To Facebook or not to facebook- that is the real question!

shakespeare

I’m having a bit of a quandry. I was reading an article by @SocialMediaLond regarding the use of Facebook as a tool for recruiters and it got me questioning my stance.

We were always brought up to believe that Linkedin is your Social media platform for professionals. In this environment, we are encouraged to reach out and make “professional connections” with people from the same industry, with the aim of expanding our network, sharing ideas, or developing new partnerships. A connection is (more often than not) welcomed. It stands to reason then, that as a recruiter, this is the place for us to approach people who we see as a potential clients or candidates. Its the equivalent of approaching someone at a networking event in my mind.  And I’ve been fine with that- I am not an in your face recruiter. I want there to be a value in any transaction with me and I don’t like to pester!

On the flip side, Facebook is the ultimate “social platform”. That is your personal, unprofessional space where you can be the real you, and not the guy in the tie. A quick look at my Facebook page tells you that! So, I’ve always felt that to use that platform as a viable format to develop my business would be seen in the same way as the incessant PPI spam calls you get on your mobile at 8pm on a Sunday. A violation of my personal space, my downtime.

annoyed-woman-on-phone

(Please note, the picture above isn’t me…although I could quite easily be in bed by 8pm on a Sunday!!)

However, the article (you can read it here- Facebook infographic) gives some compelling reasons for using it.

1. Its the 2nd most trafficked website after google
2. 85% of internet users have a FB page, so you have the potential to reach a much wider audience (and more than those recruiters who only use Linkedin)
3. 1 in 5 job seekers added their professional information on their FB page in the last year (I think this is an old article so this has likely increased?)

And in a world where, as recruiters, we justify our existence through our networks, our connections to passive jobseekers and those people not looking at job adverts or posting their CVs to job boards, it makes sense that we should be looking to these more informal platforms, doesn’t it?  I have an iphone for work and it has my Facebook app on there, and it keeps telling me to connect with the people in my contact list, and at least 80% of my list seems to be on there).

Recruiters will often also harp on about how much of a percentage of our network comes from referrals. Well, surely Facebook gives us a better opportunity to get more of those referrals (and with less effort)?? I’m thinking that many of our contacts will “friend” people they work with (well, the people they like and/or respect), and so if you can generate a decent following/network, then you can reach these other people that you may not have been able to in other circumstances.

With that in mind, it will not only benefit our clients as they will access actual “unique” candidates that they would likely not have been able to through any other avenue, but it will also benefit our candidates as they will get access to new opportunities that they might not have been aware of otherwise. Its a no brainer, right?

Many of my Housing Association clients use FB as a medium to connect with their customers (ie tenants), as do many other large brands like Starbucks (27 million fans) and Red Bull (26 million fans), so its not like its a new path, it just seems its not been a well trodden one for recruitment.

So, I’m now thinking there could actually be value in doing it (as long as its done in a measured way that doesn’t intrude on peoples personal space).

I’d be interested in peoples thoughts on this- would you engage with a recruitment company on Facebook if you were looking for work, any experiences of this already (positive or negative) or how should we best approach it?