was mentioning about 300 Slack channels out there with about 3 million daily active users.

With this particular product I don’t know any other product that creates this entire sort of ecosystem around conversation, right? And I think that’s the main sort of key thing to remember is that it’s in real time conversation. It’s not where an email where there’s that delay, it’s not a LinkedIn message where there’s that’s delay. This actual conversation is happening right at that moment. So, the engagement can be really high for a lot of the recruiters.

What are your favourite Slack integrations?

One cool tool that I’ve come across is called Blitz. It’s a free app that allows for instant messaging when you are engaging with candidates. For example, if I were to send a message to a candidate on LinkedIn or maybe via email, I could actually send a link via Blitz and that it would invite the candidate into my Slack channel where we could actually engage in conversation rather than sending a bunch of emails back and forth. So, it kind of gives that fluidity in conversation as well.

I’m obsessed with Giphy. I think Giphy would definitely be my number one. I know a lot of the engineers that I’ve been chatting with have preference with GitHub as well. I would say Blitz like I said the app that I was just mentioning is a really kind of cool tool to check out. Appear is great as well.

Follow Angela on Twitter @ABortolusssi.

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By Jörgen Sundberg

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