Should You Recruit On Facebook Over LinkedIn?

7319904344_dd47108363_nOK, so it’s a given that LinkedIn is the go-to social media tool for recruiters.  But where does Facebook fit in these days?  There was a time when news on recruiters and employers checking Facebook profiles to vet candidates was splashed across the HR press but LinkedIn has grabbed the headlines since then.  So has Facebook missed a trick in promoting its abilities as a recruitment platform?

Well, yes and no.  Anyone over the age of 40 might cast a sceptical eye but as far as Generation Y is concerned, Facebook is a way of life.  If they want to work for Company A, they’ll not only check out its website but will visit its Facebook page to see how it relates to its customer base.  They can’t get the same feel for a business from LinkedIn.  So, whether you use it or not to recruit, your Facebook page might affect the quality of the response.

There’s no denying that LinkedIn has the professional, management and executive sector sewn up.  You only have to check the number of recruiters who use it to complement their website and job boards advertising.  But that doesn’t mean that LinkedIn is the go-to recruitment portal every time.  You have to figure out which sites the people you want to attract are using, and Facebook might be one of them.

You know recruiters are taking Facebook recruitment seriously when they use customized job boards and automated Facebook page links to the careers section of their website.  But there’s a caveat: Facebook is an informal social network so, while there’s a mass audience, not many of them will think ‘I need a new job.  I must check out Facebook.’  They’ll probably visit a few job boards and LinkedIn instead.  So here are some tips on when you should and shouldn’t choose Facebook over other social networks:

1.      Utilise your existing Facebook fans.

Go for it if you have a successful Facebook fan page and continually recruit, particularly if your employee and customer demographics are similar.  If Facebook works well enough for Starbucks and Levi’s to use as a recruitment tool, it’s good enough for you.

2.      Content is king in a successful Facebook recruitment campaign.

Don’t use Facebook if you’re not prepared to build a community around your careers page.  As with any Facebook marketing programme, your page needs to be welcoming, regularly updated with fresh content and full of tips on working in the industry.  It’s not in the rule book but the resources needed to implement a careers page probably means that Facebook is better geared towards volume recruitment.

3.      Think about the suitability of each role.

Specialist posts need the services of a niche recruiter or, if social media is part of your strategy, LinkedIn.  Posting your senior roles or those that require particular qualifications on Facebook is, in most cases, a waste of time.

4.      Be aware of the limitations of Facebook advertising.

Again, proceed with caution when considering the use of Facebook advertising to recruit.  While you can funnel down to a target audience based upon geography, work experience and education to reduce your advertising spend, concerns over privacy on Facebook could mean that the people you’re looking for simply haven’t completed their profiles.

5.      Innovative graduate recruitment can play well on Facebook.

While we associate searches for professionals with LinkedIn, Facebook might be more suitable for larger scale graduate recruitment programmes.  Ernst & Young, one of the biggest accountancy firms in the world, has used Facebook for years to target students and graduates.  A quick look at its careers page shows why it works so well; it has a ‘Games Room’ feature that tells people what it’s like to work for the company, information on internships and links to its daily Twitter brain teaser.  Will these engage an audience that demands interaction and great content?  You bet.

6.      Make sure your branding is right.

Did you spot the common thread between the mentioned companies using Facebook to recruit?  They all have strong and well known brands.  Facebook users commonly react to and engage with the brands they like so it follows that a strong fan page base will make Facebook recruitment more successful.  Build up your brand identity on Facebook before you start thinking about adding a careers page.

Facebook recruitment works much better if you can use your fans to spread the word.  It’s not dissimilar to the principles behind effective social media marketing: posting entertaining and informative content, responding to questions and comments and linking back regularly to your main website’s careers page.  Community engagement takes time so don’t expect Facebook to work overnight.  It will take some testing and a moderate amount of resources to develop an effective Facebook recruitment strategy but, in the right circumstances, it could work better than LinkedIn.

Photo: jkdksh

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