Social recruiting sounds simple: take jobs, the primary currency of modern recruiting, and insert them into social channels. It’s so easy that there are dozens of bots and tools that can take the jobs from your ATS and drop them into your Twitter, Facebook and other channels.

Sadly, what sounds like a magic bullet ends up shooting you in the foot, When you post every job to a social channel, each job is likely only of value to 1-2% of your social audience, because the job is either something they aren’t qualified for or is so far away it’s not worth applying for. This makes you a spammer.

Worse, this idea is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist: that your jobs are hard to find. Are you posting them to the big 2-3 major job boards? Then everyone can find your jobs, either on their search engines, or through the bots that scrape those sites, or on Google.

Social recruiting is a far more complex way to pitch your jobs than simply giving you another space in which to shout about your jobs. Properly done, social recruiting is a way to attract attention to your jobs in a way that job boards can’t. It’s not about getting a bigger megaphone; it’s about giving you a different language.

Let me tell you a story. A large company is trying to attract more IT talent to its jobs. IT is a competitive space, obviously, filled with standardized tasks and skills, so it’s likely your job description sounds just like every other company’s IT job descriptions.

Thus, posting the job “Senior Ruby on Rails Developer, Pittsburgh [link] #jobs” on Twitter will sound like every other company trying to promote their developer job in that location. When you sound like everyone else, you have to compete on volume, which means spending money to promote your tweet or post. And if you had the money, wouldn’t you already be promoting it on job boards where people are actively looking for jobs?

So what you need to do here is simple: don’t promote your jobs – market them.

Instead of a tweet like the above, how about “If you understand ‘validates_presence_of :pittsburgh’ then we want to talk to you [link]” or “Our idea of a good morning also starts with ‘$ bin/rails server’ [link]”.

First off, you aren’t promoting a job – you’re indicating that you don’t just need a Ruby on Rails dev, but that you understand what Ruby on Rails devs do, putting you in the top 2% of all recruiters and companies.

You’re being exclusionary, because lawyers, nurses and marketers don’t need to understand the tweet. You don’t want them to apply, anyway. You’re speaking their language and positioning your jobs and company in a different league as your competition. By marketing your jobs instead of just promoting them, you can stand out in any crowded field.

Let’s take another example. Trying to hire nurses? Who isn’t? But “RN – Peds Hem/Onc* (2 openings) [link]” isn’t going to attract anyone. (And in case you were wondering, yes, that’s an actual job title in an ATS that was pushed out to Twitter.) But if you tweet “Love kids and hate cancer? Sounds like we’re going to be friends [link] #nursingjobs,” you can attract engaged applicants. Or how about “We want #nurses to join the fight against kids battling cancer and other blood pathogens [link]”? Heck, I’m squeamish around needles, but I’d apply for that last one.

Smart marketing is about starting conversations and relationships. Thinking about your social recruiting means ditching the idea that you can automate these relationships or abdicate conversations to bots. These things need a recruiter’s touch, someone who understands the job and the motivation behind people looking for that job.

So start thinking about your social recruiting in a whole new light and attract more and better talent.