When you think of internal recruitment functions you might not always think of the cutting edge of social networking.

It is perhaps surprising then that so many in-house recruiters are turning to the world’s newest and most colourful social networking website, Pinterest, in order to spread their employer brand and search for candidates. And that candidates in response have wholeheartedly embraced this approach and in turn are posting some truly creative and eye catching multimedia rich resumes online.

Having hypothesised that Pinterest would be the next big thing after our three part foray into the world of social recruitment, we found ourselves intrigued with this online phenomenon. Specifically we were impressed with just how quickly recruiters seemed to seize the network as an opportunity to source talent, even before the network left its beta stage.

So we decided to set up our own account, to get a first hand feel for what makes this website so appealing to our profession. We’ve paired our thoughts with interesting research from other sources and broken it down into 4 key sections. Here are our findings:

  • Appearances can be deceptive.
    Research says: ‘[Recruitment functions] have been using YouTube for years and this is just a natural extension of that approach’

At first glance Pinterest doesn’t seem like the next big recruitment resource. It has a colourful, simplistic and somewhat frivolous appearance that belies the powerful networking tool that lives beneath. Don’t be put off if initially you find yourself swamped with pictures of Star Wars and Batman. With 11.7 million members and rapidly growing Pinterest is a huge, currently under tapped talent pool with strong commercial applications – Media Bistro have reported that “buyers referred from Pinterest are not only 10 percent more likely to buy than those sent from other social channels, but they spend twice as much.”

  • Employer Brand
    Research says: ‘You might initially think it is strange to use these sites that contain primarily pictures for recruiting, but you would be wrong. Pictures and videos are “worth more than 1,000 words” because they provide the capability of making the excitement of your work environment come alive.

You might not be a programming candidate looking to showcase your latest animation but you are representing a company that has a brand image you want to share. With a bit of lateral thinking this becomes easy with Pinterest. Maybe your company recently won accolades for a particular project? Pictures of the award winning team are perfect for projecting positive brand awareness. Have you just returned from a successful business trip abroad? Why not share some pictures?

The important thing here is to create personality and memorability. Sharing is key online so you want to be generating content that easily lends itself to being repinned. Cogebox is full of examples on how best to show off your brand while at the same time providing useful content. Think of Pinterest as an interactive blog – don’t limit yourself to just sharing pictures: add value to your posts by sharing helpful ideas or handy tips relevant to your business.

  • Culture Fit
    Research says: ‘Looking for a candidate that cares about networking? Pin images of your team at a recent industry trade show. Do you want to attract team players? Consider adding images of a recent team-building event.’

Pinterest is the ideal medium for giving a unique insider look at what your company is like – a website and newsletter can only conjure so much of an image. Pinterest, like YouTube, allows you to take potential candidates on a tour of your offices, meet your staff, see the company dog and football team. These are all the details that go into determining culture fit. Maybe the candidate looking will see something that changes their mind about your company and inspires them to apply. Or maybe they hate sports and dogs. These methods allow a candidate to gain an advanced idea of where a company’s values sit relevant to their own and make a more informed decision about their application.

  • Creative adverts – Creativity isn’t just for candidates
    Research says: When looking for the right candidate, employers need to keep a candidate engaged if they want to attract the right talent.

It isn’t just candidates who are showing their personality with creative resumes – now employers have seized the idea for themselves and are creating memorable and highly shareable job adverts. Kite Consultants demonstrate this perfectly with their ‘recruitographic’ – an image that not only manages to adequately describe their ideal candidate and the application process but also include a great deal of information about the company itself, its culture and its sense of humour. It’s a brilliant call to action and Kite are by no means alone if October Recruitment’sFunniest Recruitment Ads’ is anything to go by. The best thing about these images is that they’re not limited to a particular time frame – a great recruitment ad can be repinned indefinitely, regardless of whether the vacancy has closed, and continue to build interest in your brand.

  • Conclusion:
    Research says: Instead of a step into the unknown consider this a ‘strategic opportunity to “build your firm’s image as an innovator by being the first to use new approaches”

What can we take away from this research? Pinterest favours the adventurous: be bold; don’t be afraid to show your creativity if it will appeal to your ideal candidate. Reach out to your online community and get involved in conversations. Share great content as much as possibly and your brand will flourish, while simultaneously attracting the best talent.

What do you think about Pinterest as the new tool for recruitment? Will you be using it? Are you already using it? Or would you prefer to stick with one of the more established networks? As usual, please leave your thoughts in the comments.