Sourcing Contract Candidates on Facebook

Don’t unfriend Facebook as a sourcing tool just yet! You should take a second look, especially when targeting contractors within a specific niche.

Searching the Social Network

Facebook wants to attract recruiters and took a big step in this direction with the launch of the Graph Search in 2013. This search feature allows recruiters to find information shared publicly or by friends. The search engine is being touted as being more user-friendly, since it’s built around natural language rather than keywords. Below are examples of searches recruiters can run on the Graph Search:

  • Job title + location. Example: Engineers who live in New York
  • Job title + employer. Example: Developers who work at Facebook
  • By education: Example: People who graduate from Notre Dame in 2014

Contract staffing recruiters can take this a step further and look for candidates who are currently working on contract. Below are some searches we tested which brought up results for potential contract candidates:

  • Engineers who work in contracting in California
  • Programmers who are contractors
  • Contractors who are nurses

Hashing out Hashtags

Facebook now supports hashtags giving recruiters another option to search the social network for candidates. Hashtags are created by adding # to a phrase are used to stress a word or phrase as important. Common hashtags used by job seekers include #hireme, #needajob, and #resume. Know a phrase popular within your niche? Try searching for the phrase as a hashtag.

Also, hashtags are valuable when you are posting jobs on your company page. Some common ones searched by job seekers are #jobs or #jobposting. This increases the post visibility so more potential job seekers can find the job opportunites your recruiting firm has available.

To Friend or Not to Friend?

So how do you reach the candidates you find on Facebook? People are not very receptive to “Friending” strangers on Facebook, making a Friend request not the best strategy. Sending messages has about the same success as a friend request. If you are not Friends with someone, the message goes into a semi-hidden inbox which is rarely checked.

One option is if the candidate is a Friend of a Friend, ask your Friend to introduce you. Secondly, once you have their name, you could also try finding them in another network, such as LinkedIn, where it is more common to make connections with people you have not met in person.

A Good First Impression

Lastly, don’t forget to optimize your Facebook profile so candidates can find you.  Make sure your firm’s business profile is highly searchable by using keywords they are likely to use, including industry-specific terms.

Make sure you don’t just post jobs. Share articles which are relevant to the candidates you wish to attract. This makes yourself a valuable resource for industry information setting you apart from the sea of other recruiters. Stand out even more on their Facebook news stream by utilizing eye-catching images.

While Facebook recruiting will probably never replace traditional sourcing methods or LinkedIn as a candidate source, there are ways to use this social network as a valuable sourcing tool.

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