How to Use Pinterest to Recruit

How to Use Pinterest to Recruit

By Sharlyn Lauby –

Sharlyn Lauby, SPHR, CPLP is the HR Bartender, whose blog is a friendly place to discuss workplace issues. When she’s not “bartending,” Sharlyn is president of ITM Group, Inc. which specializes in leadership training and human resources consulting.

We are a visual society. We enjoy looking at beautiful and interesting things. A 2012 study by ROI Research confirmed this. They found when users engage friends on social media sites, it’s the pictures they enjoyed the most. If brands post pictures over any other media, 54% of respondents said they’re more likely to engage.

If this is how we respond to our friends and the companies we like, then why wouldn’t we want it to be the same for jobs? Instead of just telling people about a job or making them read a job description, we now have the ability to show people the job, the company, and the corporate culture using the social media platform Pinterest.

The Advantages of Pinterest

Craig Fisher, partner and social business consultant at Ajax Workforce Marketing, the world’s first workforce marketing company, shared the reason smart employers are beginning to create visually stimulating job descriptions. “Pinterest is now the third most popular social network, it refers more traffic than Google+ and Linkedin combined, and is the fastest growing social network.  With a demographic ratio of 32% men to 68% women, and a definite slant towards creativity, retail marketing and social media, it makes sense that you can get pretty specific about who you target there.”

Admittedly, Pinterest is a relatively new platform, so there’s not a lot of data yet about companies hiring directly. But its usage offers a positive indication of its popularity, which shows that employers can use the site to develop their employment brand, grow a talent community and drive traffic to their career sites.

One company that’s been able to successfully leverage Pinterest as part of its talent strategy is Sodexo USA, the leading provider of quality daily life services in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Arie Ball, vice president of talent acquisition, says her company has 22 boards and she’s proud of the way followers are able to connect directly with the recruitment team and company employees. “With an average of one hour and 17 minutes being spent on Pinterest daily compared to only 36 minutes on Twitter, I would say Pinterest has a big chance of having staying power.”

Building a Pinterest Strategy

Ball says the secret to using Pinterest as a career board is to tell your story as an employer to a growing audience. “Some of the reasons Sodexo uses Pinterest for recruitment include, it’s a great way to build your employer brand and drive traffic to your sites, it offers a visual of what it’s like to work for your company — it can showcase your corporate culture, values, employees and work environments. And, it’s free and easy to use.”

Crystal Miller, vice president of marketing for TalentNet Live, a social recruiting education and strategy company specializing in live events, radio shows and chat forums for the human resources industry, describes two key elements in the strategy for creating a virtual bulletin board within Pinterest:

“First, think of appearance, i.e. ‘What is Beautiful is Good.’ People intuitively equate beauty with concepts like good/better, smart/successful and important/valuable. Always have. So it’s important to create content that has a mix of visually stunning elements with warm, positive messages to attract and keep the attention of your target audience.

“Then remember similarity as in ‘Like attracts Like.’ People appreciate, seek out, and identify with that which is familiar and similar to them/their beliefs/their interests. So, while it’s tempting to create an edgy board in an effort to stand out from all of the other users; be careful that you don’t create too big of a dissonant chasm in the difference you’re creating for your end-users to bridge. They need to be able to visually identify with your organization so that it triggers an emotional response of familiarity — which they need to be able to visualize themselves working there and to click through to your career site. Remember: Similarity = familiarity = comfort = trust = strong relationship = credibility/influence = action.”

Creating User Engagement

Not only can employees learn about companies using Pinterest, but companies can gain some perspective on the interests of possible candidates. Organizations can look at what people have pinned and what they’re interested in. It also allows them to see who else shares their interests — further expanding their talent pipelines.

Ball explains that because Pinterest doesn’t allow direct contact with other users, her company reps share pins that highlight the company’s unique culture — Community, Diversity and Inclusion, Awards, and Sustainability. They also have boards for each discipline (for example, food service, housekeeping, and clinical). And they cross post on other networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to encourage more engagement. “Recruiting is about relationships, so we try to redirect the conversation to networks like LinkedIn that are more suitable for direct communication.”

Miller adds the boards that are seemingly getting the most traction are the ones that have taken the opportunity to understand their audience and define their purpose. “They give the end-user(s) multiple avenues to connect with their board, based off that user’s interest, capitalizing on Pinterest’s ability to take a once flat advertisement (i.e. a job opportunity ad) and make it multi-dimensional.”

Before You Start

Be prepared to operate outside of a traditional job posting mentality. Fisher suggests sharing helpful content and “building a community by repinning and liking content from your targets.”

Like anything else on social media, Miller reminds us not to go off half-baked. “Take the time to cook up a compelling marketing strategy for the talent you’re trying to attract and involve several different voices in that processes. Good kitchens aren’t comprised of just one cook — there’s a head chef (your corporate voice) that has several other cooks in the kitchen focusing on different, specific areas. That should be your employees, your interns … even your candidates! By creating the boards that serve as the central theme, you’re creating an opportunity for flavorful, cohesive marketing by those that your audience will view as the most genuine — your people.”

Examples of Pinterest Career Boards

While telling the do’s and don’ts of Pinterest career boards is nice, there’s nothing quite the same as showing some examples. Check out the examples in our gallery. Have you tried using Pinterest to promote your employment brand? Tell us your story in the comments.

Examples of Pinterest Career Boards

While telling the do’s and don’ts of Pinterest career boards is nice, there’s nothing quite the same as showing some examples. Check out the examples in our gallery below. Have you tried using Pinterest to promote your employment brand? Tell us your story in the comments here.

1. Sodexo USA

This pinboard shows recruiting, employees, and community service.


2. Taco Bell Careers

One of their boards is titled “Taco Bell + YOU” and immediately grabs your interest.


3. U.S. Army

One of their boards focuses on the training that Army soldiers receive. Important to know if you’re considering joining.


4. General Electric

Too funny! GE has a career board titled “Hey Girl” … I don’t want to give it away. Just go check it out.


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