To hire more diverse college students and recent grads, be vocal on social issues on social media

Posted October 05, 2020 by

For years, career experts have been counseling students to either stay off of social media (those days, thankfully, are now long ago) or to be careful to clean up their digital footprints.

Less attention has been paid to the value of posting content to social media, whether the person sharing is doing so on behalf of themselves and is a candidate or if they’re doing so on behalf of their employer. Interestingly, sharing controversial content — what some might call dirt — to blogs, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media sites might actually be of benefit to employers.

Max Harland, CEO of Dentaly, describes himself as hands-on with his company’s human resource endeavors. He advocates for employers to be vocal on social issues on social media if they want to hire more diverse college students and recent graduates.

Dentaly.org was founded in 2014. According to its website, its founding was in “response to the lack of reliable information about the world of oral health on the internet.” It believes “that access to quality information is essential to help people understand and improve their oral health, especially as dental problems are often overlooked on general medical sites.”

Max correctly states that, “social issues are a common topic in social media.” But then he veers onto a path that many might consider to be controversial but which I believe to be spot on. “Companies should proactively voice their support to specific causes if it resonates with their company’s stand on the subject. People, especially the younger generation, love supporting organizations that share the same sentiments as them.  As such, being open about social issues is one way of attracting a particular customer demographic.”

Max cautions, however, that “brands should only be genuinely supporting a movement and not use it as a marketing tactic to boost sales. Although the audience might not know it initially, people can dig up inconsistencies and notice the insincerity sooner or later, subsequently ruining the company brand reputation.”

If authenticity and a willingness to be controversial is consistent with your brand, then weigh in on social issues. Expect to make a few enemies, but also expect to make a lot of friends and be better positioned to succeed in your efforts to recruit more diverse college students. More importantly, at least to me, is to leave this world a better place than how you found it. Maximizing the value you deliver to your shareholders without regard to the value you deliver to your employees, customers, vendors, and community isn’t going to leave this world a better place, unless the world cares more about money than anything else. Some do but, thankfully, most don’t.

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