Advocate Aurora Health’s Jessica Summerfield shares their social media talent acquisition strategy

I have always seen my job as making all the other recruiters' jobs easier -- getting them more candidates, better candidates, and reducing time to fill. Jessica Summerfield
Jessica Summerfield is charged with building the employment brand of Advocate Aurora Health and establishing the health system as a preferred employer — and social media is one of the key ways she's doing it.

Her role is new for the organization, and just in time: They're fresh off a merger, and the combined organization now includes 70,000 employees, 27 hospitals, and more than 500 care sites throughout Illinois and Wisconsin. That means they've got a lot of jobs to fill — she says that at any one time, they have more than 2,000 openings.

“I'm part of talent acquisition, which serves everything except leadership and physicians — but I still work with the leadership and physician teams to help support them in social media too,” says Jessica.

Advocate Aurora Health uses a mix of dedicated and shared social media channels for recruitment marketing.

Jessica explains that their social strategy features two dedicated channels — one on Twitter and another on Facebook. They also share a LinkedIn page with the marketing team.

But the content isn't just geared toward job seekers. She says their followers also include current team members and people in the community — so they keep that in mind when developing content.

Jessica says their content strategy breaks down to a roughly 75/25 mix.

I don't want it to be just a job feed, because I don't know why anyone would want to follow that. Jessica Summerfield
She explains that about 75 percent of their content is focused on branding Advocate Aurora Health — like highlighting awards they win, sharing ground breakings on new buildings, and different things that caregivers and team members are doing in community.

The remaining 25 percent is job-specific, focused on actual openings. But even then, she says it's not just a job posting — it offers detail or insight into the role.

“I don't want it to be just a job feed, because I don't know why anyone would want to follow that,” says Jessica.

She adds that, whenever she can, she includes a picture of the team — because it increases engagement and the teams themselves get excited.

Jessica says that a lot of the people viewing the content might not be followers — but instead, are stopping by to check them out at some point during the hiring process.

“They may not follow us, but they definitely will come to our different channels for information — to decide whether or not to apply, to research for an interview, or to decide whether to accept an offer — so we try to keep our content as a good mix of value,” she says.

For example, on LinkedIn she'll post resume tips or link to third-party content. She says they often see strong engagement and click-throughs from those posts.

Jessica points out that when it comes to promoting jobs in social, you can see surprising results — so it pays to experiment.

For example, she recently had an opening for a cook (because hospitals actually employ a lot of food service workers) that wasn't getting much of a response on the traditional job boards.

She posted the job using Facebook's Jobs feature, and within 3-4 day,s had so many applicants they took the job down. She was surprised at the quality of the applicants, too — because it's so easy to apply on Facebook, she says you sometimes get a flood of unqualified applicants.

Jessica points out that she's been surprised the other way — for example, nursing positions she expected to do well on Facebook fell flat. She encourages experimentation and to try promoting roles you might not initially think of on social.

In another experiment, she's using Twitter and Facebook to promote an upcoming recruiting open house.

More than half the people who have RSVP'd have gotten to the page by Facebook. Jessica Summerfield
Jessica says she's in the middle of a new pilot now — they're hosting what they're calling an OR Open House — where job seekers can meet their staff and leadership, local educators from certificate programs, and Advocate Aurora Health recruiters.

“We're talking about everything from sterile processing all the way to leadership within the OR rooms. We'll actually have our technical colleges and some other schools who offer programs for surgical tech and nursing on-site to answer questions,” explains Jessica.

She says they're inviting anyone who's interested in working at Aurora, but also using it as part of their internal “Career Exploration Center” where people in unrelated roles (like food service) can learn about opportunities to change careers.

Jessica says they're using Facebook and Twitter to promote it with posts, an event, and ads. “More than half the people who have RSVP'd have gotten to the page by Facebook,” she says.

Jessica admits that her role blending social and recruiting is unique, but it's starting to become more common. (And she's got advice for you if you don't have the role, yet.)

As more employers develop their employment brands and seek applicants in a competitive market, Jessica says roles like hers are starting to become more common — both in corporate brands and in health care.

She says if you can't dedicate someone to this, it's important to have a strong partnership between marketing and recruiting.

“It's similar — you're marketing either way — but it's different than marketing to a consumer or patient,” she says.

She says it's also important to sit down with the recruiters and truly understand their challenges. For example, they have job openings in both Green Bay and Milwaukee, which are only 90 minutes apart. But those markets have very different needs when it comes to recruiting, and it's important to understand those nuances.

“I have always seen my job as making all the other recruiters' jobs easier — getting them more candidates, better candidates, and reducing time to fill,” says Jessica.

Jessica has been a member of Health since 2017. Say hello and connect with her on LinkedIn here.