Face Up to Facebook: Can Small Businesses Recruit Successfully Though the Social Network?

23rd February 2015
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Small businesses do not need to spend big bucks in order to recruit top drawer employees; social media has created many free platforms through which smaller businesses can advertise jobs and promote their brand message. We look at the pros and cons of using Facebook advertising for recruitment and whether LinkedIn will ever have as much reach despite its superior suitability for recruitment in other areas.


The Pros
Facebook has changed the way in which much of the world communicates with each other, and with the ability to advertise making it possible for jobs to be seen by a huge range of people from all over the world, Facebook is only continuing to make its case stronger as a professional platform.

There is a sense of speed and immediacy about Facebook advertising, with results often seen very quickly after an ad has gone live, generating a lot of interest in a short period of time. There is also a huge opportunity to be seen on this platform by passive candidates who may not have thought about working for your company.

Another positive aspect of using Facebook to find staff is that the majority of users will consider themselves fairly contemporary and tech-savvy. There are increased chances of finding like-minded people on Facebook, with 1.35billion active monthly users just waiting to see, like, comment on and share the advertisement, taking some of the strain off a small business and allowing the nature of social networking to work for free in its favour.

Facebook is also an excellent way to promote a small business brand to potential candidates, through an active profile with continual updates. This demonstrates the modern nature of the business and their ability to keep up with online trends and present themselves as a contemporary and vibrant place to work. Millions of jobseekers now use Facebook to research companies and get a feel for how it might be to work for them, so advertising on Facebook and having a profile available for candidates to view is the best way to ensure your advert and business are promoted successfully.

In combination with other paid media too such as Google Adwords or recruitment agencies, Facebook can work effectively as a complementary service and not just as a stand alone.


The Cons
Although Facebook can be considered in a professional sphere it has its roots in social interaction, which can mean pages and pages of cat pictures and not-that-funny memes. For those who find the idea of Facebook unattractive, it may seem like a waste of time to set up an account simply for the purpose of advertising jobs. Having said that, the presence of an online profile for your business is something many candidates consider a benefit when researching the companies they apply to.

With thousands of updates per day, it can be easy for a job advertisement to get lost in the ether and not be seen by its intended audience. Unfortunately, this is the nature of the beast when dealing with a site that has over a billion users!

Despite it's huge active user profile, Facebook's integrated professional app BranchOut, although successful, doesn’t seem to have become a recruitment staple yet.

The Alternatives
For many, LinkedIn is the most viable alternative to Facebook in terms of job advertising. Although it is also a service which requires signing up, it is primarily a professional network, making it a lot less likely that you will see any pictures of cats. It has 332million members, a fraction of the number of Facebook users, however the users on LinkedIn are more suitable for targeting jobs due to the fact that this is a business network.

There is also still scope for targeting passive candidates on LinkedIn, with many professionals creating a profile regardless of whether they are searching for work or not. LinkedIn is a great way to begin work-based discussions that can highlight engaging and creative users that can then be connected with via recruiters or groups.

While LinkedIn has a lower user rate, it is targeted purely to those who are interested in marketing themselves as a professional rather than from a personal perspective. However, Facebook has recently decided to start up a professional networking app as part of their original site, called Facebook at Work, which could yet again change the face of Facebook.

"Facebook is also an excellent way to promote a small business brand to potential candidates, through an active profile with continual updates. "