I Know Facebook Has Been Somewhat Off-limits for Recruiting, But Imagine the Possibilities

Most recruiters I’ve worked with respect the sanctity of Facebook.

As tempting as it is to send a Facebook message to someone you’ve found on LinkedIn, most recruiters will go to great lengths to contact job candidates through more professional means. Corporate recruiting teams and staffing agencies pay big bucks to send LinkedIn InMails or uncover a candidate’s active email address.

However, with Facebook’s recent announcement of getting into the recruiting business, this may change.

It is unclear if adding job posting functionality to Facebook Pages will change the rules of engagement. Will recruiters and sourcers be less sensitive to crossing the invisible line of personal vs. professional networking? Will Facebook users opt in for messaging to become the new way for recruiters to engage passive talent? If so, this could impact the recent $27 billion valuation of LinkedIn, Microsoft’s largest acquisition ever, to control the professional economic graph.

What is clear: Facebook is putting a big stake in the ground for the local job market. With 467 million professional profiles globally, LinkedIn does not have a strong footprint with small businesses and hourly workers.

Now, local small businesses and retailers, many who already have Facebook business pages, can easily advertise a job opening at their store or place of business. What once required a craigslist post or putting up a help-wanted sign in their windows, now means businesses can easily advertise a job to their current fans and followers, in the online community they are already understand and nurture. For small businesses, this is a very smart and accessible strategy to use word of mouth and social channels to fill local jobs.

There are other companies going after the underserved local jobs market.

Localwise.com, with headquarters in Oakland, California, has built a better mousetrap for local businesses hiring in the San Francisco Bay area to attract local job applicants at a similar price point as Craigslist, but adding more value than the incumbent local job board.

But timing is good for Facebook. Craigslist recently announced its plans to increase job posting prices throughout the U.S. and Canada. Until now, it was free to post jobs outside of the largest metropolitan areas.

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For large companies and even multinationals, there’s no harm in adding job posts to the company’s Facebook page. XML and RSS syndication make it easy to distribute jobs and cast a wider net. These technologies were disruptive to the classified job ads industry and are what made Indeed.com a $1 billion business. While national chains and larger companies must be mindful of navigating a large volume of jobs, embeddable widgets and filters make this a moot point and an easy way to get jobs in front of fans and followers.

From an employment branding perspective, we know job seekers are hungry for a better look inside companies. While LinkedIn offers numerous free and paid options to extend a company’s employment brand, Facebook Pages offer very similar functionality. Glassdoor has quickly scaled by promoting transparency into employee ratings and salary ranges. TheMuse.com is another company that helps companies create content and position themselves an employer of choice. Company news, events, and content marketing are already being shared and curated by companies on Facebook, so adding an “apply now’ button seems like a logical next step.

There may be difficulties when sponsoring job posts in the same exact way businesses currently use Facebook targeting to advertise products and services to fans, followers, and segments of an audience of 1.79 billion monthly active users. A lawsuit is already in the works for employment and housing bias, claiming that the advertising filter for “ethnic affinity” was being used to discriminate. While diversity and inclusion is a growing theme in human resources, recruiting teams must recognize the power that comes with highly targeted marketing campaigns.

What’s really exciting is to look at what the vast infrastructure of Facebook can offer to job seekers and employers. Imagine a Facebook user flipping a resume “hush” switch that resembles LinkedIn’s Open Candidate functionality. This user can privately indicate that they are looking for a job as a “waiter, bartender, cook, or Maitre-D.” When this user walks downtown, strolls through the mall, or drives around their city, the user can receive simple alerts or notifications that the business 20 feet away is looking for a Sous Chef.

We’ve been talking for a decade about augmented reality and how it may affect the world of work. Companies like Yelp and Foursquare have had the local business data and Facebook integrations … but even they would have a challenge incorporating jobs into their platforms. With Facebook’s geo targeting, rich company insights, robust member profiles and now real-time job posts, a single product manager with a lean engineering team could make augmented local job search a real thing.

Honeit, inc. (Phone Interview Technology) Co-Founder & CEO Nick Livingston was previously the head of recruiting at TubeMogul. In 26 months, be experienced the hypergrowth of 60 to 360 employees through IPO ($TUBE), while concurrently attending business school at UC Berkeley. Prior to moving to the Bay Area, he was the director of strategic staffing at MTV (Viacom Media Networks) in New York City, responsible for global digital media and interactive technology talent acquisition. He has worked for two HR software companies and began his career as a technology headhunter. 

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