Why You Need to Use Social Media to Reach More Female Candidates

2 min read · By Academic Positions · Published 4 weeks ago

In some ways, posting a vacancy and searching for a job has never been easier. For job seekers, the ease of internet searches makes finding open positions as easy as clicking a button. For those hiring, placing an ad on these sites can mean access to thousands of job seekers. And yet, the hiring process —matching the right person for the right job—still takes time and effort. If you are also hoping to attract a more diverse group of applicants, it can be especially difficult. Reaching female candidates for example, often takes a little more consideration.

Increasing the diversity within your institution is more important than simply making everyone feel welcomed and included. Institutions benefit from different ideas, opinions, and solutions to problems. In an article titled “Gender Diversity Leads to Better Science” published in PNAS, researchers argue that gender diversity “allows scientific organizations to derive an ‘innovation dividend’ that leads to smarter, more creative teams, hence opening the door to new discoveries.” For universities, greater gender diversity can mean broader perspectives and ideas leading to more comprehensive research studies, and more name recognition.

Social media can help you cast a wider net

Once you’ve removed the gender bias from the text of your job advert itself, another key way to reach a more diverse group of applicants is by using social media. Social platforms with job boards like LinkedIn aren’t traditionally as popular with academics, but a strong and active presence on Facebook, Instagram, and especially Twitter, is incredibly important in recruiting researchers. Using these channels allows you to reach not only active but also passive job seekers. 

Active job seekers are those who are currently looking for jobs. They frequently visit job boards and monitor university career pages. Passive job seekers, on the other hand, are not necessarily looking to change jobs but, should they come across an appealing open position, they might be encouraged to learn more about the institution and what it offers. 

Since they’re not actively pursuing new positions, passive job seekers don’t check job boards. If you only post your vacancy there, you won’t reach this important candidate group. While it may feel futile to focus on passive job seekers, in a Talent Solutions report, LinkedIn found that approximately 70% of the global workforce are passive job seekers. And, according to Betterteam, “80% of employers say social recruiting helps them find passive candidates.”  Social media is an incredibly powerful way to reach out to the potential job seekers you’re missing by only using job boards.

You can also use your personal and lab social media accounts to be an ally and show your commitment to improving gender diversity in academia. Sharing pictures of the female researchers working in your lab, posting profiles of the influential women in your department, and highlighting papers written by your female faculty are all powerful ways to show you are passionate about gender diversity. This kind of “slice of life” information may be particularly important to women, who want to ensure that your university is a supportive environment in which they can thrive. 

Importance of paid campaigns

If you are looking to reach more female candidates (or target another specific demographic), paid social media campaigns are invaluable. 

The biggest advantage of these paid social media campaigns is that you can target a specific audience. For universities looking to recruit more female employees within a certain field of study, this is huge. Sponsored social media campaigns allow you to carefully select the audience you reach with your ads. Nearly all recruitment experts like Zippia agree, “social recruitment comes with incredible ability to laser-target certain groups of people for the available vacancies.” Each platform varies slightly but they all allow you to target your audience based on criteria such as age, interests, location and even gender. 

It can be somewhat overwhelming trying to learn the intricacies of each platform and of your overall marketing plan, especially without a team of experts. Therefore, outsourcing this kind of marketing can save you money by generating more relevant and quality applicants (so you can fill open positions more quickly) and saves you time so you can focus on your research and teaching.  

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