Make your job ads more social


Will Thornton, recruitment manager at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust takes a look at how trusts can make best use their social media channels to advertise vacancies.

It’s brilliant to see more and more hiring managers asking for their vacancies to be advertised on social media. Beyond NHS Jobs, professional journals and local newspapers have tended to be the go-to's for advertising in years gone by. However, with many people now struggling to remember a time when those media had a positive effect on candidate attraction, the appeal of social media is plain for everyone to see.

Our trust’s social media pages are thriving, with thousands of followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. If we can come up with content that’s interesting enough to prompt our followers to share with their friends, connections and followers, our reach can quickly increase to tens of thousands of passive job-seekers.  However, making that a reality often requires a bit of imagination; after all, simply posting an advert on one of the trust’s pages is, in effect, little different from publishing it on NHS Jobs.

To make an impact with people who come into contact with our posts on social media, we need to think about how we can come up with something more useful than an advert you’d expect to find on a global jobs board.  For me, it has to be more in keeping with wider social media usage – i.e. getting away from pitching vacancies in carefully-written corporate formats, and generating more content from our front-line staff.

The people on the shop floor can offer our followers something that corporate departments sometimes struggle for- authenticity.  First-hand insight into a job’s content and the organisation’s culture is unbeatable, and has a charm for potential candidates that you’ll only match (or improve on) if you can persuade them to visit you in person.  Therefore, if you’re really wanting to push a vacancy on social media, it’s well worth working with your teams to crowd source material.  Better still, encourage people from your team to engage with followers throughout the period of your advertisement and build the level of interaction about the vacancy.

In many ways, these are just some basic first steps.  Clearly, there’s the potential for us to do a lot more with social media than just initial engagement with candidates.  In the future, I’d like to see us using some of the more popular platforms to make our application process easier. With a big push on the recruitment of apprentices on the horizon for most staff groups, there may be a case for us to do something about that sooner rather than later.

Visit our social media web pages for advice and guidance on all things social media, and book your place on the NHS Get Social conference on 15 November 2016 in London.

The  ThinkFuture communications toolkit has some helpful tips on using social media to recruit 16-24 year olds. For more information on apprenticeships, please visit our apprenticeships web pages.

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