I recently became a user of Instagram. I'm so busy on LinkedIn and Twitter, I barely have time for Facebook, let alone another platform. However, with two daughters who wanted Instagram accounts, I decided to get on board.

In the beginning, the platform didn't really click with me. I could post pictures anywhere. Why do it on Instagram? Slowly, I started to see the personalities and power that could be leveraged from a brand perspective on this platform. That lead me to a big aha moment about Instagram as a potential recruiting tool.

News flash: Your best customers want to work for you!

A recent survey announced by LinkedIn showed 70 percent of the people following a company on its platform were interested in working for that company. While I don't have a formal poll on how many Instagram followers want to work for you, I'm confident that number could be even higher. Here's why...

Fifty percent of today's workforce consists of Millennials (under the age of 35), and guess what platform they love and use most? More important, why does that matter? Studies show this generation cares deeply about whom they work for. They'll take less pay to work at a company with a good employment culture. The sooner you start working in pictures of life at your company with comments providing insights into the employment culture and how to get a job with you on your Instagram feed, the sooner the light bulb will go off in your followers' heads to check out your open positions.

Instagram bonus: Delight job seekers by giving them what they want most.

One of the biggest frustrations job seekers have today is the lack of response they get from employers. Applying on popular job boards and social media sites often feels like a waste of time. Given the average job gets 118 applicants, it's no wonder why candidates click "send" and feel certain the application they spent an hour filling out is going into a big black hole. Now, imagine how much you could impress those followers of your Instagram feed who want to work for you by answering them on the platform. I was so intrigued by this idea that I tested it, and the results will surprise and delight you.

Salesforce.com gets what I'm saying!

I found a "top 100 companies to work for in 2015" list and picked five companies in the top 20. I went to each of their Instagram pages, liked a few of their pictures, and then commented on one, all using the same text as follows:

I love your company and would like to work for you. Do you have any tips for how I can stand out in the application process?

Of the five, only one company, Salesforce.com, answered me. And, it did it in a record time of one hour. See their response below:

Imagine being a real job seeker on the receiving end of that response. What are the odds that job seeker will apply now? And, how many other people saw the comment and may decide to use the advice to apply too?

Especially valuable for "purple squirrel hunting."

The last benefit to using Instagram to recruit is the ability to find "purple squirrels" in today's talent shortage. The talent you want is already working. The likelihood they are visiting job boards and looking at your open positions are slim. How do you get in front of them? It's not easy! Many recruiters are pulling their hair out trying to find elusive candidates for hiring managers. A long list of must-have requirements can make the perfect candidate impossible to find. But, what if you could lure them in on Instagram? The ability to share what you are looking for and asking others to share it too can help ensure that your toughest jobs to fill go viral on a platform that studies show has 50 times the engagement rate of Facebook or Twitter.

I encourage you to explore the power of Instagram to help you recruit. A little attention to your feed and some strategic posts could result in your finding the right people to hire for your open positions. The war for talent is in full swing. Your recruiting team needs every Employment Branding advantage to find the right candidates for your positions.

PS - I also write (and connect with readers) via LinkedIn here >>

Published on: Jun 25, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.