When you think about sourcing through social media, Facebook may not be the first network you think of. But with more than a billion users, Facebook boasts the largest database available.  And with it's new Graph Search, it is increasingly become a good additional sourcing tool for recruiters to have.

Graph Search is a bit limited because you can only access information shared publicly or by your network of friends. But the power behind Graph Search is the way the search engine is built around natural language. Consider some of these typical searches:

  • Job title + location. Example: Engineers who live in San Francisco
  • Job title + employer. Example:Web designers who work at Facebook
  • By education: Example: People who graduate from Harvard in 2013

Graph Search allows you to find candidates based on very specific criteria.  It can even help you find someone for a certain position who will work on contract. Here are some searches we successfully ran:

  • Engineers who work in contracting in California
  • Programmers who are contractors
  • Contractors who are nurses

Another way to enhance your search is to search on hashtags.  Hashtags are created when someone adds # in front of a word or phrase.  The hashtag makes the phrase searchable.  When searching, try to think about what hashtags your ideal candidates would use.  What phrases are popular in the industry for which you are recruiting? Some candidates even make it easy by using hashtags such as #hireme or #needajob.  

Perhaps the hardest thing about using Facebook for sourcing is figuring out how to contact the person.  Sending a Friend Request to a complete stranger can quickly get you labelled as a creeper.  You could send them a message, but if they are not your Friend, your message will end up in the elusive "Other" box that is hard to find and seldom checked. For around $1, you can send a message to a non-Friend that will go straight to their regular inbox where they will likely be notified right on their Smartphone screen.  If the person you want to contact is a Friend of one of your Friends, you could request an introduction. Or you could simply find them in another network, such as LinkedIn, where people are generally more comfortable making professional connections.

Don't forget to optimize your profile and posts so that candidates can find you.  Your profile should contain keywords unique to the industry they are working in.  Be sure to list the types of positions you place. And you will definitely want to mention that you place contractors as more and more workers are choosing contract staffing as a lifestyle.

For your postings, use hashtags. Job postings can be tagged with phrases such as #jobs or #jobposting or phrases relevant to the industry you are targeting.  But you want to do more than just post jobs.  Post relevant articles people will want to share, and make sure they contain eye-catching images.

You certainly do not want to put all your sourcing eggs in the Facebook basket, but give it a try. You may find that it is a great supplement to your other sourcing efforts.

Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.

Views: 203

Comment by Tim Spagnola on January 24, 2014 at 10:39am
Debbie - great to hear from you as always. This is really a detailed post. I admit I have done little with Facebook to date. Still love Bill Boorman's cow story and his success with FB, and have heard Fishdogs really breakdown how graph can be used. There is still a part of me reluctant to go this path, but numbers don't lie. It is a huge pond. I appreciate you sharing this with RBC.
Comment by Debbie Fledderjohann on January 24, 2014 at 10:42am

Thanks, Tim.  It's a whole other world in Facebook for sure, and I'm sure you are not alone in your reluctance.  I guess it's really up to each recruiter to figure out what works and what is really just a time suck.  Good luck with your efforts.


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