Tips for Contacting HR Recruiters via Social Media

It might be social media, but professionalism is still very important

Close up of smart phone
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According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 84% of organizations now recruit on social media, and another 9% plan to start sometime in the near future. 

Employers are increasingly tapping social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to connect with prospective candidates who want to explore their interest in job openings with their firm. But how do you successfully connect with them?

Basics Rules of Internet Job Searches

Keep it professional, whether you're communicating with a recruiter via email, text, social media, or instant message. That’s harder than it might sound.

Many candidates are more accustomed to communicating with friends and peers on social media. Keeping the immediacy of the medium while shedding the casual attitude that goes with it can be quite a challenge. The interaction might feel informal, but don’t fall into the trap of treating it that way.

What you say and how you say it reflects on you as a potential employee. It provides you with an opportunity to show off your soft skills like attitude, communication, and emotional intelligence.

Your communication with the recruiter shows whether you know how to behave in a modern work environment, particularly one that’s not restricted to a physical setting. A casual tweet or a sloppy Facebook or LinkedIn message might lead a recruiter to believe that you can’t be trusted to communicate with coworkers and clients in a professional manner when you’re online. And that's where much of today’s “office work” takes place.

Tips for Connecting With Recruiters on Social Media

Here are some tips for getting connected and keeping it professional when you're communicating with a recruiter through informal channels.

  • Keep LinkedIn up-to-date: Make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated, complete, and built to impress. Incorporate recommendations from supervisors, colleagues, clients, or vendors. The position descriptions in your profile should emphasize your accomplishments rather than just list what you did. Use your personal email address when you're talking to anyone from another company. You can select it as primary.
  • Watch your Facebook page: Be careful about the image you present on Facebook. Make sure you've set your privacy parameters to protect any content that you wouldn't want potential employers to see. Some recruiters might use less-than-ethical means to view even seemingly protected parts of your page.
  • Manage your Tweets: Be careful what you tweet and retweet as well. Your retweets will show up on your Twitter page and you'll want employers to see workplace-appropriate contact if they check it out.
  • Keep it formal: Employers often provide referral bonuses to their employees in exchange for sourcing candidates for hard-to-fill positions. Facebook friends might reach out to you to assess your interest in working for their firm. Resist the temptation to be too informal because they're your friends. Construct your responses carefully so they can be forwarded verbatim to recruiters.
  • Check privacy policies: Investigate the privacy policies of recruitment firms before you respond to inquiries, particularly if you're concerned that your current employer would react negatively if it were to become aware that you're in job search mode. Sometimes you're better off phoning a recruiter to explore this issue before you formalize any interest in electronic writing.
  • Keep it short: LinkedIn messages can be brief because your profile provides a more complete picture of your background. Focus on why it would be of interest if an employer has shared a specific vacancy that appeals to you. Briefly summarize how you might add value. Most recruiters on LinkedIn will give you an email address or a link to their applicant tracking system so you can forward or upload a resume and letter if you decide to formally apply.
  • Proof your messages: Carefully review any social media communications for spelling and grammar errors before you send, post, or tweet.

The Bottom Line

Professionalism is key! Always avoid using abbreviations, acronyms, and truncated instant-message language.