Social recruiting for Generation Z: 3 UX mistakes on social media

Patricia Parnet
5 min readFeb 21, 2024
Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

When it comes to social recruiting, everything usually centers around Instagram, Tik Tok and more. The concept of employer branding or funnel often comes up. However, many people fall into at least one trap: pay attention to these 3 important tips to make your recruiting strategy on social media a success. Views are my own.

Forgetting the career page as part of social media recruiting

Even the best social recruiting strategy will never work if the processes are not designed across platforms. The most beautiful Insta page, the funniest reels and the most vibrant community — none of this helps if the application cannot be submitted properly, the process is too complicated or the job advertisement is presented in a confusing way. Ultimately, the aim is to convert interested candidates into motivated employees — usually by redirecting them to the career site. This is usually the key factor — it makes it or breaks it.

Example: You run paid advertising as an ad carousel. Interested candidates click on the link that promises them easy access to a job with “Apply now”. However, they end up on a cluttered page full of long texts that discourage them from applying rather than convincing them. A dropped application!
Typically, career sites are optimized for computers, but seldom for smartphones. At the same time, it is almost certain that it will be opened on mobile, e.g. via Instagram browser. Hence, it is not yet time to plan elaborate campaigns. Customize your career page first, including job ads:

  • Who do I want to reach and does the page contain exactly the information that our target group is interested in at the moment?
  • Less is more: To what extent can I reduce the content?
  • What does the page (status quo) look like on mobile in different browsers (Instagram, Tik Tok, Safari, Chrome, etc.)?
  • How heavily can I shorten the text (the shorter, the better, max. 4 scrolls)?

Social recruiting funnels: quantity instead of quality?

If you learn about social recruiting, you can’t miss the omnipresent advertising from funnel providers and numerous expert agencies. The inspiration for this usually comes from the sales sector, performance marketing or even the coaching scene. Accordingly, their focus is on the generation of so-called “leads”, but not on the transmission of high-quality, complete applications! This is also reflected in the business model, as it is all about mass and less about substance. This may be a valid method of customer acquisition for an online store or a coach, but it lacks the necessary profoundness for recruiting.

Conventional funnels are generally not suitable for jobs that require a high degree of specialization. Don’t let yourself be blinded by glossy videos or promises of success: Just because it works in the retail or hospitality industry, for instance, does not necessarily mean it will for your jobs and your company. In most cases, these funnels are optimized for narrow activities and the providers even admit that built-in hurdles can easily be bypassed by clever candidates. After all, quality is more important to you than the price per application or the number of applications. You may receive applications with the implementation of a funnel, but their data basis is poor. To make a hiring decision, you ultimately need more than just contact details and a self-identification that only scratches the surface.
Finally, the user interfaces of these funnels show critical weaknesses from a UX perspective, which in turn can lead to an even higher abandonment rate or contribute to the aforementioned loss of quality. Accessibility criteria, which are normally a digital product standard, are not always considered. Research approaches to optimizing the product are also often limited to “A/B” testing, which is not always the right tool for measuring user-friendliness — even if everything has been done properly. In many cases, candidates don’t even start the funnel. So you always have a risk that the interface itself will become a trap for candidates if it is not professionally created and constantly optimized.

It takes HR finesse and years of UX experience to build a product-ready interface for such sensitive areas — especially when it comes to GDPR. Some weak points may not be visible to amateurs at first or only become apparent during the holistic candidate journey. Last but not least, operation should be fast, satisfying and stress-free: test the funnels from an applicant’s perspective, including the transmission of complete data sets. How does it feel?

The candidate experience starts with the application process. Therefore, ask yourself the following questions if you are interested in an application solution via social media:

  • Which expertise does the provider have in the area of HR (especially recruiting) and with classic HR processes or ATS? This does not mean social recruiting or employer branding! Attention: If this is not the case, you should keep your hands off it (if you want more than just visual design)!
  • Are we dealing with applications at all or just “leads” in the sense of non-binding contact or minimal data records?
  • What quality of applications will be delivered in the final data set and does this meet our objectives and needs? Does this result in follow-up steps, such as a routine requests for a complete CV?
  • How solid is the user or candidate experience and on which research approaches is the entire concept based?

So rather than using sales tricks from the marketing or coaching scene, focus on process optimization and smart workflows with the help of intelligent technology that is in harmony with your existing solutions.

Social recruiting campaigns without specific jobs

When advertising to join your company, you also need to get to the point of how and when it might be possible to work with you. The best benefits and the most attractive careers page will not lead to the success you hope for if it is not clear what job opportunities you are currently offering. Only jobs, jobs, jobs count!

Some employer branding campaigns are intended to increase awareness in general or to draw attention to an upcoming application phase (apprenticeship, traineeship, etc.). Therefore, it can happen that you conduct social recruiting without any specific jobs. Sometimes they simply link to the careers page or the company’s own job search. However, it is extremely unlikely that the job search will be started directly on the smartphone. To avoid a high drop-out rate and increase the success of your social recruiting strategy, you have the following options:

  • If possible, always link to specific jobs or offer a mobile-friendly overview page (not the standard job search)
  • Possibility to match profiles to existing jobs instead of searching
  • Offer alternatives for direct interaction if the focus is not (yet) on specific jobs. For example, events, webinars, newsletters, etc.
    Consider the possibility of a job alert (information about suitable jobs)

💜 Feedback & Networking

I look forward to hearing from you! Let’s connect on LinkedIn or meet for a virtual coffee chat about candidate experience, fair career opportunities, UX in recruiting and more.