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Social media recruitment on Instagram

Christine Del Castillo
Christine Del Castillo

Former Community Manager at Workable specialized in employee experience, talent brands and our event series, Workable Ideas.

If you’re already using Instagram for marketing, you should consider using it to promote jobs and build your brand as an employer. Instagram is quickly gaining popularity as an effective social media recruitment tool. Last year it ran a close fourth to the big three channels leading social media recruiting: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. For more on that, see our social recruitment FAQ.

The case for Instagram

Who’s on Instagram? 400m users, beating Twitter by a 100m. Like Snapchat, its user base skews younger: more than half of all online users aged 18 to 29 use Instagram. And it’s got a diverse set of fans; in the US it is used by 47% of African Americans and 38% of Latinos. Finally, Instagram users are more likely to be female rather than male. If your company is actively recruiting young people and diverse candidates, Instagram is a good place to find them.

Instagram, being an image sharing platform, can lift the curtain on the people, spaces and moments that make your workplace a unique and exciting place to work. Half the magic of talent attraction comes from being a desirable place to work, which is why social media recruitment on Instagram should be inseparable from employer branding.

It’s a mistake to think that Instagram is just for companies in visually appealing industries like fashion and food. Photos from the day your team did volunteer work together, won a hackathon or brought on a new hire will tell prospective candidates more about you than words ever will. Employer branding on social media is a long and patient game, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get engagement right away. Put in the time and the candidates you’re looking for will take notice.

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Anatomy of an Instagram post

Social media recruitment on Instagram
When you know which elements to optimize, making the most out of your Instagram posts is easy. Here’s a quick primer.


Smartphones take high-definition photos these days, but if you have a nice camera and want to use it, here are the maximum image sizes for Instagram:

  • Square Image: 1080px in width by 1080px in height
  • Vertical Image:  1080px in width by 1350px in height
  • Horizontal Image: 1080px in width by 566px in height

It’s worth the effort to design these images. Add your company logo and brief text that gets to the point quickly. Feel free to experiment with videos too — videos on Instagram can be up to 15 seconds long.


Instagram does not support clickable links, except in user profiles. It’s a non-feature that has been historically frustrating for marketers. The workaround: You can send people to a link in the user profile, or share a short link in the caption or in the image itself.  Amtrak Careers, one of the best employer brands on Instagram, promotes specific jobs this way.


The character count limit on Instagram is 2,200 characters, but users won’t see more than the first 3 lines of text in their feeds. In most cases, shorter captions are more engaging.

Social media recruitment on Instagram


Just like on Twitter, Instagram hashtags are a quick way for users to search for content. It’s a good idea to use a specific hashtag for your employer brand content (see: #HootsuiteLife, #LegacyBuilders, etc). Hashtags related to hiring can also make it easier for job seekers to discover your jobs. A common tactic is to add a comment with relevant hashtags. See the example from SumoMeabove.

Have a content strategy

General Electric's employer brand on Instagram.

Who is your audience and what types of posts will resonate the most?  General Electric‘s feed is populated with stunning photos of their jet engines, wind turbines and locomotives. This is enticing content for job seekers who geek out about these products and dream of working on them. One way to figure out what content to post is to look at what your competitors are doing and see which recruitment or employer brand posts get the most engagement.

Instagram role model: NPR Interns

This NPR Instagram account is run by their interns. The content on the NPR Interns account is created by their target audience for their target audience: new journalism grads who want to break into public radio. The interns document everything from the recording studios of popular NPR shows and audio editing sessions to handwritten notes and caffeine intake. The result is a realistic preview of the sometimes mundane, sometimes thrilling aspects of the job that does not talk down to the young people they want to bring aboard.

More resources for social recruiting:

Frequently asked questions

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