Spreading your employee recruiting message is now significantly easier because you can use social networking tools to connect to a more desirable and broader labor pool.

According to the Pew Research Center, 65 percent of adult Internet users are members of, and regularly visit, social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These sites open your doors to higher quality applicants because your social network connections are the people who know your company best: your existing employees, customers and vendors. When they rebroadcast your job openings, they are implicitly recommending you as an employer. By building your social networking presence, you can collect a large following of “virtual recruiters.”

Here’s how to get started:

1. Invite applicants to your virtual front door: When you activate your social networks, you’ll want to lead potential applicants to your website. Your website should allow applicants to learn about your company, your job openings and provide a way for them to apply online. 

2. Make it easy to apply online: Many employers discourage jobseekers by requiring applicants to enter their entire work and education histories, references and personal information line-by-tedious-line. Many potential applicants, especially those who have jobs, will balk at the time required in return for the slim chance they may be selected for an interview.
Make it easy for potential recruits by accepting their existing resume and cover letter via email. But, don’t stop there. Many busy, working people and most frontline, hourly employee candidates won’t have the time and/or skills to create or update a resume. It’s better to develop a short form job application for your website. 

Ask for only the most basic information: name, contact information, best time to get in touch, what they’ve been doing for the past two years (work, school, etc.) and why they’re interested in the job. This will give you enough information to decide whether to call and ask a more complete set of pre-screening questions (such as whether or not they have reliable transportation, the hours or days they prefer to work, their specific skills, etc.).

By the end of this pre-screening phone interview, you’ll know whether or not it will be worth your time, and theirs, to invite them to interview.

3. Post your job openings on Craigslist.org: Craigslist is both effective and simple to use. It serves all major (and many minor) population areas so you can target job applicants in your city or town. 

4. Sign up for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: By having a presence on each, chances are you’ll connect to a fair number of customers, employees and vendors who can act as virtual recruiters by reposting your job openings.

Using social networks to promote your company as a great place to work will also promote your organization as a great contractor. Both will help you build your bottom line.