Instagram, Facebook emerge as a way to connect with job applicants

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Social media platforms aren’t just for sharing pictures of your kid or funny animal videos anymore. Sites like Facebook and Instagram are emerging as a way for job seekers to find new roles.

While online job boards are still the most popular way for employees to find new roles, nearly 15% of recent hires say they found their job by using social media, according to a new survey of more than 500 workers who started a job within the last six months. In the report from research firm Clutch, respondents say they typically used online job boards, networking, social media and email newsletters to locate jobs.

“If you have everything on your mobile phone — if that’s your entertainment, news, work and communication tool — why not make it easy for people to apply to a job all in one place?” says Michael Loguidice, social media coordinator at staffing company Labor Finders in the survey.

Labor Finders told Clutch that it frequently uses Facebook as a way to share information about new positions. Recruiters at the firm will host live video streams and send direct messages to candidates as a way to communicate about new opportunities. Clutch says that since many people already spend time on social media sites, it makes sense to target potential workers through those channels.

But employers should be cognizant of the type of role they are looking to fill, Clutch says. For example, it would make sense to look for photographers or designers on a visual platform like Instagram, where you can easily access samples of previous work.

While social media may be becoming more popular, candidates still seem to prefer online job boards (41%) and networking (25%) when looking for work. Online job boards include anything from Monster to more specialized sites like Mediabistro, which is tailored for professionals in the media industry, the survey says. Almost all survey respondents (88%) say they also use online job alerts to locate open positions.

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Jenna Filipkowski, head of research at the Human Capital Institute, told Clutch that she wasn’t surprised that workers favored alerts.

“As a user, it’s a simple way to get an email every day or when the new job matches your specifications,” Filipkowski says in the survey. Online job boards are typically the first step to discovering open positions and from there, candidates may decide to take a deeper dive, she adds.

Diving deeper could include scouring specialized job websites or social media for open roles. Some social networks are taking advantage of the fact that they can play a valuable part in the hiring process. For example, Facebook now offers Jobs on Facebook, which allows businesses to advertise open positions to local candidates.

Clutch says it makes the most sense for employers to use a variety of methods to reach candidates. Both digital and traditional methods, like networking, can be valuable in the hiring process.

“By casting a broad net that includes a range of channels, companies can make new connections and hire the talent they need,” Clutch says.

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