Facebook, the largest social networking platform, has made its repository of over 2 trillion posts and real-time content searchable. How can this impact how job seekers find jobs on social media? And what could this mean for recruiters and sourcers who use Facebook as a social recruiting tool?
Last week Facebook announced Search FYI, its significant upgrade to Facebook’s search capabilities that effectively made all public posts in the Facebook index searchable. Prior to the update, Facebook users were primarily limited to seeing and searching posts of friends, family, liked groups, friends of friends, and other affiliations. Now, public Facebook posts–be they from individual users or brands–can be found with the right combination of keywords entered in the Facebook search bar.
Here are three things recruiters and employers need to know about Facebook’s new Search FYI:
Search FYI needs to mature to become a real sourcing tool, but the possibilities are powerful.
You can already leverage Facebook for recruiting and sourcing using without using the new Search FYI. Just last month SVP of CareerArc, Gary Zukowski, shared in a recent webinar the Facebook search techniques you can use today (Watch the recording: Facebook Recruiting Quick Start Webinar).
However, what Search FYI does differently is it allows a peek into a user’s public posts, revealing context and sentiment around a given topic or keyword shared by anyone in the world. Information such as whether someone is looking for a new job, why they are looking, where they are looking, and what they think about a current or former employer now has the potential to be found.
The capability to search real-time and all-time Facebook posts is already quite powerful, however, the Search FYI in its current state is limited in targeting. For example, we tested a simple search query “need a new job” which came up with a variety of results, many from individuals reaching out to their networks for leads. However, without the advanced filtering and targeting capabilities, you can see how this search string casts a very wide net.
But we wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook decided to add more advanced search functionality. Imagine finding candidates who post about their need to find a job in X profession in Y location. If these capabilities are indeed in the roadmap for Facebook search, then we may be seeing the start of a very powerful, flexible Facebook sourcing tool.
Facebook’s universal search carries the potential to boost and proactively protect employer brand.
Job seekers can effectively use the search tool now to look for job postings. For example, look up any position and add “now hiring” in a Facebook search and it will results from companies hiring, as well as individuals who shared a job opportunity with those keywords to their community. Again, to really make this search effective for job seekers, Facebook would need to provide search filtering capabilities like sorting job posts by date or location.
But another way candidates will likely use the search tool is to learn about a company’s culture. “Working at Brand X” could yield some relevant posts, some which could be authored by current or former employees of the company who may have shared thoughts about the company just a week ago, or even three years ago. Since Search FYI can generate a mix of results within one stream–from job posts, to employees’ opinions about their employers, to news about your brand–Facebook can become a more powerful platform for employer brand and company culture content.
But this also gives employers strong reason to be proactive about protecting their brand on Facebook and begin promoting brand advocacy within their workforce. Having a Facebook Careers Tab or a consistent employer brand presence on your corporate Facebook page are more important now than ever as it provides a channel of positive, branded content which employees and candidates alike can engage with and share.
Check your privacy settings: Facebook search can dig up your old public posts.
If you already leverage your friends network for sourcing candidates on Facebook, you do not want to set all your posts to private as you would be closing yourself off to the branding and reach Facebook provides recruiters–especially with your posts, now searchable by candidates outside your immediate network. However, you may want to take a second look and to mark certain posts private. At the bottom of Facebook’s search.fb.com page are some pointers on how to manage your Facebook privacy settings.
The Future of Search FYI is Uncertain, But For Now Facebook is a Smaller, More Open Universe
As the Facebook release states, “This feature is a first step.” Facebook has to strike the delicate balance of privacy and openness, and that balance will draw the borders of how far and deep universal search can go.
But thinking back on Facebook’s platform updates, from changes to the news feed algorithms to profiles features–they have all focused on the goal of increasing users, content, quality of that content, and openness within the network. If Facebook’s Search FYI has real ambitions to rival Twitter’s and Google’s search engines, we can only expect more enhancements to Facebook search.
By Tallulah David