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The 3 Fundamentals of Recruiting on Facebook

by Jul 30, 2012, 8:57 am ET

There’s little left in the discussion of whether Facebook is a good recruiting medium. The real issue is how long it will be until you get started. Nielsen reports that 23% of all online hours are spent on Facebook.

The goal of this article is to define the three basic elements of any social recruiting process.

Effective recruiting always begins with a single question: Who do you want to recruit? Without a clear answer, your results will be muddled. In order to use Facebook (or any social media) as a recruiting tool, you need to have a good idea about:

  • Who you’re recruiting and when you need them (workforce plan)
  • What kind of person who makes a good fit at your company (culture)
  • Who they know/how to find them (networks)
  • What you want the to know about your company (messaging)
  • How available they are as a class (scarcity)

The most important thing to understand about using social media for recruiting is that each channel is a closed ecosystem. Your work on LinkedIn garners no credit on Twitter and so on. Social media is the ultimate “what have you done for me lately?” communications channel. What matters is what you’ve done most recently in the channel that you’ve chosen.

In each case, effective outreach involves the balancing of three elements. The core page, dynamic content (including jobs), and the development of traffic are at the heart of any successful Facebook recruiting initiative. Successful execution of all three elements is required for sustained success. And, each of the three elements require continual and continuous improvement in order to keep the right traffic flowing.

Facebook Pages (the Company Page)

On Facebook, employer branding and effective recruiting both begin with the development of your company page. Most large firms, from General Motors to Apple, have active company pages on Facebook, as do many smaller companies.

If a company already has a page, its main challenge is finding a balance between marketing outreach and recruiting. Sometimes, a separate careers page is the answer (e.g. Accenture or VMware), although this is, in most cases, less desirable. Companies without a page must first set one up and attract fans before jumping headlong into social recruitment.

Dynamic Content

To make your company page the heart of your audience development program, you must produce a steady stream of changing content focused on the people you want to reach. Already desensitized to dull content, the people who come to your page are looking for a good reason to return. Give it to them and they’ll be back.

Your standard issue job posting text isn’t going to work here. Most corporate job descriptions and postings seem designed to bore the reader into submission. But, sexing up your job postings isn’t going to be enough. Even the most dynamic job posting is little better than a cure for insomnia. Your company page must have compelling content that goes beyond the bare minimums of describing jobs and culture.

The core principle of audience development is to give each visitor more than they invested. As long as your visitors feel like they received a net benefit, you will be able to hold on to their attention.

Traffic Development

On Facebook, you have to build your own traffic. While there are an enormous number of users, most have never heard of you. Your job is to discover them and build a relationship that is supported by your content and company page.

There are five types of Facebook users who will see the jobs you post:

  • Employees and friends of employees who visit the page to help it along by liking and sharing content
  • People who come to your page actively looking for a job (including referrals via Facebook’s messaging system)
  • People who come to your page looking for something else but end up seeing the job
  • People who see the job in their timeline (because someone liked or shared a job)
  • People who are responding to Facebook ads you placed to target them

Making your Facebook recruiting efforts successful depends on paying attention to each category.

Conclusion and Next Steps

This overview outlines a simple and straightforward way to think about using Facebook (or any social channel) as a recruiting tool. Simple rarely means easy; in this case it’s just easy to understand. There’s a ton of organizational work, brand competency, and workflow development hidden beneath this simple structure.

I’ve recently written a White Paper that takes these ideas to the next level. You can download it here.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  • Keith Halperin

    Thanks, John.
    I welcome the input of those who are using FB to recruit and ask them:
    1) How many positions have they hired that came exclusively through FB?
    2) Were the hires recruited through postings or through using FB as a candidate source?
    3) How long from first candidate contact through SD did the FBs hire take?
    4) What was the CPH (as defined by the new standards) of the FB hires?
    5) What types of candidates could be found only/more quickly/easily through FB than through other sources like an effective ER program, an exciting and candidate/friendly corporate website, or targeted direct sourcing?

    Cheers,

    Keith
    keithsrj@sbcglobal.net

  • http://www.work4labs.com Geraldine Slevin

    “The core principle of audience development is to give each visitor more than they invested. As long as your visitors feel like they received a net benefit, you will be able to hold on to their attention.”

    This is such a great point, John–giving more than you get is crucial for any Facebook strategy.

    Thanks for your post!

    Geraldine
    http://www.work4labs.com

  • http://gooodjob.com Assaf Eisenstein

    Loved this article, thanks for sharing!
    Just wanted to add one thought: in addition to focusing on the all-important question of who you want to recruit, it’s likewise necessary to consider how to make it simple for candidates to actually apply. With this in mind, GooodJob has just released a free Facebook careers tab, offering a easy way for candidates and corporate recruiters to make that Facebook connection. (https://apps.facebook.com/freecareertab/admin/en/fbregistration?fbid=)

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  • Daagi Iskander

    Working at a Facebook based recruiting agency, I can only confirm what you said John! Companies don’t usually understand the rules and strategies behind social recruiting and the fact that it requires a good balance to build up your own traffic.

    Iskander
    http://www.work4labs.com

  • Ayon Kabir

    Thanks John for outlining the details of a bigger picture. It’s Interesting to see that social networks, like Facebook, are not only means of leisure and picture-posting, but also ways to create opportunities for friends to be prospects. This brings “connecting” to a whole new meaning, both personally and professionally.

  • Ayon Kabir

    Thanks John for outlining the details of a bigger picture. It’s Interesting to see that social networks, like Facebook, are not only means of leisure and picture-posting, but also ways to create opportunities for friends to be prospects. This brings “connecting” to a whole new meaning, both personally and professionally.

    Ayon
    http://www.work4labs.com/

  • Brett Kunde

    Thanks John for your post, it is a very helpful tool in using Facebook and social media as a means for recruitment. Your 5 tools to see who you recruit are very insightful (workforce plan, culture, networks, messaging, and scarcity).

    At Work4 Labs we are the #1 Facebook Recruiting Solution.

  • Marisa Blanke

    Great post John!
    Having worked in social media marketing for 5 years, social recruiting has been an exciting world to jump into! Your three elements, “the core page, dynamic content, and the development of traffic” are spot on and I appreciated your emphasis on having compelling content that goes beyond the bare minimums.
    Thank you for the insightful read!

    -Marisa Blanke
    Work4Labs