Pinterest and the Eye of the Beholder

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In the last few months, you may have heard of the social network Pinterest. After raising over $100 million, the visually stimulating, borderline addictive website that allows users to “pin” and share interesting tidbits,  primarily visual in nature, skyrocketed in growth, only tapering off in April.

Comparisons to the early days of Twitter, particularly the “soft” user base, have done nothing to deter recruiters and HR professionals from examining the social network from every angle to see how it can be leveraged for recruiting. While many, including me, were initially skeptical that there were talent acquisition uses for the network, our industry (ever the enterprising bunch) has once again proven the skeptics wrong.

Sourcing via Pinterest is more about branding and establishing an authority in a specific area than anything else, at the moment. Even as the social media savvy public starts using the network, recruiters and HR pros are already delivering webinars on how to use it properly, and the best uses for a social network that is primarily visual.

These recommendations come on the heels of a wave of infographics flooded the industry, illustrating everything from resumes to video interviewing, giving recruiters and talent acquisition professionals at least a place to start when curating visual representation for what we do and how.

Interestingly, the pinboards that many recruiters are building don’t reflect recruiting per se, so much as the industries and companies they are recruiting in or for. Best practices cropping up? Read on:

Know your audience: 97% of pinners are women. While some sourcing pros may see this as a limiting factor, others are recognizing the social aspect of recruiting is rearing its head once again. While the network is still relatively new, it’s already valued at over a billion dollars, and more studies are cropping up about the specific buying and online behaviors of its users (this one states that Pinterest users may spend more online vs Facebook).

Link back. No matter what visual prompts you post on your pin boards, remember to link back to the job description. While branding and sourcing are fantastic reasons to use any social network, remembering to give people the information you want them to see is crucial (and oft overlooked).

Focus on the positive. Is your workplace a fantastic place to be? Is it visually interesting? Do you have fun on Fridays? Using Pinterest for employment branding is a no-brainer for consumer companies but B2B organizations can use it too.

Keep your options open. Don’t focus solely on one media type. Sure photos and memes are the natural first option when you’re learning how to “pin” but go beyond that to videos, QR codes, slideshows and more. With any social network ask yourself if it’s interesting, useful, timely and informative. 3 out of 4 isn’t bad.

Build multiple boards. Unless you recruit for just one kind of position, you should have more than one board. Build boards for every specialty and vertical you can, carefully selected the paths through which you direct jobseekers and candidates. In this manner you can craft niche talent pools and pipelines.

Recognize that it’s not just about getting users of the network to YOUR boards; they have their own boards. Designers, coders, advertising and marketing pros and many more are displaying their work on Pinterest and other visual networks like Instagram, Flickr and more.

Finally? See what your colleagues are doing. NPA Worldwide says:

When you do create an account, search on “recruiting” to see all the different ways recruiting firms are using Pinterest. If you want to find the best and brightest candidates, you need to be where they are – PINTEREST!


Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the global recruitment and talent space. Hogan speaks and writes on all career and workforce related subjects. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and SMBs around the globe. Red Branch Media was formed in 2006 as a simple consultancy. Today, the firm is a full-service B2B Marketing Agency that serves clients in the U.K., Africa, China, Israel, Europe and North America. Primarily focused on the Human Resources and Global Workforce vendors, Red Branch Media handles clients of all shapes and sizes.
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