Best known as a site where users
display photos of family, friends or
vacations, Instagram is increasingly
being used by recruiters to build
brand awareness and give candidates
a look behind the curtain for a sense
of what it’s like to work at a company
before they apply.
Cisco has used Instagram and the
photo-sharing site Snapchat to appeal
to prospective employees in its search
for highly skilled technical workers.
“Your vibe attracts your tribe,” says
Jason Phillips, vice president of digital HR and global chief of sta; for the
San Jose, Calif.-based company.
“Using our @WeAreCisco
Instagram channel helps in our
mission to make personal connections
with future talent,” Phillips says.
“We do that primarily by featuring
Cisco’s recruiting team monitors
the #WeAreCisco hashtag on social
media, where current employees talk
about why they love working at the
company, and then recruiters amplify
what is said through their own e;orts
on social platforms, giving credit to
Using Instagram drives results at
all stages of Cisco’s recruiting funnel,
Phillips says, including:
ā Building awareness of the compa-
ā Engaging talent (when prospective
employees “like” the recruiting
team’s e;orts and start a relation-
ā Decision-making (candidates
clicking links to apply to jobs).
ā Advocacy, where recruits refer Cis-
co to others in their network.
Katrina Collier, an expert in social
media recruiting who runs The
Searchologist, a London-based recruiting consultancy, says transparency and authenticity are the keys
to recruiting e;ectively on visual
“You can’t simply tell prospective
employees what your values are or
what your culture is like; they won’t
believe you,” Collier says. “You need
to show them your own employees
living those values behind closed
doors with visual content like videos
and photos. Instagram is a good
medium for that.”
But Collier cautions against push-
ing messages too hard or using overly
polished videos on social channels.
“Whatever visual medium you use
to deliver content, it needs to be real
and believable,” she says. “People
want genuine, gritty, peer-to-peer
Marriott International is another
company that uses Instagram to
increase awareness of its employment
brand around the globe. “Social media is a key part of our channel mix
to reach job seekers in an authentic
and meaningful way,” says Kristy
Godbold, a global human resources
o;cer at the hotel chain who oversees talent acquisition, HR analytics
The company’s careers team actively manages Instagram, Snapchat
and You Tube channels to communicate the company’s story. Employees
are invited to co-create videos, photos and other content with Marriott’s
careers team to show what it’s like
to work at the company’s various
“It gives us a scalable way to
broadcast relevant stories about our
culture and work experiences in an
un;ltered, inspiring way,” Godbold
One tactic some companies believe
has particular value in appealing to
potential recruits is allowing employees to “take over” an Instagram
account for a day to showcase their
work lives. HubSpot, a Cambridge,
Mass.-based company that provides inbound marketing and sales
platforms, believes such takeovers
not only are a morale booster for
employees, they also give candidates
an invaluable behind-the-scenes look
at what makes the organization an
attractive place to work.
“We give employees full access to
Here’s a snapshot of some visual storytelling tools that HR departments are
leveraging to build brand awareness
and engage with top talent.
Demographics: 1 billion global users,
with 41 percent age 24 or under.
Features: Free mobile social network
that allows users to post photos, videos
and other images. Recruiting teams can
create business accounts to post visual
messaging targeted to prospective
employees. The Insights tool allows
recruiters to learn more about followers
and how they engage with content.
Demographics: 1. 5 billion global users;
73 percent of U.S. adults regularly
access You Tube online or on cellphones, according to the Pew Research
Features: Free online video platform with
dedicated business channels for employer branding and recruiting purposes.
Day-in-the-life videos give prospective
recruits a behind-the-scenes look at corporate culture before applying.
Demographics: 188 million global users,
including 78 percent of 18- to 24-year-
Features: Photo- and video-sharing
app originally built to share photos for
a limited amount of time before they
become inaccessible. Recruiters can
create stories, slideshows and filters to
promote corporate culture or showcase
specific jobs and link that content to the
employer’s careers site.
Sources:;Statista and Pew Research Center.