Social Media’s Persuasive Edge: Employee Recruitment
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coworkers high-fiving and smiling

By Paul Bergeron |

May 19, 2022 |

Updated June 2, 2022

7 minutes

By celebrating a company’s culture, new hires and career tracks, hiring and retaining employees becomes easier.

Recruiting on social media, especially LinkedIn, is the “new marketing” for the rental housing industry, and it’s roaring at just the right time.

“Companies are having a really hard time keeping good people,” Jen Piccotti, Chief Learning Officer, Swift Bunny, said in a presentation in March at the Multifamily Social Media Summit.

Before applying to a job, 82% of employees (a 7% increase over the past five years) consider employer brand and reputation, she says, and 86% of job seekers use social media in their job search to search for relevant jobs, and apply to jobs directly from social sites, engage with job-related content and more. 

Sites such as Glassdoor are having a greater impact, she says, as more candidates are checking out a company’s “Rate Your CEO” section on Glassdoor as part of their due diligence. 

“Passive candidates might not be scrolling through job boards, but they are scrolling through their social media feeds and looking at your company’s culture to see if yours is a company that would be a good fit,” Piccotti says. 

Atop candidates’ rankings for places where they are considering employment: Is the executive leadership team respected by employees, and whether the company has dedicated and hard-working employees, she says.

‘We’re Different’

LinkedIn gives companies a chance to show “how we’re different,” Piccotti says.

For example, a Senior Vice President at Wood Partners, four months into her position there, posted to LinkedIn, “I often find myself grateful and proud to work at Wood but today is extra special. On our all-employee call, our CEO announced in celebration and in recognition of having our best year on record, our Partners will award to all associates, across all disciplines and divisions, a bonus equal to one month’s salary. 

“This is incredibly generous of our partners, especially considering that Wood is over 800 associates strong. Not only did our CEO announce this news on behalf of himself and the partners, but he thanked every associate for being here and choosing Wood. 

“Throughout the day I’ve heard of the emotional responses of so many, humbled and full of gratitude, several moved to tears. What a great day for this company.”

An Executive Vice President at TriCap Residential posted, “Our sales managers are 100% remote. We provide the tools to rent our value-add apartment homes and they get to do it from their very own home-work space. Interested in checking out a new way to lease? We are hiring – from anywhere! Come join us and ring in 2022 with a new career at TriCap.”

RangeWater Real Estate recognized the efforts of one of its employees (Andrea Collins), who became the company’s first recipient of its $10,000 Impact Foundation grant. She will use those funds to support the Birmingham, Ala.-based nonprofit Morgan’s Closet (where she volunteers), a company that provides women job candidates with interview training and wardrobe staples. 

Personal and Celebratory Posts Resonate

Venterra Realty’s social feed is very lively “and it seems like their employees are having a great time over there,” Piccotti says. One effective post read:

“Congrats to our latest Lifelong Learning winners who have $500 headed their way for their dedication to professional development last quarter!”

To that, Piccotti says, “Way to turn a requirement into an incentive! I hear so many companies struggling with getting their people to comply with their training requirements and Venterra turns it into a bonus opportunity, as well as a social post which celebrates these folks as super stars! This is all very smart.”

Showcasing career development and opportunities to develop and grow are very impactful.

A community manager with Hawthorne Residential posted, “This morning I received the news I’ve been working towards for the last year – I have officially completed my career path for Community Manager and could not be more excited.”

Underneath, Hawthorne posted, “Congratuations! You Have Reached a New Level!”

“First of all, Hawthorne has a well-defined career path, and their actively moving folks through it,” Piccotti says. “Think about all the multifamily peeps or random job seekers on   LinkedIn encountering this post. They’ll all think: That’s the kind of company I want to work at.” 

Apartment Dynamics posted a photo of a team member. It reads, “Happy to share good news! [She] was promoted to Senior Property Manager!” And the post goes on to tell a little bit more about her and her career journey.

“This is so very personal and celebratory,” Piccotti says. “No doubt, sharing this story not only made her feel like a celebrity, but it revealed to everyone else in their organization what it takes to be promoted and how they can be like her. And like the Hawthorne post, every non-employee who sees this on LinkedIn will also think – hey, great opportunities exist at Apartment Dynamics.”

Campus Advantage had a post that not only celebrated an individual promotion but an overall achievement. The company announced that it had 101 promotions in 2021. This is very inspiring to employees and job seekers alike, Piccotti said. 

The post read, “Here’s to many more in 2022. We love celebrating our team’s success!” 

“Such a simple message but a powerful one,” Piccotti said.

Olympus Properties offered what is clearly a recruitment focused post on LinkedIn. Its choice of copy is “excellent,” Piccotti says. Here’s a bit of it:

“Your Career Starts Here: Regardless of your current job title, role, or responsibilities, there’s always room for you to grow. Believe in your future at Olympus.”

Piccotti says, “If I’m one of those 54 percent of managers or 40 percent of leasing professionals (according to Swift Bunny) who believe their current role is not my ideal long-term role, yet I’m not seeing opportunities within my company, this message would speak to me loud and clear.”

Steal These Ideas

Among other examples provided at the session:

  • Acknowledge when your company is recognized with an “Employee Choice” award or similar honor.
  • Help your new employees with posts that say “I Accepted” or “Just Hired By” your company to show their professional networks that candidates chose your company.
  • In spotlighting its diverse workforce, Bozzuto posted about its SOUL: Shades of Unified Leadership (SOUL) with images and perspectives from its team members.
  • Ave of Korman posted short “Day in the Life” videos where their managers, assistant managers and leasing professionals described their day and how it’s rewarding personally and to its residents. 
  • An employee at Cottonwood Residential posted a list of the reasons why she loves to work there.
  • RedPeak offered posts about their employees and their lives outside of the community. Examples were those who donated their hair to make wigs for people in need and another who is a roller limbo star.

Recruiting is ‘Our Secret Weapon’

Western Wealth Capital takes an “employees-first” attitude that is unrivaled, Piccotti said.

Jennifer Staciokas was hired as its Executive Managing Director, Property Management, at right about the time COVID-19 began in 2020—when the company began its aggressive growth strategy. 

Her first hire was a Director of Recruiting who “has no fear” in reaching out to employees from any company or field in the hopes of bringing them on to Western Wealth’s operations. 

The women-led company of nearly 400 employees today has 53 properties (14,370 units) spread in three states and five metro areas. Eight more communities are in the pipeline.

Its recruiting department has now grown to four people. Its mantra is “Recruiting is the New Marketing… and Our Secret Weapon” behind team leader and industry veteran, Thu-Van Cunningham, a relentless worker with an endless network and a mind-blowing engagement rate, Staciokas says. 

Cunningham has 17,000 followers and counting and is one of LinkedIn Recruiters’ top 5% talent acquisition professionals. She responds to every message, Staciokas says.

“Join Western Wealth Communities and Fall in Love with Your Job” is one of Cunningham’s leading posts.

Organic Employee Posts Most Authentic

The team is working so quickly and effectively that it only has about 2% to 3% of positions opened, compared to others in the industry facing 15% to 20% of jobs available.

Staciokas said her company is filling them in about four days. “You have to move quickly or those candidates can move onto their next opportunity.”

Western Wealth has taken to social media with two slogans #BSU (blow “stuff” up) and #TMV (that’s my village). The employees thrive on it, organically posting things about their communities and colleagues that fit those feelings. 

“We don’t ask them to post,” Staciokas says. “They are just so proud to work for us.”

One posted an image of the team celebrating early with tacos “because they finished all their work orders on time.”

Its social media channels highlight community performance and events and show how the company works hard and plays hard; it regularly celebrates new hires and milestones, aiming to make every employee feel appreciated. 

“Culture is your company’s brand identity,” Piccotti says, asking, “What does yours say about you?”

 

Paul Bergeron is a freelance contributor to units Magazine.