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Facebook for Recruitment: What’s not to “Like”?

By May 17, 20122 Comments

Facebook has been in the news rather a lot lately as various corners of the media, communications, business and financial worlds get increasingly frenzied about today’s Initial Public Offering.  While we in recruitment wring our hands together in earnest confusion over whether or not male recruiters should wear ties, Zuckerburg is rocking up to Wall Street to launch a multi-billion dollar IPO in a hoodie.

Facebook are also experimenting with more ways to monetise their behemoth of a creation.  In the same week that General Motors declare that paid advertising on Facebook just doesn’t work, news spreads of a new feature being tested where you can pay a small amount to have your post highlighted and appear at the top of your friends’ newsfeeds.

This is an interesting development for us in recruitment.  Certainly, I can personally vouch for the positive effect that highlighting a “Premium Ad” on job boards does to drive more views and applications to your in trays.  The same will certainly happen with highlighted Facebook posts.  Many argue that this is the first step towards the death of Facebook as we once knew it.  Apparently many users will be turned off by this commercialisation, particularly the younger users with less discretionary spending budgets for such uses.

But I call it progress.

So what if highlighted posts herald the end of the Facebook we once knew?  I don’t even like Facebook that much anyway.  This actually makes me sit up and pay more attention, particularly in terms of its potential implication to us in the recruitment world as a more effective candidate attraction strategy.  Facebook used to be a no-fly-zone for the searching gaze of recruiters where users baulked at the intrusion of mixing the world of work with the more “social” extra-curricular activities of Facebook.  But then cleverly-developed company Facebook pages and careers pages started to modify those opinions.  Now there are some bright sparks who can even teach you how to recruit on Facebook like you recruit on LinkedIn (Software Advice offers some very good tips in this blog post here).

The world of Facebook and the world of work have continued to overlap more and more in recent weeks.  Last week this article appeared in the NBR revealing that job applicants in the US have been asked to provide Facebook passwords to potential employers:

“…some employers in the United States have been asking for passwords, mainly because of the extremely tight job market there.”

And even though the article suggests this would never happen in New Zealand’s business culture it was enough for Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff to ask Parliament’s justice and electoral select committee to look into whether this practice was being carried out here as well.

This brings me onto the story where the simple act of “Liking” things on social media now has potentially career-limiting outcomes for the admiring button-clicker as last week:

“…six workers in the US were sent packing after ‘liking’ the page of their boss’s political opponent”

At first glance I thought this was fair enough.  If any of my staff members openly “liked” the social media pages of direct competitors then I would have serious cause for concern.  But then I thought about it some more and ended up doing a complete U-turn.  The term “like” has these days taken on a completely new meaning in the world of social media.  Nowadays it is more of a vehicle that you use to share content and spread it around your network.  You might also like a Facebook page to keep abreast of movements, developments, events and updates of particular people or companies.  And from a competitive point of view I think I would actually applaud my employees’ initiative in doing such a thing as knowledge is power after all.  I have direct competitors to my business following us on Twitter and I don’t for one moment think it is because they really like hearing about our successes and good times we have here @NZRice!

We also got in trouble once for “liking” a LinkedIn story about a UK recruiter’s poor recruitment practices and unethical behaviour.  But the point was missed.  This wasn’t us saying that we “like” unethical recruitment behaviour.  Nor was it us saying that we “like” the fact our client’s good name was slightly tarnished by this story.  It was simply a method of sharing what goes on in the world of recruitment and a way of keeping others who engage with us aware of what is considered good (and bad) practice when it comes to certain recruitment methodologies.

So I should end this week by mentioning once more the inaugural Quarterly Social Recruiting PowWow that Rice Consulting is holding here at Generator towards the end of June.  This is for anyone socially engaged with us through The Whiteboard (subscribers), Twitter followers, Pinterest pinners or Facebook friends.  And please tell your boss not to worry that you might “Like” Rice Consulting on Facebook.  It doesn’t have to mean you’re looking for a new job.  You’ll just get to see more content around the event, including the attendees and RSVPs, and more information on speakers Paul Jacobs and the JobX guys.  Hope to see some of you then.

Jonathan Rice

Director of New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice & Co, co-founder of freelance recruiter platform JOYN, and people-centric technology firm superHUMAN Software. Recruitment innovator, agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Fiona Hewitt says:

    Fiona Hewitt likes this.

  • Stewart Farr says:

    Because no one ‘fluffs’ the facts on facebook…… 😉
    As for [like]. Unfortunately facebook have killed the definition of the word.
    [like] as it ‘interested’
    [like] as in ‘I’m stalking you’
    [like] as in ‘I enjoyed/laughed at your statement’
    [like] as in ‘I want to be popular too!’………..