Facebook

With over 1.23 billion users, Facebook now tops every single social networking site on the net including Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter. As the most widely used networking site on the web, Facebook has naturally also become a huge sourcing ground for recruiters.

Unlike professional networking sites such as LinkedIn however, Facebook isn’t designed to be used for sourcing, nor do many of it’s users expect recruiters to be using it in this way. The amount of people who keep an up to date professional status is vague, and privacy settings can challenge the ease of direct searching.

However, this doesn’t mean that Facebook isn’t a very valuable tool in recruitment. As with everything it has its pros and cons – in this case Facebook can be an excellent tool to cultivate potential candidates as well as finding and hiring candidates. The main pull of course, is the potential of discovering passive candidates – those elusive professionals who aren’t particularly searching for employment, but may be swung. Those who are naturally drawn to your company by common interests or friends, and those who don’t already have a souped up profile on LinkedIn!

So, what’s the best way to use Facebook to find all of those elusive candidates? There’s a few options which we’ll take a look at here:

1) Facebook communities:

First off it’s important to build up a respected Facebook community for your company. With regular input and maintenance you can gradually build up a fanbase of followers who give value to your Facebook community with their own contributions in the form of comments, discussions, pictures and the like.

This initial step is relatively time consuming, however it’s the keystone to using Facebook as a viable recruiting method. By regularly updating your community page with engaging content you can successfully gain momentum as a company of interest.

For standard recruitment purposes, your community page will ideally attract fans based in the same area and it’s important to keep the content focused on your company i.e. your day to day activities, latest news, new products, campaigns and the like. Or something completely unrelated but unique to your employer brand, for example:

We’re celebrating the Dallas Cowboys 37-36 win against Green Bay Packers in style!
– Accompanied by a picture of your team enjoying a casual Friday in their blue shirts.

Of course this might put off any Packers fans, but hey you get the point.

The result of a successful Facebook community page means that over time, you’ll build up a fanbase of people who share your interests and goals. These people, and likely their friends too, will therefore be a good base to begin recruiting amongst.

2) Posting jobs on Facebook:

Naturally the next step is to let your fans know when positions become available. The first, and easiest way, is to post links to open vacancies. Statistically, posts with images get more views therefore it’s always a good idea to accompany your ad with a relevant image.

However, it’s more and more common to simply link your career site to your Facebook page by installing a widget or setting up an RSS feed which will automatically update vacancies directly on your community page – talk to your tech guy or girl about this.

Additionally it’s worth installing the Facebook widget on your career site. This way, anyone looking to work for your company will have an immediate way to get involved, even if there aren’t currently any vacancies. And so the community (and your talent pool) grows.

3) Word of mouth:

As we all know, hearing a first hand experience is way more convincing that something that happened to a ‘friend of a friend’ – the same goes for a company reputation. Therefore it’s worth encouraging your existing employees to spread the word via Facebook.

Least of all, apart from credibility, it will increase the amount of exposure your job post receives. For example if every employee in an office of 20 people share an ad with an average of 200 friends each, that’s a potential audience of 4000 Facebook users – all of which have at least one direct connection to your existing employees.

RELATED: Why Employee Referrals are the Best Source of Hire

4) Facebook Marketplace:

Facebook Marketplace was initially launched in 2007 and is now running via Oodle meaning it’s only available to the States (for those of you outside of the US it’s essentially Gumtree).

As a free service it’s a budget friendly way to reach out to more job seekers on Facebook. You simply fill out an ad, including a description and an image, and post it to the Marketplace as well as your own Timeline.

As long as your post is up, it will be accessible to anyone visiting Facebook Marketplace or specifically searching for your job criteria on Facebook.

5) Facebook Graph Search:

Facebook Graph Search was officially launched early last year (2013) however, it’s had a few teething problems rolling out and is still only available to English speaking accounts. For now, your best bet is to make sure your language is set to US English, and to join the waiting list.

That aside, when you do get your hands on it, Facebook Graph is set to be the next big thing in social recruiting. For a start you can search Facebook’s billion plus users with pretty much any query, for example:

  • “Engineers living in London”
  • “People who used to work for Google in California”
  • “Accountants employed by Bank of America”

Following this you can further filter your search results by the commonly held information on Facebook profiles, for example:

  • Location
  • Hometown
  • University
  • Language
  • Hobbies

As mentioned however, most users don’t treat Facebook as they would LinkedIn, therefore the amount up to date job information that you’ll find is debatable.

What Facebook Graph Search is extremely useful for though, is honing down on those secondary aspects that can make the difference between a good candidate and a perfect one. For example, narrowing down on hometowns, language skills, or places that people have visited can be particularly useful if you’re looking to recruit for particular language skills, or people who are likely to want to re-locate to a place that they have visited.

Or, of course, it might be a bonus for you if your candidate is a big fan of the Dallas Cowboys!

It’s these kind of soft facts (often left unmentioned on professional sites) that give Facebook Graph Search an edge, especially if you’re keen to recruit for personality as well as skills.

READ MORE: How to Recruit with Facebook Graph Search [INFOGRAPHIC]

6) Facebook etiquette:

A while ago I wrote an article here on the etiquette of social recruiting, which looked at the way in which it is, and isn’t, appropriate to approach potential candidates via social networking sites.

Without going over the topic again in too much detail, it’s important to remember that many people on Facebook may well be unaccustomed to recruiters scouting them out through their personal network. Therefore, it’s good to keep this in mind when approaching someone on Facebook.

If anything, Facebook lends itself to a more casual approach so it’s ok to acknowledge the fact that your message may seem out of the blue. On the other hand, it would be fair to assume that the members of your community page may well be delighted to hear from you.

A good tip to remember however, is that unless you are already connected to your potential candidate, your message will go directly to their ‘other’ inbox. You know, the one that no one knows exists.

Fortunately, with Facebook Graphs you do have the option to pay a surcharge of $1.00 for your message to go directly to someones main inbox. I recommend it since, I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time I checked the ‘other’ folder!

Onwards and upwards:

So there you have it. A roundup of the basic Facebook recruitment strategies which should helpfully start you on your way to harnessing the power of a billion plus users. However, it’s by no means the be all and end all.

There are countless Facebook tips, tricks, apps and widgets being developed all the time, so it’s always worth checking up on the latest news here on The Undercover Recruiter and of course, the many other excellent recruitment blogs on the web.

And finally, here’s some stats* to inspire your start to Facebook Recruitment – good luck!

  • 85% of internet users have Facebook accounts
  • 84% of job seekers have a Facebook profile
  • 74% of internet users use Facebook daily
  • 57% of Facebook users have 100+ friends
  • 58% of Facebook users have liked a brand

*stats from Mashable.com

Have you had success by recruiting on Facebook, or perhaps you’ve used the site to look for jobs? I’d love to hear your experiences as well as any hints or tips you’d like to share!


About Selina Kerley

Selina Kerley is a blogger living and working in Berlin. She spends her days researching the world of online recruitment, in order to bring the latest news, hints & tips and hiring strategies to the world. Selina is currently working for recruitment software specialists softgarden.

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