Up until recently, the question in the title of this blog post would have been a resounding "NO!" LinkedIn is for recruiting. Facebook is for posting cute pictures of your cat and sharing what you had for dinner. But some strategic changes to the popular network could have recruiters looking at Facebook differently.
The biggest change is the network’s Graph Search function that was launched in early 2013. While you can only find information that is shared publicly or by friends, this search engine is unique because it is built around natural language rather than keywords, allowing for more highly relevant searches Here are some common searches recruiters might run:
Job title + location. Example: Developers who live in Seattle
[Marketing docs CTA] Job title + employer. Example:Programmers who work at Facebook
By education: Example: People who graduate from Ohio State in 2014
Because of this, you can find candidates with very specific criteria, which can be useful when you want to find someone for a certain position who also works on contract. These are some actual searches we ran to test the function:
Engineers who work in contracting in California
Programmers who are contractors
Contractors who are nurses
Another recent Facebook addition promises to further increase the network's usefulness to recruiters. Facebook profiles now include a Professional Skills category. So in addition to the searches mentioned above, you can also search on specific skills a job order may require.
Also enhancing the search function are hashtags, which just recently began to be supported by Facebook. Hashtags are created by adding # to a keyword phrase when posting in a social network. When running a candidate search in Facebook, try searching on hashtag phrases such as #hireme or #needajob or even #resume. Also, think about what phrases are popular in the industry for which you are recruiting.
But what do you do once you find a candidate. Contacting someone can be tricky because people tend to be gunshy about connecting with strangers on Facebook. You could send them a message, but if you are not Friends with them, the message will hit their semi-hidden “Other” box. For around $1, you can send a paid message, which will go into their main inbox and likely pop up on their smartphone screen, so that is an option. If they are a friend of a friend, you may be able to get an introduction. You could also try finding them in another network, such as LinkedIn, where they may be more receptive to making profession connections with strangers.
Another key to recruiting on Facebook is making sure candidates can find you. Just as you are using Facebook to search for candidates, they could turn to Facebook to find a recruiter. Make sure your profile contains the keywords candidates are most likely to search for, including the types of positions you place. And don't forget to mention that you place contractors.
You can also use hashtags to make your posts more searchable. Tag job postings with #jobs or #jobposting or with phrases relevelant to the industry you are targeting. But don't post just jobs. Post relevant articles that people will want to share. Images really standout in the Facebook news stream, so be sure to include eye-catching photos in your posts as well.
Will Facebook replace LinkedIn as a candidate source? Probably not. But you may want to give Facebook a shot. You may find that it is a valuable additional sourcing tool.
About the Author: Debbie Fledderjohann is President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc., the Recruiter's Back-Office Solution. Established in 1992, TEC helps recruiters offer contract staffing by becoming the W-2 employer of their contractors. As such, they handle the financial, administrative, and legal details, including payroll processing and funding, employment paperwork, tax withholdings, Workers' Compensation, Unemployment, legal contracts, background checks, invoicing and collections, and more. They do business in 49 states and specialize in professional, technical, and healthcare placements. You can follow Debbie on @dfledderjohann as well as on Google+ and Twitter.
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