Everyone uses Facebook differently – something to keep in mind when using it for recruitment
By Harpaul Sambhi
At one time, Facebook was the sole domain of generation Y. But people of all ages and generations are now on the social networking site, which recently surpassed one billion users.
But everyone, regardless of age, uses Facebook differently. Some use it as their main communication tool to stay in touch with friends and family, while others simply want to reconnect with former colleagues or school chums. Still others join to find people with similar interests, be it an online game, favourite TV show or alma mater.
Once you understand how candidates are using Facebook, there are an array of fields to help you narrow down the pool of candidates. It’s best to be as selective as possible. However, keep in mind the advertisement tool, and the fields, were created for the marketing department and some of the fields can get an organization in trouble from a human rights perspective if it targets ads based on protected grounds, such as age, gender or relationship status.
But there are many fields safe for recruitment purposes which can be very useful. These include:
Location: You can target your ads to users in a particular city, province or country. You can also target multiple areas at once.
Keywords: Keywords collect various information from multiple fields such as hobbies, interests, music, TV shows, movies, books, groups, the “about me” information and, most importantly, position in the workplace. Keywords are a great way to narrow down the search to hit more relevant targets geared towards culture.
Education: You can target particular alumni, such as University of Waterloo computer science graduates or University of British Columbia law students. The search can include multiple schools and programs to widen the results. Since education is an auto-fill field, searching for a school is very easy since Facebook has a database of most post-secondary institutions.
Workplace: This field is a definite advantage for identifying candidates. Finding smaller organizations will be tough, but auto-fill occurs with most major organizations. Therefore, finding candidates at a large bank or telecommunications company can be easy. Also, the search doesn’t distinguish between past employers and current employers, so both will end up in the results.
Languages: While this is a seldom used field by many users, you may be able to find bilingual candidates by adding in the desired languages.
Linking groups with your advertisements
The connection fields allow you to target candidates who are already involved with your group, fan page, application or event.
While job ads targeted at your ideal candidates may yield some click-throughs, you’ll have a better success rate if you target users who are already members of your community. They are engaged and have some interest in your organization and product or service. So instead of simply targeting job ads to specific users, target ads to these users highlighting your organization and your Facebook community. Once they’re engaged with your organization, then you can target them with job ads.
You can also target the friends of these connections. Your advertisement will have a quick note alerting these friends that their connection is involved with your community, giving your advertisement the same effect as a referral from a trusted source. In an age of ubiquitous Internet ads, many users have simply learned to ignore ads that don’t interest them. But when they see the names of their friends included in the ad, they will be more drawn to it, increasing the likelihood they will click on the ad. And as more people join your community, the more of their connections you’ll be able to target through engagement ads.
While some of these ads will appear on the side, which limit the success, linking to relevant content such as your Facebook page is highly recommended. Retargeting ads are now available to limited companies, whereby it will appear on a users’ stream via mobile. These ads have been identified as three times more effective, but have been limited to a select few companies. Watch for this to become more common in early 2013.
Harpaul Sambhi is the CEO of Careerify, a company that develops social recruiting tools focused on employee referral programs with offices in Toronto and San Francisco. He is the author of Social HR, published by Carswell, which sheds insights in how social media is impacting human resources. He can be reached at email@example.com, (416) 840-6216 or visit www.careerify.net for more information.