Why recruiters might prefer Facebook to LinkedIn

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The Internet has changed the dynamics of both the job search and the recruiting process. Years ago applicants focused on resumes and cover letters, making sure they made it to the mailbox on time to file their applications by the designated date. However, times have changed and applicants and recruiters alike look to the web to connect with one another.

Traditional practices

In years past, employers spent time advertising for job openings. When the responses from applicants came, hiring managers shuffled through all the cover letters and resumes, trying to determine which ones would make it through the first cut and/or be invited in for an interview. Fast forward a few decades and, while cover letters and resumes are still customary, social media has rapidly grown to play a key role in the hiring process.

Social media's role in job recruitment

Organizations actively use social media to find talented potential employees, and some statistics suggest a whopping 92 percent of recruiters use it during part of their process. For several years now, recruiters have routinely turned to professional social networking site LinkedIn to try to pinpoint potential employees; however, trends indicate that employers are increasingly looking to social networking giant Facebook. A 2015 survey conducted by Jobvite found the following:

  • 87 percent of recruiters turn to LinkedIn
  • 55 percent are using Facebook
  • 47 percent use Twitter

The survey, entitled Recruiter Nation Survey 2015, also found recruiters "aren't afraid of new networks either, with 3 percent using Snapchat." Other sites recruiters use include Vimeo, Tumblr and Periscope. A mere 4 percent of recruiters said they don't use social media.

Why Facebook?

Back in 2011, Mashable reported that the online recruiting research lab Potentialpark found employers were still looking toward LinkedIn when seeking to fill executive positions. However, when looking to fill other jobs, Facebook is where employers were turning in order to find students and graduates. The lab surveyed over 30,000 students and graduates worldwide and analyzed more than 500 U.S., Europe and Asia-based companies.

Human resource professionals were asked why they chose Facebook as a virtual recruiting ground, and there were many reasons given, including the following:

  • More engaging
  • Facebook is "where the action is"
  • Bigger pool of talent
  • "More open"
  • Presence of the "Like" button
  • Great for branding

These reasons still fit today. Another possible reason employers may prefer Facebook is that they can learn a lot more about a candidate. People tend to let their proverbial hair down on Facebook, since it's a place to gather and hang out with friends, recap weekends or other events, chat and play games. LinkedIn, by comparison, is established as a more professional environment so people may be more hesitant to be relaxed and let their proverbial hair down on that network. In a sense, social media is a means for recruiters to "pre" interview people to try to gauge if an individual is a good fit for the organization, and Facebook can offer insight into a candidate's personality. Not to mention it boasts more than 1.5 billion members, including many millennials, who have grown up with the network (or at least were probably introduced to it at a young age).

In modern society, it's not only the paper persona that is considered, it's the online one as well. And, in today's world, many of the virtual roads tend to lead back to Facebook as a way to get information. Through this network, employers may feel they can get a better glimpse of the people they are recruiting to work for their organizations. While LinkedIn still has a firm place in the hiring process, Facebook is giving it some competition.

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