How to use Slack for recruiting

Slack is a cloud-based collaboration tool that gathers all of your team communication in one place. If you’re looking for creative ways to reach out to passive candidates, consider Slack for recruiting.

What is Slack?

Slack facilitates collaboration by creating open communication channels. It’s easy to navigate and very user-friendly.

Here’s an overview of Slack basics:

  • CROtricks slack channelSlack communities are groups of Slack users who gather around a general field of interest. Each community consists of multiple channels, made for specific topics.
  • Channels support open conversations between all team members. A community member can freely join any channel they want. Here’s an example (on the right) of a Content Research Optimization community, offering relevant advice to marketers.
  • There’s also an option to create private channels, where the content is limited to small member groups. They are best used for sensitive or confidential topics. Members can only join a private channel by invitation.
  • Direct messages and group messages are useful for quick, private conversations between two or more team members.

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Why choose Slack for recruiting:

Slack is quick

Slack offers all the benefits of group chat with real-time response. Sending emails is a safe way to contact an interesting candidate, but, as your response rates might indicate, email is not always the most effective sourcing method. If you’re having a conversation in a Slack channel, you can pose a question about, or comment on, something you found interesting and get an instant reply. Between busy schedules and video meetings, it’s usually easier to answer a quick, informal question than it is to craft a reply email.

Slack is easy

Recruiters can use many of Slack’s features and integrations to source candidates. All content inside Slack is searchable, including files, conversations and member profiles. Integration with tools like Google Drive makes communication even more efficient. Slack channels are like Facebook chats, Whatsapp groups or Skype calls. People with common professional interests (e.g. Python programming) use Slack to share related ideas, spread industry news and have conversations. Its advantage is that it’s playful and casual, which sets the right tone when you want to meet potential candidates without using formal or impersonal messages.

Slack is real

When you have conversations with people on Slack, you get first-hand experience of what keeps them motivated at work: what industry trends they follow, what upcoming conferences they’re attending and where they find inspiration. Following discussions and actively asking questions make a recruiter’s job easier. On Slack, recruiters can get a better idea of how to approach potential candidates by mentioning topics they’re actually interested in.

For more advice on social sourcing, download our complete sourcing guide for free.

What candidates will you find on Slack?

With roughly 3 million daily active users and an increasing number of new channels, it’s worth exploring recruitment in the Slack world.

Slack is particularly popular with developers and designers who don’t usually check their LinkedIn profiles or respond to cold recruiting emails. They’re more likely to hang out in places like Slack.

Here are the most popular Slack communities, categorized by skill set.

Developers:
General
code newbie
DevOps
#developers
Front-end developers
#frontendDevelopers
FEDs
Ruby on rails Ruby developers
SAP #SAP
QA #testing
Bots botmakers
Android
Android chat
Android United
iOS iOS developers
JavaScript
WeLearnJS
emberJS
angularJS
Game development Game devs
PHP Laravel
Python Python community
Designers:
Designer hangout
Designer Talks
Team Sketch
Dribbble people
Marketers:
Online Geniuses
CRO tricks
Affiliate Marketers
Inbound
Conversion World
Sales / Customer Service:
Customer Retention/Happiness
Women in sales
CS Heroes
Product managers:
Mind the Product
Product Talk
Maker Hunt
Business communities:
Startup chat
#smallbiz
Women in Tech
#Launch
Side project
#FemaleFounders
HR-related communities:
#People
Corporate Recruiter
DBR: Inhouse Recruiters
Job boards:
software jobs
#jobs-design
Freelancers / remote workers:
Freelance
Work From
Nomad List

When deciding which communities to join, read their descriptions and comments and take a look at how their discussions are flowing.

Some communities are open and viewable to the public, whereas other are private, meaning you have to request access. In most cases, all you need to do is fill out your name, your email and a brief description. Then, you wait for an invite email from the community moderator. Keep in mind that a few communities require a subscription fee.

How to recruit candidates on Slack:

When you choose an appropriate channel, you can let people know about your job opening. Introduce yourself, mention what you’re looking for and provide any necessary information. Slack users could either contact you for more details or share your job ad with other people who might be interested.

Once you’ve found a potential candidate, it’s best to contact them individually. You can send a private (direct) message, but only if you’ve previously introduced yourself and engaged in a public conversation. Otherwise, some channels could ban you for spamming.

You should discover more about each candidate before reaching out to them. Google them and search via LinkedIn and other social networks. Or, research them with People Search; a Chrome extension that gathers resumes, social profiles and contact details from multiple online sources.

(Note: When looking up information on EU candidates, please refer to guidance on using social media for recruiting and collecting candidate information as per the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR.)

To get the most out of Slack you’ll have to invest some time in discussions. This mightn’t be your first option when trying to hire an employee on short notice. But, building relationships with qualified professionals will improve your sourcing, long-term.

Other ways to use Slack for recruiting:

Slack is a good space to encourage employee referrals. You could simply create a Slack channel within your company, where you announce new job openings and prompt employees to refer candidates. Or, go a little further, like eFounders, and create an entire referral bonus program within Slack. Employees earn virtual currency – called the briqs – when their referred candidate moves to the next hiring level and can buy ‘cool stuff’ (like a Wii) for the office, or for themselves. All eFounders’ referrals, update notifications and briqs rewards happen through Slack.

You can also use Slack to improve your employer brand. Create your own product development community and invite external members to join. You can announce new features, get feedback on your products and services and discuss new ideas. People will gain a sneak peek of how your company works and might actively apply to your next opening. It’s best to complement your company’s Slack presence with your other social media profiles to strengthen your brand.

Slack’s competitive advantage is how it integrates with popular applications and tools. If you’re using an ATS, you can get notifications for candidate applications, which could simplify and organize your recruiting.

If you’re already using Slack for your internal communication, you know how much it can improve your team collaboration. You may want to consider complementing your onboarding process with a message in Slack to announce a new hire. This can be very helpful for remote teams that don’t have the chance to meet every new employee in person.

Slack can be an excellent recruitment companion because it’s quick, easy and fun. Sometimes it’s hard to resist getting distracted by its many emojis and features, though. But, if you try to take the fun element out of Slack, you’re probably missing part of its point:

how to source on slack

Looking for an all-in-one recruiting solution? Workable can improve candidate sourcing, interviewing and applicant tracking for a streamlined hiring process. Sign up for our 15-day free trial today.

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Christina Pavlou

Christina is a writer at Workable, previously a recruiter. She writes about diversity in the workplace and reports on the shape of things to come. She tweets @ChristinaPaulou.

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