Within the last 30 days, more than 1.19 billion people have signed onto Facebook to update their profiles; interact with their friends, family members, acquaintances, and coworkers; follow companies; and conduct their social, personal, and professional lives online.
On every login, Facebook users are exposed to an average of 1500 pieces of content from their extended network of 31,000 people (and at least 70 companies) each, and on an average day, the entire network spends a collective 20 billion minutes sharing over 4.75 billion articles, photos, videos, statuses, job postings, and more.
As a recruiter, why should you care about these numbers?
Consider the following:
You spend a lot of money and a lot of time sourcing passive candidates online. Ever since job boards made it possible for people to find and apply for your jobs en masse, you’ve had to find a way to filter through the electronic piles of unqualified resumes, hoping that the right active candidate would apply. Or else you’ve invested a lot of money in services like LinkedIn Recruiter to access a limited network of professional, passive candidates, putting yourself at the financial mercy of a platform that doesn’t necessarily contain all of the people you’re really looking for.
LinkedIn is a blessing in the wake of the job board--it is, after all, where 230 million professionals have at least partially made themselves available for sourcing (although half of them still haven’t completed their profiles). It’s a great place to be if you’re actively networking and want to connect with other business professionals, whether or not you’re looking for a job. It makes sense that recruiters want to get in on that networking action--and with LinkedIn’s recruiter tools, there are ways for members of the HR industry to find and connect with people they believe will be a better fit for their jobs than those who blindly apply on job boards.
However, LinkedIn only gives you access to a limited pool of professional talent, lacking in diversity,* and certainly not representative of a complete cross-section of available skills, locations, work or education histories, or interests. In addition, LinkedIn has positioned its sourcing abilities as the “only game in town,” putting you at the mercy of their rate hikes and platform changes--and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Unless there were another way--and I believe there is. I believe that the future of online recruiting is social--and not just limited to professional social networks like LinkedIn. In fact, I believe, as I not so subtly alluded to at the beginning of this article, that Facebook is the future of social sourcing and recruiting.
Considering the fact that Facebook’s monthly active users (people who log on every single month) make up a number that is about 5X LinkedIn’s total users (including those users who do not log on regularly), you have access to a massive population that is online, engaged, and ready to connect with your company. In fact, many of them already are.
Facebook, although obviously meant to be a platform for keeping in touch with personal contacts, has become a major player in the social lives of more than 1/7th of the world’s population--and social life, as we’ve discovered, involves both the personal and the professional.
Facebook users comprise everyone from new college grads to experienced tradespeople, from nurses to software engineers, from retail employees to executive management. And now, finding and contacting the right people is easier (and less time- and cost-intensive) than ever.
For a look at some examples of specific hiring initiatives that might be fulfilled on LinkedIn vs. Facebook, consider the following searches a recruiter might perform:
“So,” you may be wondering, “how do I actually source the right people from this massive database on Facebook?”
You may be familiar with Facebook’s new search tool, Graph Search, which lets you make discoveries about relevant users among the Facebook talent pool. (If you’ve performed any English-language search on Facebook since July, then you may have been using Graph Search without even realizing it!)
Instead of clicking through 20+ filters to get specific about whom you’re looking for, all you need to do is type in a phrase, like “Nurses who live in San Francisco” or “Friends of my friends who graduated from Stanford University.” Whether you’re sourcing near or far, looking for referrals from people you know, or trying to find people with specific qualifications, you have the ability to see people in your network (who are connected to you or connected to your friends) and people whose public profile information matches your search.
When it comes time to send a message to your potential candidate, you pay a fraction of the cost of LinkedIn (as little as $1 if the person is out of your network, and nothing if you and your candidate are connected) by using Facebook messages.
People are starting to notice just how much of an opportunity Facebook now represents for talent acquisition and the human resources industry. Everyone from Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook’s CEO) himself to the companies who are on the front lines and actively sourcing talent from Facebook’s built-in talent pool see the value that Facebook presents for talent acquisition.
When it comes time to find your next candidate, will you limit yourself to the same over-fished and limited talent pools of the past, or will you take a leap and make a splash in the ocean of available talent on Facebook? The opportunity--and the candidates--are out there. It’s time to start sourcing smarter.
* For example, LinkedIn’s African-American and Hispanic population is only about 6% each, while these groups comprise closer to 9% respectively of the US population, according to Quantcast.