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updated 4/4/2014 3:18:53 PM ET 2014-04-04T19:18:53

Sourcing and securing the right candidates for open positions can be an expensive endeavor, often requiring extensive travel to campuses and career fairs as well as time-consuming screening calls and in-person interviews. But social recruiting, or the use of social media in hiring, can cut the costs of the process while delivering top-notch results.    According to a Jobvite survey, 94 percent of recruiters are now -- or are preparing -- to tap social media for recruiting practices, and 73 percent say they have made successful hires in that manner. Because most social media sites frequented by potential candidates are free to use, social recruiting can be extremely budget friendly.    Related:  The Ultimate Social Media Guide to Getting a Job (Infographic)   In addition to the social media sites used by the masses, including Facebook, Twitter and others, career-specific social sites offer affordable opportunities for interacting with potential employees and building your company’s employer brand. For instance, 1-800 CONTACTS recently leveraged the community on one of such sites to boost recruitment with an enhanced employer profile and targeted job ads. With a minimal investment, 1-800 CONTACTS increased its monthly page views from 2,861 to 32,171 and tripled its applicant quality.    There are plenty of places to post your available jobs online for free. Consider these five low- or no-cost outlets to share your open jobs and recruit top talent:   Related:  Go on Facebook for Your Next Hire? (Infographic)   1. Your company's career website. Optimize your job descriptions so they’re easily searchable and don’t forget to link open positions to more information such as company reviews from your employees available on other media.   2. Twitter. On Twitter, you can find potential candidates by following people who tweet about your industry. You can also communicate about your employer brand by building a robust company profile, tweeting about job openings, happenings in your industry and business, and generating conversation with others of like interests.    3. University job boards. Most four-year colleges and universities offer students and alumni the opportunity to post jobs for free. Involve your employees and receive some great referral hires by encouraging employees to post open positions in alumni social-networking groups.    Related:  5 Things You Should Not Do When Hiring for Your Organization   4. Craigslist. For listings in some cities you can post a job for free on Craigslist although the cost for most markets is about $25 to $75 per job listing for 30 days. Although this is an economical option, beware that this will likely result in a flurry of applications, so be prepared to sift through them.    5. Niche social groups. Looking for an executive assistant? There’s a group for that. Locate the online social connections of individuals working in a given industry and post your jobs within those circles. If no one in that group is a fit, the likelihood of a member knowing someone is high.    There are plenty of ways to recruit top talent without paying top dollar. You just have to be willing to put in the work to present an authentic employer brand. Don’t be afraid to jump in and join conversations and share more about your workplace. The more candidates know about your company, the better prepared they will be to decide if they are right for the firm.   Related:  How to Hire Someone Aligned With the Company's Mission

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