With all of the concern about the recession and the current unemployment rate, it’s easy to overlook the fact that as of October there were 3.7 million unfilled jobs in the U.S. Alone, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those of you working in the HR industry probably already know how close to home this number hits — and how difficult it is to close the gap between the number of open positions and the qualified candidates needed to fill them.
That said — and I may be biased, since my company, Work4 Labs, and I have a stake in the continued success of social recruiting technology — I truly believe we are at a really exciting juncture in the history of the recruiting industry. We not only have professional networks in place to connect active job seekers with specialized positions, but we also — for the first time — have the buy-in from activeand passive talent on personal networks such as Facebook.
Facebook’s interface has helped facilitate a shift in the user experience, especially when it comes to sharing personal information with companies and brands. Call it a lucky result of the implementation of Facebook’s Timeline, the simplicity of single-sign-on and one-click sharing features, the push by marketing agencies to maximize employer branding through Timeline for Business, or what you will.
And now you have a new tool to add to your recruiting arsenal.
Beginning this past summer, you may have heard rumors of the formation of a partnership in the interest of creating a job board on Facebook. Indeed, the Social Jobs Partnership, a “coalition of employment service non-profits, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the world’s largest network (namely Facebook),” was formed in the same month as the U.S. Bureau of Labor released the statistics on unfilled jobs. And one of this partnership’s initiatives was to create a job board app for Facebook, which launched in November. (You can learn more about all of the SJP’s initiatives on the SJP Facebook page.)
At the time of the launch, the Social Jobs App, a job board that uses the power of Facebook’s network, featured 1.7 million listings, creating a central location for recruiters to share jobs with the Facebook’s 1 billion user community. The app allows job seekers to use Facebook to search for jobs by industry, location, and skills, making the job search process easier and more accessible.
I often hear concerns from bloggers and industry professionals who think the job board is an attempt to turn Facebook into a professional networking platform or somehow compete with the likes of LinkedIn. It’s not — and I think it is helpful to look at it this way:
The rollout of Timeline for Business was not intended to turn Facebook into a brand advertising network; rather, it allowed companies to leverage the power of personal connections to increase brand awareness. In the same vein, the rollout of the Social Jobs App is not intended to turn Facebook into a professional network; rather, it allows employers to leverage the power of personal connections to streamline hiring and increase job visibility.
In other words, the app is a place for both passive and active candidates to find out how they can work with the companies they already “like.”
I also understand that some companies and HR departments have been slow to adopt the app (and Facebook as a recruiting platform in general) due to concerns about its efficacy. To many companies, “Facebook” as an entity still conjures up the image of a truly social – -i.e. not professional — platform. But for many of Facebook’s users, that context has already begun to change.
Today we “friend” our coworkers and complete our Timelines with our work and educational history. Often, we “like” companies in our preferred industries, we engage with the brands we follow, and we already share jobs with our friends through status updates when our companies are looking for good qualified candidates.
By the same token, looking for a job is a very personal endeavor. You chat with your friends and family about it. You ask for advice from the people you trust, and you search for companies into whose cultures you fit. Many of those conversations and much of that research already happens on Facebook.
No, the network is not exclusively professional; however it’s clearly ripe for professional use.
While many may agree with me on the above point, they still argue that the app itself lacks value or application. They ask, is it useful? Does it work? Will anyone know where to go to see my jobs?
It is useful, and it does work. Just look at the companies like Hard Rock and L’Oreal who are already seeing great candidate engagement and return on their efforts. But as for whether or not candidates will know how to find you, that is, as with any recruiting solution, in part up to you.
Being “found” on the Social Jobs App may not yet be a reality for many companies out there; this is not a matter of poor execution of the app, but rather the unfortunate fact of implementing any new technology before widespread industry adoption: the marketplace is fertile, but the HR industry simply has not adopted the tools to harvest it.
However, once you invest in those tools — to connect your ATS, to target candidates through ads and Sponsored Stories, to build your brand and drive engagement, to track your analytics and make improvements — you will be able to turn the app into a thriving hub for your social recruiting strategy. As it stands, the app exists, the tools are out there, and there are 1 billion potential candidates who are just waiting to be found.