8 Best Practices for Recruiters on Facebook

As a global platform for sharing information with family, friends, co-workers, and the occasional random contact, Facebook isn’t the simplest service for recruiters to make use of. But it offers some of the best opportunities for finding new talent. Why? With 350 million people, Facebook is much larger than any other social service on the web, and, it offers an increasing number of features that recruiters can use to find the hires they want.

Certainly, some recruiters have been making use of Facebook for years. But given the near-constant upgrades that Facebook gives features like its news feed and Pages, it’s important to stay current with the best practices currently available. Here’s our list, organized by feature type.

Add Industry Colleagues as Friends and Use Them to Find More Prospective Hires

Here are a few pointers for how to make basic site features more useful in hunting heads.

1. Your personal profile: Most people on Facebook use the site to only be friends with people they’ve met in real life. But there is still a lot of overlap with business connections in any industry; go to an industry trade show, for example, and you’ll probably get a friend request or two from people you got to know there. A recruiter can tap into these sorts of connections by actively adding others in their industry as friends (recruiters should make sure their own Facebook profiles are work-safe before doing this). Once you have some industry friends, you can use the “mutual friends” feature that Facebook provides anyone who is signed in to the site. You can see it any time you visit another user’s personal profile, or when they request to add you as a friend. Take the time to look at the mutual friends you already have with your existing Facebook friends, as you may discover connections you didn’t know you had. People who are friends with your friends will be more likely to trust you, because that simple connection increases your legitimacy.

2. Other people’s profiles: There have been plenty of stories about prospective employees who got job offers pulled because the employer saw questionable content on their Facebook profiles. These users typically do not realize just how much of their Facebook profiles they’re sharing with people they friend on the site (those users should take a close look at Facebook’s privacy settings). However, anything they make available through their privacy settings is fair game, and worth taking a look at in terms of trying to figure out how valuable the prospective employee might be. While the basic profile information — education, work, etc. — is obviously of interest, what they say and do on their walls can tell much more about what they’re like, day to day. (Again, for people who are considering being friends with recruiters, make sure that you’re comfortable sharing this sort of information with them.)

3. Engagement: Recruiters aren’t typically in the role of publicly promoting the companies they work for, so be careful about engaging with the things other people share. The focus should be on mining your friends engagement for new connections. Lets say you’re a recruiter and you’re friends with a thought leader in your industry — watch to see who likes and comments on the items they share, or who they get into discussions with in other people’s items. Then, check out what you can on those people’s profiles and consider getting in touch with them. However, actively engaging could also help recruiters become better real-life friends with potential candidates, as this example shows, leading to more long-term business.

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