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Facebook’s growing focus on recruitment will usher in a new era in online talent search as companies can now get access to more than 1.15 billion active users on the world’s largest social media site.
Representing almost half of the world’s entire internet population of 2.7-billion, the sheer size of Facebook makes it a substantial channel to reach talent online. In the US, 50% of employers are already using Facebook for hiring and of these, 54% anticipate growing use of Facebook even further.
In South Africa, Facebook currently has an active user base of 9.4-million people, most of whom are between the working ages of 22 to 55 years.
Powerful personal connections
Facebook’s core user base consists of young and unskilled or semi-skilled workers and it is particularly popular for graduate recruitment. The highly social nature of Facebook personifies the mindset of its users, which are looking for entertainment, opportunities to share and reinforcing their personal connections.
This gives strong consumer brands, whose online marketing teams have built up a substantial number of ‘Likes’ for their corporate pages, an excellent opportunity to leverage the existing fan base for recruitment. For example, a fashion retailer with tens of thousands of ‘Likes’ could easily expose their page fans to the company’s Employer Brand and relevant jobs that might interest them.
On the flipside, job postings will also pull in new website traffic to a Facebook page for the marketing team to leverage. This cross-promotion can help HR contribute to the company’s marketing and sales efforts, versus its historic view as only being a cost centre for the business.
How to target job seekers
Facebook gives HR recruiters great scope to customize their pages to accurately reflect the corporate brand. Work4Labs, a software company that develops Facebook recruitment applications, allows companies to easily set up very effective corporate career sites on Facebook.
The opportunities for companies to easily pull candidates into their brand with a rich brand experience is unlimited on Facebook.
To target job seekers actively looking for jobs, the starting point is creating a careers tab on the Facebook page to automatically post jobs from the Applicant Tracking System. Next, HR can allow employee referrals, enabling candidates to apply from within their Facebook profiles, fostering additional engagement.
To entice top talent who are already employed elsewhere to join your company, the ideal is exposing them to the full employer brand experience with a Facebook careers presence. This could feature specially built page elements, rich media such as video testimonials, staff postings on certain topics, and pertinent conversations shared via Facebook’s instant messaging. Putting a strategy, content plan and constant monitoring in place will also require extra resources.
Elements from recruitment campaigns on other platforms can be pulled into Facebook very easily to complement the employer brand. Facebook’s strong search facility also enable HRs to search for candidates based on work experience, age and gender to place adverts on their Facebook profiles with leads channeled back to the Applicant Tracking System.
The caveat for a full-force Employer Brand strategy is that you’re either in or you’re out. There is no half-measure in the focus, commitment and resources required as all engagements are taking place in real-time. An inability to sustain this commitment can damage the brand. Social media also means that job seekers may say things you don’t like, which is public. Think twice about whether you have the stomach for this interaction and have the plans in place to quickly deal with any potentially damaging comments.
Towards the future
Facebook’s yearlong Social Jobs Partnership culminated in the launch of an interactive job board in November 2012, aggregating 1.7 million jobs from recruiting companies already working on the platform.
Facebook’s Graph Search, launched in January, now enables HRs to search in their own networks for talent based on their work history, education, interests and motivations. This makes it much easier for HRs to better target ads, reach relevant candidates and build strong talent communities.
As Facebook starts adding more jobs, candidates will start populating their profiles with more work-related information. Facebook is no longer just a social networking site and will become increasingly important for recruitment. HR recruiters should consider its place as part of a comprehensive online recruitment strategy.