Make it Snappy: Recruiting with Snapchat

The photo-messaging app Snapchat is a lot of fun.

Fri, 18 November 2016 | By Sue Weekes


The photo-messaging app Snapchat is a lot of fun. It allows users to send often-amusing images and videos along with their message. But the difference is that the ‘Snaps’ only stay visible for one to 10 seconds.

While not yet on every recruiter’s list of ‘must-use’ tools, some of the world’s biggest brands such as Cisco, GE and Jaguar Land Rover have made use of it in campaigns. And, if you believe in having a presence where a vast number of potential candidates hang out, the statistics are impressive: 150m people use Snapchat every day, and 9,000 Snaps are shared every second. “Snapchat has its place, and is part of the rich kaleidoscope of choice we have as marketers,” says Tsz Wu, co-founder and technical director of creative digital agency Pink Squid. “But it still needs a compelling reason or idea behind it.”

(1) What use is SnapChat?

Síofra Pratt is content marketing executive at Social Talent, which provides online and social media training to the recruitment industry. Initially, the firm encouraged candidates to use Snapchat to send fun and alternative job applications. While it can be used in recruitment campaigns in this way, she believes the platform’s real strength is in employer branding. “Along with other visual-based media channels, Snapchat is becoming an incredible vehicle on which to present and show off your employer brand,” she says. This could be by producing content about the company behind the scenes, sending images from a live event such as a careers fair or a volunteering day, or even when a member of staff is celebrating a birthday in the office. “It will show off your company’s character more than any staged photo.”

(2) Build up your followers

To have an effective Snapchat recruiting channel, you need to attract followers. Like WhatsApp, the app will help you find those people in your device’s address book who are also on Snapchat, and they can then decide if they want to connect with you. To further build your network, it’s imperative you take every opportunity to promote your Snapchat handle on other social media channels, email marketing, recruiting material, and good old-fashioned print. “Most Snapchat initiatives are high-impact burst campaigns, so promote as much and as widely as possible to build traction,” says Wu. “Put the little Snapchat ghost logo and the handle on every flyer, banner, brochure or links from websites and other social channels.”

(3) Think it through

Snapchat is transient and disposable in some respects but its use still needs to be carefully thought through. Ensure there is a defined strategy behind your activity. As well as applying it to build employer brand, consider what else you want to achieve. “At Pink Squid, we used it as an industry-first in 2013 for a Jaguar Land Rover Apprentice competition for school children to win a JLR factory tour,” says Wu, “and then to raise the awareness of 13-year-olds around STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] subjects.” 

(4) Hand it over

Think about who can tell your story the most effectively. One method is to hand over the Snapchat recruitment account to someone else. Pratt explains that this could be an “influencer”, or else an employee. “If you’re hiring for a marketing role, get a member of your marketing team to give a day-in-the life picture of what happens in the marketing department such as daily tasks, funny team rituals and the clothes they wear.” Obviously, the person must understand their responsibilities to the organisation and the community.

(5) Remember why people use it

Like all social media, you won’t win any points if you don’t use it in the spirit it was designed to embrace. As Wu points out, branding is “done best” when the candidate doesn’t recognise it as employer branding, “but it’s just part of sharing good stuff”. Pratt reminds recruiters that people go on Snapchat because they can send a “duck selfie”. She adds: “They know they can have fun with it because it’s going to quickly disappear. To sum up, your company should be doing whatever the equivalent of a ‘duck selfie’ is for their own brand.”

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat from Snap Inc launched in September 2011. The app allows users to accompany a message with an image or short video, but these ‘Snaps’ are only seen for up to 10 seconds. Its range of creative features lets users distort or transform themselves and even swap faces in a selfie. Snap, which describes itself as a ‘camera company’, is continually adding new features, and will shortly launch a new product, Spectacles, which features an integrated video camera that allows the user to “create memories”.

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