We’ve all seen how social media can engage customers and employees, but many companies forget about job-seekers, who now conduct most of their job searches online. Innovative brands are reaching out to candidates on social media. Sites created to let friends communicate are being used by clever recruiters to communicate their employer brand to active and passive candidates.

On Facebook, UPSjobs is the star, with more than 55,000 likes. The brand responds quickly to comments and questions – within five minutes, in one case. Along with job listings and links, UPS posts a lot of video content; each of the 14 pieces on their Videos tab highlights a different employee. The delivery company also posts fun, interactive content, like asking fans to “Describe your weekend plans in one word,” which drew 153 comments. UPS even uses the oft-forgotten Notes tab to post “FAQs About Applying for a UPS Job.” Most interestingly, UPSjobs — not the mother company — recently ran its own sweepstakes, giving away Zappos gift cards every week.

Twitter’s 140-character limit can’t stop some strong recruiting by Sodexo USA. The “world leader in quality-of-life services” sprinkles great information among its job listings. Sodexo recently retweeted a quote that LinkedIn profiles with photos get 40% more clicks than those without — a general employment tip that turns Sodexo’s Twitter into a larger job-search resource. When a chef tweeted that he hadn’t received a response to his application, Sodexo quickly replied, “What is the Job ID # and I’ll track down the recruiter.” That single act of candidate care speaks volumes. I even like that their profile icon is a photo of a person, rather than a logo.

Brands are even recruiting on Pinterest, now the third-most popular social network in America. Taco Bell Careers does a fantastic job of this. The franchise has more than 350 images on 26 boards, five of which are devoted to individual recruiters, displaying their hobbies and pets, a smart way to “humanize” the interview process for candidates. Like the best recruiting channels, Taco Bell offers resources for all job-seekers, such as a board of inspirational quotes (called “Food For Thought”), a board with tips for resumés and interviews, and a board devoted to “Leadership Development.” And there are plenty of images of employees on the job, having fun, and attending company events, giving job-seekers a compelling but honest look at Taco Bell’s culture.

These social recruiting efforts are admirable – but do they work? According to Jobvite’s 2012 Social Recruiting Survey, 92% of employers used social media to find talent and potential employees to hire in 2011; 66% used Facebook and 54% used Twitter. (There are no figures yet for Pinterest, but its popularity is growing.) Seventy-three percent of employers surveyed said they had made successful hires through social media in 2011; 43% of employers said social media recruiting increased candidate quality, while 21% said it decreased time to hire.

Clearly, if your company isn’t on these social networks, you’re missing out on a large pool of passive candidates.

Jason Ginsburg is director of interactive branding at Brandemix. Ginsburg works to discover ways to engage internal and external audiences online using blogging, social media and viral videos. As head writer of an agency in Los Angeles, Ginsburg created and executed social strategies for clients that included Paramount Pictures, HSN and CBS Interactive.

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