Chris Russell

2 min read

Recruiting Tactics

Instagram Recruiting: How to Search & Source

Few employers recruit on Instagram, even though it is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world and represents a great opportunity for recruiters to source candidates. Although you are limited as far as search parameters, Instagram’s scale lends itself to being a huge pool of talent waiting to be found.

According to Statista, “With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram belongs to the most popular social networks worldwide. The social photo sharing app is especially popular in the United States, India, and Brazil, which have over 130 million, 100 and 91 million Instagram users each. In the United States, the number of Instagram users is projected to surpass 130 million MAU (monthly active users) in 2022.”

Another interesting fact…  over two thirds of total Instagram audiences are aged 34 years and younger, meaning that they’re even more likely to be glued to their mobile phones and text messaging apps than the rest of us already are.

Sourcing Instagram Bios

Most people search Instagram by hopping from hashtag to hashtag, but that’s not really ideal for sourcing people. If that’s how you are doing your Instagram recruiting, I suggest using the site: search function on Google instead. Here’s a query for “software developers” AND Boston”.

instagram sourcing

Site search works pretty well in this case. To reuse this string just replace the job title and city with your own. Feel free to add in negative keywords (ex. -nursing) to help you filter out certain profiles.

Google search query: “software developer” AND boston


You can send messages (from within the app) to someone even if they don’t follow you.

  1. Tap in the top-right corner or swipe left from anywhere in Feed.
  2. Tap in the top-right corner.
  3. Select people you’d like to send a message to, then tap Next.
  4. Type a message. You can also tap to take and send a disappearing photo or video, or to select a photo or video from your library.
  5. Tap or Send.

If you send a message to someone who doesn’t follow you, it’ll appear as a request in their inbox. If someone allows your Instagram recruiting message request, your future messages will go directly to their inbox. Since they probably aren’t expecting to hear from a recruiter on Instagram, try looking them up on LinkedIn if you don’t want to engage directly on Instagram itself.

NOTE: Instagram also lets you send photo and video DMs from your PC. Instagram still won’t let you upload posts to your profile from your computer (unless you have a tablet with a rear-mounted camera). But now, you at least can send photo and video as direct messages from your desk using the Windows 10 app.

One other sourcing tip to mention is hashtags. Searching for career related hashtags can also help to uncover hidden talent and recruit on Instagram more effectively. Let’s say you were looking for nurses. Check out the hashtag #nursinglife to see real world nurses chronicling their work day.

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