On February 4, 2014, Facebook, the top social media network in the world, celebrates a milestone 10th birthday, and with much hurrah from recruiters everywhere. What started out as a pet project of Mark Zuckerberg, a brilliant Harvard University graduate with a mission of changing the world from his college dorm; has emerged as one of the most popular social platforms where literally billions of people connect on a daily basis. (As of last count 1.23 billion to be exact!)
Recruiters have been early adopters of this social powerhouse, using it to tap into the large array of talent that’s available in every industry imaginable. During this celebration of the decade of social media, let’s take a look at how Facebook has transformed the recruitment industry as we know it today.
When Facebook first rolled out, it was an “invitation only” network through Harvard University where only the most elite and connected individuals could gain access. Over time, however, this network opened up to include friends and colleagues of registered members, until the present day when anyone can create an account for personal or professional reasons. However, the smartest recruiters got on board early in the game, using this as a way to connect with the right people and build their niche networks online. This is still a tactic used by recruiters today.
In terms of business recruitment practices as a whole, social media has grown into a steady source of candidates, with tools for attracting and gathering candidate information. The 2013 Jobvite social recruiting survey indicated that “94 percent of recruiters use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts, and another 78 percent of recruiters have made a hire through social media”.
With the addition of a search function on Facebook, the ability to search for people on social networks became a way for finding more passive candidates, and fast. Instead of relying on word-of-mouth and a lot of schmoozing with industry associations, recruiters now turn to the search engines found on Facebook’s main page and via top search engines like Google where Facebook results are often on the first page.
Vetting candidate specialists has always been a challenging aspect of recruitment, in a traditional sense. But Facebook and other social networks gave rise to more direct access of highly desired skills. By simply typing in a few skill based keywords, any recruiter can locate candidates who may be looking for a new career opportunity. Then, these people can be invited to Facebook groups to build talent pools.
Not only is Facebook a great way to search for candidates, it’s also been a way to learn more about the candidates who apply for jobs. While many recruiters may not admit this, they do use social networks to gain a greater understanding of candidates’ personal and professional lives. Many will look to social networks immediately following receipt of a new resume or to gauge a candidate’s suitability before inviting them to interview.
In the last ten years, much has changed in the way companies express and humanize their brand online. Instead of just relying on a website to do the job, more recruiters turned to Facebook and other social networks for spreading the brand across many channels. By doing so, they effectively made their brand stand out from competitors, attracting a better breed of candidates and sharing more of the culture and values to become industry leaders.
The amazing things that have happened with Facebook and other leading social networks is just the start for professional recruiters. The addition of skill categories will open up the doors to more segmentation of talent pools. Added customizations give candidates a way to get noticed by the top hiring companies. It’s impossible to predict what the future holds for social recruiting, but as recruiters we know that we are just getting started.
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