Using Instagram for Recruiting

Posted By: Erin Howell AASPA Blog,

Using Instagram for Recruiting

Recruiting and hiring top talent has long been a priority of many HR professionals. In today’s digital age, gone are the days of people scouring newspapers for job ads. Applicants are changing their focus to looking and applying for positions online. What does that mean for your recruitment strategy? Posting open positions on your website is essential but, you can, and should, strengthen your recruitment efforts by meeting applicants where they are.

Why Instagram?

In 2020, the social media platform, Instagram, reached over 140 million US users. These users engaged with content creators, brands, and each other for an average of 30 minutes a day. With its ability to reach audiences across the country with relative ease, Instagram, and social media in general, may be a key in attracting diverse applicants to your district or organization. 

According to Pew Research Center, global internet and social media usage is at an all time high. In 2005, when Pew began tracking social media use, only 5% of American adults used at least one platform. By 2011, half of all Americans were using social media and in 2021, 72% were! So while the question in the past may have been are you using social media? Today, the question becomes, how can you leverage existing social media channels to support organizational goals?

When we look at data available by Pew, it is evident that Instagram is the way to reach a younger, more diverse audience. While it’s important to have a presence on LinkedIn, the platform known for networking and job hunting, Pew’s research shows that younger and more diverse candidates may not be using Linkedin. By and large, these audiences are turning to Instagram. 

5 Steps to Include Instagram in Your Recruitment Strategy 

Step 1. Develop a District Brand

Start with doing some research. Engage with both internal and external audiences and ask them what sets you apart from other districts or organizations as an employer. It could be that your employees have one view of your organization, while you have another. Look at data collected from employee departures and update your values if need be. 

Step 2. Utilize Brand to Guide Content 

Make sure to maximize your profile to make a great first impression and reinforce your brand. Job seekers and Instagram users like to see “behind-the-scenes” looks into your organization. Give them a chance to “meet” the people that work in your organization to get a feel of the culture. Show them a day-in-the-life so prospective applicants can get a feel of what it would be like to work in your organization. Highlight events like recognition ceremonies or celebrations to show what you value. Consider typical recruiting schedules to inform when and what you post when on Instagram.

 Step 3. Create an Engaging Experience

When you post, use a mix of hashtags. Always include your brand hashtags for your school, district, or organization along with something popular or trending. Too many and it looks like spam, too few and you could be missing out on visibility. Using between five and ten hashtags is optimal. Find, follow, and engage with community leaders. Always try to add value by educating or informing your audience and you will grow your following in no time.

Step 4: Track Metrics
Instagram offers many data points in the app, including likes, views, comments, and impressions (the times the content was viewable by a user) that can give you an idea of how well your content is performing. You can also take instagram metrics a step further, by tracking the number of applicants that list Instagram as the way they found your district and the number of website visits from instagram links. Overall, you want to track the metrics that show the most benefit to leadership and stakeholders to ensure continued buy-in.

Step 5: Reevaluate Strategy 

Instagram data can paint a picture of how your social media recruitment strategy is doing and can also highlight areas of improvement. Instagram’s algorithm rewards consistent posting by you and engagement from your followers. If you are not seeing the returns you would like on your post, it may be a clue that it is time to update your strategy! Something as simple as changing the time or day of week that you post can dramatically increase the likelihood that your post will be seen. It is important to remain willing to update strategy, as the social media climate can change quickly. 

As the world becomes more connected through social media, Instagram is the way to reach a younger, more diverse audience and attract them to your district. With a little effort and strategy, you can advance your recruiting efforts by leveraging Instagram to showcase the great things about your district. 

Experience Management Institute
Experience Management Institute (EXMI) is a woman-owned and operated business headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. With experience in human-centered design, people management, instructional design, and process improvement, we help educational organizations build more human workplaces.

Taylor Tamang, MHRM
Taylor, an HR Consultant at EXMI, recently joined the team at K-12 with the goal of fulfilling her dream of making a difference while using her human resources expertise to support nonprofits, educational institutions, and government entities. You can connect with Taylor on Twitter @Taylor_EXMI or contact her at

Erin Howell
Erin, director of Marketing and Communications at EXMI, is a dynamic marketing and communications professional with experience spanning across multiple industries for more than a decade. She brings an extensive breadth and depth of marketing and communications experience to our team with a passion for creativity, exceptional interpersonal skills and strategic thinking. Connect with Erin on Twitter @Erin_EXMI or contact her at