According to a recent Facebook blog post, “Half of employers (50 percent) are using Facebook in their hiring process. A majority (54 percent) already using the social network anticipates Facebook becoming a more important part of the talent acquisition process in the near future.”
Job candidates are also infusing their job search with Facebook activity. In a recent study conducted jointly by Facebook and Carnegie-Mellon University, results revealed that job seekers with strong ties who shared private messages, commented on each others’ posts, or posted directly on each others’ walls found new jobs at a rate of 33.2 percent over the three months. Those with weak ties found jobs a fifth as often, at only a 6.5 percent rate.
This data suggests two things: The first is that we are hiring people who are spending a lot of time on social media. (Let’s hope they’re not doing it while on the job!) And second, Facebook is a powerful tool for active, hands-on users. Like job seekers, recruiters need to do more than just jump on to the Facebook wagon — they need to learn how to drive it and not to forget to use the phone along with it.
Sure, Facebook is an effective social media candidate screening tool. In fact, 37% of employers surveyed by CareerBuilder are using it to weed out candidates who display poor writing skills, discriminatory comments, or drug use. However, Facebook is also a vital online destination where potential employees can go to connect with your brand, see and share job posts with their contacts, and even respond directly to job ads.
Here’s why Facebook should not be overlooked as part of your recruiting strategy.
Facebook is the largest talent pool in the world. Period. Facebook has 500 million active users, of whom 50% log in on a daily basis. And, according to blogsession.com, if Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in terms of population.
If you think Facebook’s audience is composed of only younger demographics, think again. There are actually 220 million people over the age of 45 on Facebook. That’s larger than LinkedIn’s entire population of users.
Set up a business page and passively connect. Facebook allows for a less-aggressive form of recruiting in a friendlier environment than LinkedIn. Plus, with Facebook’s new “reply” feature, you’ll soon be able to have an online conversation directly with those who are active on your page.
Facebook brings passive talent and referrals to you. Although they may not be actively looking, Facebook users who find your content interesting will follow and engage with your brand. This is the first step in developing a relationship with candidates who may look to your firm when they’re ready to explore new opportunities.
Furthermore, job boards are evolving to link with Facebook and enhance the job search. Now, social contacts can be securely plugged into third-party sites or apps so users can easily discover mutual connections in the companies where they are applying. Some Facebook programs even allow employees to share their firms’ job openings with their friends.
Facebook is a good value. Unlike LinkedIn, where 39% of users pay for premium accounts, Facebook provides everyone with wide-open access. There are no premium accounts or upgrades required to make connections. And, if you choose to purchase Facebook ads as recruiting tools, the pay-per-click format lets you target your ad to those most likely to find an interest in your message. That means you can create more effective messaging and gain valuable insight about who reads and responds to your ads.
Facebook is the future. Unlike LinkedIn, which has the oldest average user base of all social media sites — at 44.2 years of age — Facebook is where younger people hang out. And doesn’t it make sense to establish a rapport with today’s youth? After all, they are tomorrow’s talent pool.
But, I wonder, as we click, scroll, and query on walls and pages more and more often, are we engaging with job seekers less and less?
With all of the promise and possibilities for candidates and recruiters on Facebook, we must keep the following statistic front-of-mind: 57% of people communicate more online than they do in real life. It’s easier and more efficient for job seekers and recruiters to jump onto Facebook than it is to pick up the phone. But, while we are building up pipelines of Likes and Friends, our interpersonal skills may be deteriorating while our networks become more and more superficial.
Sure, Facebook provides great opportunities for connecting, but these interactions should be considered stepping-stones to face-to-face engagement.
Recruiting is a “people” business. Ultimately, we are in sales. Our job is to promote our companies and our brands. We need more than connections — we need to develop relationships! This requires ongoing dialogue. Certainly, a reply button helps, but a voice builds a bond. Human contact enhances trust. People like doing business with those they know. Recruiters can’t rely on Facebook to forge connections — we must continually hone our personal style and natural charm to conduct insightful interviews, present compelling offers, and yes, deliver rejections, too.
Recruiters: You are the bridge between your company and it’s future talent. Differentiate yourself and your company’s brand. Pick up the phone.