Make every hiring decision count with our 2023 Source of Hire Report. Download (for FREE) now!

March 6, 2016

Social Recruiting and the Metrics that Count

Breezy HR

With social media becoming more and more a channel for recruiting success, it is time to make sure that social recruiting is attributing to actual candidates.

There are standard metrics for determining the return on investment for recruiting. Most of us are familiar with cost per hire, time to hire and the like.

There are however a few new metrics to consider. With social media becoming more and more a channel for recruiting success, it is time to make sure that social recruiting is attributing to actual candidates.

I would keep this separate from your typical recruiting metrics because the stages that you chose in social recruiting are probably different than those used for standard post and pray recruiting.

Social media will help to find active and passive candidates, see what your competitors are doing and help promote your company as the best place to work. I’m not going to lie; social media can be a major time-suck. But if it’s a means to hire new people you wouldn’t find otherwise, it’s worth your time.

Start social recruiting with your brand

Take the time to analyze your social media footprint. Are you in the mix? Are you active in the community you are trying to engage or are you more of a troll?

Let’s look at the most common social sites that recruiters are using to find new candidates and the metrics that will help you measure success and ROI when using social media. The key metrics we watch today are:

  • Inbound traffic
  • Share of voice
  • Reach
  • Cost per candidate

But before we get into the metrics, you have to start with a social media recruiting strategy. What form of social recruiting should you use? Well, that depends. Not every social channel is useful.

There are pluses and minuses to all of them, and you have to think not only of the recruiting strategy but also what the candidate experience will be.

We suggest starting small to identify what doesn’t work and what is not scalable. The most essential resources recruiters are using are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, here’s a few ideas for each of these separately.


Facebook (& Instagram) is much more personal than the other recruiting channels. It is also one of the hardest platforms to engage candidates one-on-one and even more difficult if your company has a limited following.

It will take not only creating a page but also engaging existing employees to participate and share your work life in a positive way. Rather than just posting “we’re hiring,” a better way to utilize Facebook is to curate the good life.

Curate the good life.

The good life shares what it’s like to join your team. What causes or non-profits does your team support? Whose B-Day happy hour was fun? World Cup on the screens? Yes, please. It is not enough to just post jobs. Tell the story of your good life to help people peek into your culture and what it’s like to contribute every day.

LinkedIn is a directory 2.0. It’s about finding the right candidate directly. Right now, LinkedIn is also a spam farm.

spam free social recruiting

Recruiters send messages in bulk. Don’t be that guy. You wouldn’t send a potential investor in your company a note without mentioning their portfolio, so don’t message a candidate without it either.

If you want to max your reach on old spam farm (LinkedIn, start a Group. Groups for specific job roles, skills, and industries bring passive candidates to you. They might even bring a customer or two as well.

To start a group, Buffer industry news content and have your team posted a few discussions to get it started. You and your team can send personal invites to join and build the early members. You can also use group invites to approach prospective candidates. Inviting candidates to join your group is a much easier proposition than “Hey, want to quit your job for $2K?”.

Groups will take time to grow, but they also give your marketing team a new outlet so put your heads together to start building a community of prospective new hires.

If you need candidates, like yesterday, and feel confident enough to approach a passive candidate, our Chrome extension will allow you or anyone on your team to quickly add potential candidates from their network to your recruiting pipeline.


Twitter is not as easy to qualify candidates directly, so you need to use it like the noise machine it is and drive relevant traffic to your careers page.

To start, carry over The Good Life from Facebook and then think about sponsoring content to target potential candidates. For instance, if you are hiring a growth hacker, it would be wise to tweet your hiring and promote the tweet to followers of Growth Hackers or influential marketers like Neil Patel.

You may even want to curate your own #YourStartupNameLife tag to share your team culture or list #YourBrandJobs to cut to the chase. This way, candidates can see all the jobs, lifestyle and could create a few referrals.

Once you have planned how to approach social, it’s time to track the metrics you need to optimize:

The Metrics That Count in Social Recruiting

1. Inbound Traffic: It has been said that if you aren’t growing, you’re dying. Our pipeline analytics and your website analytics are the quickest ways to measure inbound web traffic from social. With Breezy, our pipeline analytics show you which social networks are driving the most views, referrals, and applicants. Your web analytics will allow you to track inbound traffic from social posts.

2. Share of Voice: Share of voice is an advertising metric adopted to social notably by Jay Baer. It requires you to compare your brand’s social efforts to that of your competitors in a measurable way. Some metrics to consider are post volume, following, community involvement, and number of employee referrals. If you are recruiting in extremely competitive markets, it might be helpful to conduct this research before determining your strategy.

3. Reach: Reach is the size of the potential audience for a message. What is the maximum number of people who could have been exposed to a message? To see your true reach, track the number or mentions, re-tweets, comments and shares to see how far your message is going. Combining good company branding with good content, the bigger your reach will be. Dani Fankhauser has a great list of social listening tools.

4. Cost per candidate: Once you get candidates in the mix, attribute your social marketing just like advertising spend. If you are not set up to track hours, it’s hard to get exactly right, but Breezy can keep track of who sourced the candidate or which network created the most inbound candidates. Social advertising is the easiest way to create a cost per candidate, promoting your posts and tweets to create candidates can all run on a cost per click basis.

Quality vs. Quantity

The end goal for all of this, of course, is to increase the number of qualified candidates that you have in your pipeline. Review your metrics consistently. If your efforts are not working, change it up a bit. Remember that actual impact will take time to build. Be patient but don’t give up. Do it right and you will reap HUGE rewards!