73% of Your Candidates Are NOT on LinkedIn

Within the last 30 days, more than 1.19 billion people have signed onto Facebook to update their profiles; interact with their friends, family members, acquaintances, and coworkers; follow companies; and conduct their social, personal, and professional lives online. 

On every login, Facebook users are exposed to an average of 1500 pieces of content from their extended network of 31,000 people (and at least 70 companies) each, and on an average day, the entire network spends a collective 20 billion minutes sharing over 4.75 billion articles, photos, videos, statuses, job postings, and more.

As a recruiter, why should you care about these numbers? 

Consider the following: 

You spend a lot of money and a lot of time sourcing passive candidates online. Ever since job boards made it possible for people to find and apply for your jobs en masse, you’ve had to find a way to filter through the electronic piles of unqualified resumes, hoping that the right active candidate would apply. Or else you’ve invested a lot of money in services like LinkedIn Recruiter to access a limited network of professional, passive candidates, putting yourself at the financial mercy of a platform that doesn’t necessarily contain all of the people you’re really looking for. 

LinkedIn is a blessing in the wake of the job board--it is, after all, where 230 million professionals have at least partially made themselves available for sourcing (although half of them still haven’t completed their profiles). It’s a great place to be if you’re actively networking and want to connect with other business professionals, whether or not you’re looking for a job. It makes sense that recruiters want to get in on that networking action--and with LinkedIn’s recruiter tools, there are ways for members of the HR industry to find and connect with people they believe will be a better fit for their jobs than those who blindly apply on job boards. 

However, LinkedIn only gives you access to a limited pool of professional talent, lacking in diversity,* and certainly not representative of a complete cross-section of available skills, locations, work or education histories, or interests.  In addition, LinkedIn has positioned its sourcing abilities as the “only game in town,” putting you at the mercy of their rate hikes and platform changes--and there’s nothing you can do about it. 

Unless there were another way--and I believe there is. I believe that the future of online recruiting is social--and not just limited to professional social networks like LinkedIn. In fact, I believe, as I not so subtly alluded to at the beginning of this article, that Facebook is the future of social sourcing and recruiting. 

Considering the fact that Facebook’s monthly active users (people who log on every single month) make up a number that is about 5X LinkedIn’s total users (including those users who do not log on regularly), you have access to a massive population that is online, engaged, and ready to connect with your company. In fact, many of them already are. 

Facebook, although obviously meant to be a platform for keeping in touch with personal contacts, has become a major player in the social lives of more than 1/7th of the world’s population--and social life, as we’ve discovered, involves both the personal and the professional. 

Facebook users comprise everyone from new college grads to experienced tradespeople, from nurses to software engineers, from retail employees to executive management. And now, finding and contacting the right people is easier (and less time- and cost-intensive) than ever. 

For a look at some examples of specific hiring initiatives that might be fulfilled on LinkedIn vs. Facebook, consider the following searches a recruiter might perform:

  • SPECIFIC INDUSTRY: There are 1 million doctors and nurses on LinkedIn and 3.2 million on Facebook
  • GLOBAL TALENT: There are 20 million LinkedIn users in India vs. 82 million on Facebook 
  • HARD-TO-FILL ROLES: There are 62,000 truck drivers on LinkedIn and 1.2 million on Facebook

“So,” you may be wondering, “how do I actually source the right people from this massive database on Facebook?”

You may be familiar with Facebook’s new search tool, Graph Search, which lets you make discoveries about relevant users among the Facebook talent pool. (If you’ve performed any English-language search on Facebook since July, then you may have been using Graph Search without even realizing it!) 

Instead of clicking through 20+ filters to get specific about whom you’re looking for, all you need to do is type in a phrase, like “Nurses who live in San Francisco” or “Friends of my friends who graduated from Stanford University.” Whether you’re sourcing near or far, looking for referrals from people you know, or trying to find people with specific qualifications, you have the ability to see people in your network (who are connected to you or connected to your friends) and people whose public profile information matches your search. 

When it comes time to send a message to your potential candidate, you pay a fraction of the cost of LinkedIn (as little as $1 if the person is out of your network, and nothing if you and your candidate are connected) by using Facebook messages. 

People are starting to notice just how much of an opportunity Facebook now represents for talent acquisition and the human resources industry. Everyone from Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook’s CEO) himself to the companies who are on the front lines and actively sourcing talent from Facebook’s built-in talent pool see the value that Facebook presents for talent acquisition. 

When it comes time to find your next candidate, will you limit yourself to the same over-fished and limited talent pools of the past, or will you take a leap and make a splash in the ocean of available talent on Facebook? The opportunity--and the candidates--are out there. It’s time to start sourcing smarter. 


* For example, LinkedIn’s African-American and Hispanic population is only about 6% each, while these groups comprise closer to 9% respectively of the US population, according to Quantcast.

Views: 1517

Comment by Bennett Sung on December 23, 2013 at 4:32pm

Great post!

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on December 23, 2013 at 6:41pm

I  put this out as a challenge any pro-FB recruiting advocates:

You have 20-25 open technical, sales, and professional reqs of all levels, and you need to start filling them at the average rate of 1/week starting  with your first hire in one month. Your sole resource is FB, and the clock starts NOW....


Comment by Sandra McCartt on December 28, 2013 at 7:45pm

Sweetheart, I wish you well what ever you are selling but you don't know diddley, jack shit about recruiting.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on December 30, 2013 at 2:05pm

Sandra: In defense of the writers/commenters out there:

If only people who were competent in doing what they were talking about wrote articles or comments, there'd be hardly anything to read on the internet.



Comment by Amy Ala Miller on December 30, 2013 at 2:32pm

I believe it was Glen Cathey who said (and I'm no doubt paraphrasing terribly) that we should learn how to adequately fish the Pacific before we start looking for unheard of ponds where no one else is fishing. If a recruiter isn't "catching" something on LinkedIn in most cases it's the bait or lack of fishing ability, not the waters.

Comment by Bennett Sung on December 30, 2013 at 3:37pm

I believe the overall learning experience from this blog is that online data sources like social networks need to be assessed for a recruiting project's needs. Sometimes it will be LinkedIn, sometimes it could be Facebook, or maybe Xing for that matter. Just know the attributes of your data sources . 

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on December 30, 2013 at 3:47pm

the last thing I need is 1.1BILLION people to wade through. I need tighter Boolean strings, stronger search engines, and most of all the ability to pick up the phone and talk to people. Whenever anyone starts talking about the sheer volume of (generic) people on any given site I break out in hives a little. Tell me that there are 100 app developers who follow my company page and that will get me a hell of a lot closer to a placement than all the truck drivers on Facebook. But kudos to you for the click bait - we are all here talking about it so there's that.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on December 30, 2013 at 5:36pm

I think unless you're a world-class sourcer (and get paid at least $50/hr doing it), you're better off paying people either $225/week to find the great majority of the folks you need, or the world class sourcers  for a list of people you can go after, if you need purple squirrels,. IMHO, the main problem isn't finding decent people: it's convincing:

1) the exceptional people we do find to listen to us and our companies' (frequently) pathetic excuses for positions

2) our clueless hiring managers that the only people they can get for their (frequently) pathetic excuses positions are ones they currently won't consider.

BOTTOM LINE: with the exception of the "Fab 5%" (and some highly in-demand skill sets)- you can find very good people for the positions, if the hiring managers are *reasonable about who they will hire. The "War for Talent" is a con job- there's wars for "excellence on the cheap" and "purple squirrels" but not for solid people who will work hard and long at a reasonably paid and benefitted FTjob. If your company needs excellence- be prepared to pay for it (or at least have SOMETHING excellent for 'em), and if your company really needs a "purple squirrel" or some skillset that can't be obtained at ANY price- you've got a bunch of idiots over there getting themselves into that situation and you better get out FAST before the whole thing tumbles down around you....





You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2023   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service