Who is using Instagram well for jobseekers?

It has taken more time for corporates to find their niche on the photo-sharing platform, but there is a growing trend to use it to engage with jobseekers. Here, Mali Perdeaux shares the companies making the most of Instagram for recruiting.

Instagram has long been important for independent brands, and has even spawned a new industry of ‘influencers’. The more recent corporate expansion into Instagram reflects the evolution of the platform itself – usage doubled between June 2016 and 2018, with 80 per cent of users apparently following at least one brand account according to Brandwatch research. Many of the corporate careers accounts we’ve seen focus primarily on early career candidates (also according to Brandwatch, 90 per cent of Instagram users are under 35) but increasingly they also address a wider audience of professionals.

Instagram provides a range of opportunities to engage with jobseekers, from ‘quick win’ staff profiles (video content is particularly popular) and graduate ‘takeovers’, to using Stories for tips for applicants, site tours, polls and more.

A bonus for stretched digital teams is that less slick, more authentic posts are often more popular than very polished agency-style material. The inherent informality of the platform provides an ideal opportunity for organizations to present their human side and show off the engaging individuals behind the corporate brand.

Here, we take a look at some of key trends to see who is serving jobseekers well on the channel.

Verizon, Vodafone and BP: Giving brands, and policies, a human face

US telecoms giant Verizon was one of the first notable corporate careers Instagram feeds we found, blending corporate images with a series showcasing members of staff talking briefly about something important to them outside work. Collated under the hashtag #ThisIsMeVZ, examples include an employee who finds the energy for a busy work and family life through a new-found passion for exercise which saw him competing on the American Ninja Warrior show. As well as being in keeping with the early spirit of the platform, this is a low-cost and effective way to both bring a human face to the company – most of the pictures were personal snapshots rather than corporate shots – while making staff feel involved, supported and seen.

More recently, the company uses the feed to combine personal stories with responsibility and recruitment messages - for instance a new father kissing his baby and talking about the positive impact of his paternity leave allowance, or employees taking part in community projects under the hashtag #PowerToGoBeyond.


Vodafone has an ‘Early careers’ channel, @VodafoneGlobalGrads, which makes excellent use of its feed to inform and engage with potential candidates. The main grid is primarily – though, crucially, not exclusively – slick 'official' photography. The channel comes into its own in the Stories, which feature Q&As with current grads, 'Wednesday wisdom' tips from recruiters, 'Intern life' offering a glimpse into the intern routine, interviews with #WomenInEngineering and more.
This approach provides a relatively quick and inexpensive way to provide material that offers real value to candidates, helping to build a realistic picture of whether a career at Vodafone would be a good fit for them. 

BP launched @life.at.bp on Instagram just over a year ago to 'Celebrat[e] our culture, colleagues and careers around the globe'. The posts mix professional event photography with candid snaps to provide a compelling insight into life at the company. The variety on the feed reflects – and powerfully demonstrates – the reach of the organization, for instance a collection of ‘Office views’ that ranges from La Defence in Paris to sunsets from a rig off Trinidad and Tobago. Perhaps most powerfully, Stories allow staff to give an informal, and often convincingly enthusiastic, view of their working day in pictures. 

Maersk and Unilever: A win-win – boosting engagement with reposting

Some canny digital teams also use Instagram to boost staff engagement, while providing 'quick win' updates for the main feed, but reposting (with appropriate permission and credits) pictures shared on employees' personal accounts.

Maersk regularly re-posts pictures or films posted by staff on their own feeds. This provides candid content for minimal digital team overhead; makes staff feel valued (and boosts the potential audience for their personal account); and sends a subtle but powerful message to jobseekers that existing staff are enthused about their work. 

Similarly, the Unilever Instagram feed includes pictures taken by Unilever employees (whose Instagram profiles are linked from the post), presenting the company as a fulfilling and creative place to work. Many of these are also used to reinforce responsibility messages which are likely to be appealing to jobseekers.

Facebook: Sidestepping the silo trap

One potential pitfall we have noticed is a growing number of companies producing compelling material on social media platforms but failing to make use of it on the relevant pages on their main Careers section. 

One organization that does bridge this gap – perhaps unsurprisingly – is Facebook

Many of the pages in the Facebook Life area of its Careers section include a panel of links to Instagram posts of employees discussing an aspect of their career or working life. By providing links to posts that are relevant to a specific page, rather than a general Instagram feed, Facebook is extending the ‘life’ of the profile posts and making sure they are visible to the target audience.

First published 02 September, 2019
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