Who is using Instagram well for jobseekers?

Instagram has long been important for small, independent brands, and has even spawned a new industry of ‘influencers’. 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.

This corporate expansion onto 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 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, by 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.

Mali Perdeaux

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Cultivating your careers section

Jobseekers are usually the biggest single group of visitors to corporate websites. Yet there are many Careers sections that are uninspiring and unlikely to motivate talented people to apply. Here, Mali Perdeaux and Jason Sumner present some of the best recent innovations in corporate online recruiting.

The seamless job search

Innovating the job search engine is not necessarily about bells and whistles, but providing a straightforward way to see every job available in the company across the globe; and a seamless path to create an application from scratch or upload a social media profile. It is surprisingly difficult – we know this because relatively few companies manage it.

The prevalence of ‘Taleo’-style application management systems has not helped. The worst of these can – with one click – take visitors from a recently relaunched, responsive and superbly designed Careers section straight back to the early 2000s in terms of functionality and look and feel – clunky usability, tiny type, restrictive response fields, no flair and zero corporate branding.

Verizon: Customising the third-party site

There are signs that companies are moving away from this approach and bringing job search mechanisms, even those provided by a third party, more in line with what jobseekers might be used to seeing elsewhere on the modern web.

Verizon is a slick example – it uses company branding, allows users to upload their CV or import one from social media, has simple, pared back forms (on a single page or click-to-expand menus), and takes applications via mobile.

Nordea: Speaking your language

Local language application tools are still unusual – but Swedish bank Nordea offers a job search in all five language versions of its corporate site (English, Danish, Norweigan, Suomi, Swedish), with job descriptions are listed in the language most relevant to the role. Also of note: the service is neatly integrated into the main corporate site, and is responsively designed.

AstraZeneca: Where in the world

AstraZeneca has integrated location information into its job search. From the Careers site home page, jobseekers have the option to carry out a conventional keyword search or browse jobs by location. Brief country summaries help to contextualise the company's operations in the given country, and there are photos and descriptors of some of the company's key facilities (in Gaithersburg, Cambridge and South San Francisco) as well.  

Selling the company to jobseekers

Success at using online channels to ‘sell’ the company is more intangible than a slick application tool, but as important.

In Situ at LVMH

LVMH is superb at this, with an innovative approach to employee profiles, case studies and ‘in situ’ films, well-produced mini fly-on-the-wall documentaries that give a sense of what working there might actually be like.

Practical information

‘Selling’ the company also means providing detailed practical information about career paths, training, locations, work-life balance, etc.

ConocoPhillips’ country specific pages

ConocoPhillips’ benefits area in its global Careers section includes several country-specific pages dealing with things like holiday time, insurance and other benefits in each country. It is a more meaningful approach than the typical watered down global information offered by many companies on their global websites.

Inditex’s job glossary

On the Inditex Careers microsite there is a useful 'Job Glossary' that explains, in simple terms, the different roles throughout the company. Individual roles are presented in four dropdown menus under 'Stores', 'Products', 'Logistics' and 'Offices'. For example, under 'Product', there are 14 roles. Clicking on 'Art Direction' for example, calls up a window with an explanation of the role. The feature will be especially useful for young jobseekers who are new to the job market, what is likely to be a key audience for Inditex's Careers material.

Best of the rest – social media, chats, ‘vlogging’ and new platforms

We think innovation in serving jobseekers is so important, we give it its own metric in our benchmarking methodology – ‘added value features’. This is where we keep an eye on how well companies are using social media – LinkedIn and other platforms – to engage with jobseekers, and anything else that looks new and exciting.

LVMH and LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most prominent social media channel for recruitment, but it is still under-utilised, and often run in competition to the website rather than as a complementary channel.

LVMH has more than 500,000 followers on LinkedIn and makes effective use of the channel. There are frequent and relevant posts for jobseekers, including reports and photos from job fairs; personnel announcements across the group; the launch of awards, for example, 'The LVMH Innovation Award', etc. There is a comprehensive 'Overview' section, jobs listing and a section on 'Life' with prominent links back to the LVMH website.

United Health Group: Online chats

United Health Group’s recruiter chats offers jobseekers an opportunity to connect directly with the company’s recruiters and ask questions about the company and recruiting process. Specific times are set aside each week for different job types. A good way to make the company seem friendly – perhaps giving recruiters a chance to cherry pick especially promising talent.

‘Vlogging’ at GSK

As we noted in a recent BC tip, GSK has taken the trend for vlogging, popular among internet marketers and millennials, and adapted it effectively for the corporate web. The pieces to camera effectively blend communications for current employees and future ones. There are signs companies are beginning to see the benefits of combining communications in this way, by using public channels to communicate with their employees, knowing that it makes a good impression on jobseekers as well.

New horizons? Instagram, Medium, Flipboard and Glassdoor

Finally, a few channels have been used sporadically, but not enough to declare a trend. Verizon and Syngenta Canada have pages on Instagram, but they are currently cut off from what is happening on the main site.

L’Oréal frequently uses third party sites such as Instagram, Medium and Flipboard, in what seems an effort to attract users to its coporate site; and to reach jobseekers on platforms where they already are, with minimal overhead.

L’Oréal also uses Glassdoor, a US-based website where employees and former employees can post anonymous reviews of their experiences, trade salary information and share gossip. We have seen only a few (mainly US-based companies) maintain their own pages on the platform, presumably because they believe US jobseekers will seek them out on the platform anyway. The channel may be better known stateside at the moment, but it will be interesting to see if its popularity migrates to the corporate web in other parts of the world.

- Mali Perdeaux and Jason Sumner

Behind the scenes at the museum - showcasing digital

The website of the UK-based Victoria and Albert Museum has a blog, which gives a behind-the-scenes view of life at the organization. It covers a variety of topics, ranging from lesser-known collections, forthcoming exhibitions, events and educational initiatives to the work of the curators and other museum specialists… including, unusually, the digital media department.

Posts by the digital team (several different authors write about their specialisms) offer a fascinating view of how the department works. Two of the best I read were about how the team hit a tight deadline for a design project and advice for agencies on successful pitches.

The writing has an informal tone that makes it accessible to a general audience, but includes enough detail to interest fellow online professionals. The articles I looked at had a healthy number of comments and timely responses from the digital team.

Hearing from an internal department on an organizational blog is highly unusual. Even sites with features about working life in the ‘core business’ tend to gloss over the service teams such as digital, accounts or corporate comms.

The subject matter is often focused on design, and given the remit of the museum (‘…promoting the practice of design and increasing knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of the designed world’) there is a clear logic to describing its internal processes in this way.

However, I think there is a good argument for other organizations, including corporates, to follow their lead. What better way to attract the best candidates, for example, than to provide an inspiring insight into life all parts of the organization, including digital? A blog is the best place to include the occasional less formal ‘peep behind the curtain’.

- Mali Perdeaux


The eyes have it - a lament for related links

I was recently fortunate to be invited to observe a session which used some seriously impressive eye-tracking kit to reinforce conventional user journey testing. The study compared two proposed designs for a clients’ site. It was a fascinating exercise.

Watching the subjects intuit their way around the alternative formats on both desktop and mobile platforms, and listening to their comments as they went, got me thinking about trends in corporate sites and the user testing that we are assured validates them. 

Several users mentioned that they would like to see a left hand menu and some related links to lead them through the content… remember those? Once classic components of any solid navigation system, they seem to have fallen foul of ‘responsive design’, or rather the corporate site trends that it has inspired.

As David Bowen wrote in his latest commentary article, agencies continue to assure us that their designs – so beautiful on their big screens, reasonably effective on mobile but often down right frustrating on a laptop – score well in usability tests. Which begs the question: what are they testing them against? Are they comparing trendy big banner, deep scroll layouts with a more conventional design featuring left hand menus and related links? Or big banner layout vs slightly different big banner layout?

I know which I’d put my money on… 

- Mali Perdeaux