3 Myths About Recruiting on Facebook – Haters Love to Argue!

Five years ago I was invited to speak at a corporate event by a Fortune 500 company, by their HR Department, to speak to their employees about the advantages of joining LinkedIn as a “professional network”.   Do you remember those times?  When HR folks were actually encouraging their software developers, engineers, and professional level employees to join LinkedIn?!

Today, HR/Talent Pros would be publicly hanged for encouraging their IT staff and other hard to find talent to put their profiles up on LinkedIn.  You are basically encouraging your employees to go out and put up a billboard that says: “I’m available! Come find me and make me an offer!”  That is what LinkedIn has become – Generation-Next-Job-Board.  Don’t get me wrong – I love LinkedIn!  They are one of the largest sources of talent for my company.  When I was on the corporate side of the Talent desk – I still loved LinkedIn – because I could more easily yank talent from my competitors – but I also hated it for that same reason!

Facebook is what LinkedIn was 5 years ago – the Haters just don’t want to admit it.

Recruiting Pros, both corporate and 3rd party, love to rail against anyone who feels Facebook is the “new” LinkedIn – in terms of recruiting potential.  Here’s why –

The 3 Myths about Facebook as a Recruiting Source:

1. Facebook is for your private life – LinkedIn is for your professional Life!

You hear this right!  This is the same type of myth that LinkedIn perpetuated for years – “We are a professional network!” – yeah, right.  You might have started that way – but you are now one big job board – thank you!   Facebook is a “social” network.  Yes, but this is fast changing and will continue to change as people become more comfortable living one life, and learning how to use the Facebook tools and Apps to have both a social life and a professional life on Facebook.

2. There are too many people on Facebook to be effective as a recruiting source.

This is the lazy myth.  Basically, the haters are going to discount Facebook because there are too many people to choose from and that’s hard.  Sorry – you don’t get to say that!  Figure it out – the talent is there, the tools to find them are there – stop making excuses!  Facebook is 1 degree of separation for every person in the world.  Any time you spend trying to figure out how to take advantage of that won’t be a waste.

3. Facebook is a fad, it will be die out in 3 years. 

The one thing I know for sure is, Facebook has changed how our society communicates.  As a recruiting Pro – I want to be a part of how our society communicates. Will something new come out – sure it will. Will Facebook be gone in 3 years – probably not!   In the meantime, we have been given a list of every possible candidate we might ever want to contact, or at least be within one contact point of every candidate – Fade or not – Talent Pros need to take advantage – now. If it’s dead in 3 years, I’ll move to the next source – but for now – I’m using it!


Want to learn how you can take advantage of using Facebook for Recruiting?  Check out the FOT webinar TOMORROW February 2nd at 1pm Est – Register Here!

FOT Background Check

Tim Sackett
Tim Sackett SPHR, is the ultimate Mama’s Boy!  After 15+ years of successfully leading HR and Talent Acquisition departments for Fortune 500s and smaller technical firms, Tim took over running the contingent staffing firm HRU Technical Resources in Lansing, MI. Serving as the Executive Vice President, Tim runs the company his mother started over 30 years ago, and don’t tell Mom, but he thinks he does a better job at it than she did!  Check out his blog at www.timsackett.com. Because he's got A LOT to say, and FOT just isn't enough for him.


  1. Steve W says:

    I’m just going to have to flatly disagree with #1, which makes #s 2 & 3 irrelevant.

    I know of no responsible professionals who mix their FB friends and life, with their LI contacts and online presence.

    Most (like me) do not even list their current or past employers on FB! FB is waaaay too open & personal. Your buddy who hates the Packers, your political comments, your love of Deadwood & The Shield, your religious beliefs (or not), your wacky cousin Susie and her partying life, to say nothing of your photos from that wayward Halloween costume party — all these things can be disqualifiers to a hiring manager, or at least give a negative impression.

    I have friends who won’t even get an FB account b/c of the negative associations with its personal openness and privacy issues. I keep a strict separation b/t the two. Only former colleagues who have become real friends do I make FB friends. And my FB friends who have no relation to my career and want to connect via LI — I decline and tell them that I reserve FB for friends.

    Maybe this makes me old-fashioned and out-of-date, but I prefer to think of it as professional & smart.

    And as for LI — I’m a 6-figure IT pro and have two offers from two companies, both of whom recruited me directly off LI. I merely copied text from my resume to my Profile and viola. I was not even looking, but I was open to change.

  2. Tim Sackett says:


    You prove my point about LinkedIn – it’s not a professional networking site – it’s an updated job board. I’m a recruiter who is looking for the best talent – which much of is passive – and thus not on LinkedIn, but they are on FB.

    Also, I’m not saying you have to mix your personal and professional (although many are and in a few years most will stop “living two lives”) – you can use apps on FB to do both in one place and not connect the personal and professional.

    You can’t fight progress Steve!

  3. Ginger Dodds says:

    loved this blog post because I fight this fight daily. HR is still struggling to understand how to use FB to find candidates. Too many people? Don’t you want to have access to a larger, passive candidate pool? And to respond to Steve’s comment…. you can target your FB ad by geography, education and even interests. So just because many FB users may not list their employer in their profile – or even discuss work – doesn’t mean they can’t be advertised to. Take a look at the ads that appear on your FB profile based on your status updates. It’s quite amazing. And there are a number of applications now as you mention that do integrate a more professional connection on FB, as well as services like Jibe that require a FB (or LinkedIn) account to even access the job site. Everything is moving to social connections so I agree, pretty soon it’ll be more difficult to separate the “work you” from the “real you.”

  4. Steve W says:

    I will agree that LI is not a social site the way that FB is. But it is a good way to stay connected with past colleagues and business contacts (much better than FB), sort of like a dynamic Outlook Contacts in the cloud. It’s much more than a glorified job board, and much less than a “FB for Business” social networking site.

    As for FBs ability to allow end users to custom configure it for different uses/audiences — A) that’s more trouble than its worth, from a career standpoint B) I still don’t trust FB not to change the privacy or other user setting out from under me.

    I don’t see the merging of “private” and “professional” lives, not for serious professionals.

    And for fighting progress — I’ve been on the frontlines of technology my entire career. It’s not fighting progress when progress isn’t there. Show me a real trend of 6-figure professionals getting recruited off FB and I’ll change my mind.

  5. HR Gorilla says:

    I attended yesterday’s FOT webinar (“Social Recruiting MacGyver Style!”)…was super interesting and informative. It also led me to FOT today during lunch! 😉

    As an HR pro, I really like the FB-as-major-recruiting-tool angle. It makes total sense. As a personal FB user, being marketed to every time I update my status page is chilling. I get that that’s already been happening, I get that Google does it to me all time, limiting my search results based on prior searches, I get that direct snailmail has been doing this for years. It’s just….blech-y. I get marketed to alllll the time as an HR pro; can’t I get a breather in my personal life? (Answer: no. And get used to it, lady.)

    Re: “serious professionals” not mixing their personal & professional personae: yikes, that’s kind of insulting. Sure, it varies by industry and role as to how much you can/should let your personal freak flag fly, but allowing your personality and private life to be visible doesn’t automatically disqualify you as a Serous Professional. I only use FB in my private life, but if I couldn’t be my goofy self* at work, I’d be miserable.

    *when appropriate, obviously.

  6. Jim says:

    The only people that tout facebook as a viable recruiting source are HR/Talent Acquisition enthusiasts who want to seem trendy, cutting edge, and technologically savvy. For my own edification, I would like to know, specifically how one uses facebook to “find passive talent.” Simply posting an ad?

    The search tools to find people are not nearly as structured on facebook as they are on LinkedIn. On facebook, you are able to search for someone based on location, current company, and/or the specific school they went to. That’s it. I am always curious if the people that say they use facebook for recruiting ACTUALLY use it for any other purpose than to look up people that they have found elsewhere. Please enlighten me.

  7. John Dennehy says:


    Here’s a simple but true anecdote a friend told me last week. He was looking for a business development person for his small company in Dublin. He posted the fact on LinkedIn and Facebook. He got contacted by three agency recruiters when he posted on LinkedIn. He got three good referrals from friends on Facebook. He’s not a recruiter and would never have heard of social recruiting. He’s just a small business owner who got three good candidates from Facebook.

    I’m not undermining the potential of LinkedIn for recruitment. But Facebook definately has its place too.


  8. Tim-spot on…with one addition. I don’t think it’s just about recruiting. Just like we know that people are mixing their private and professional lives on Facebook, we also know that recruiting is mixing with other functions of the organization (marketing, CSR, investor analysts). So it’s just just about the act of recruiting, like marketing isn’t just about the act of sales. Sure, candidates can be byproducts of it, and we can use Facebook to post jobs–but it’s more about the interaction with the brand form a marketing, learning and experiential perspective.

  9. Ben Martinez says:

    I listened to the FOT webinar (“Social Recruiting MacGyver Style!”) and enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the comments above. Below are my thoughts based on trench work as a Facebook page admin.
    The biggest myth about recruiting on Facebook is that it can be easy to recruit on Facebook. To recruit passive candidates on Facebook a company/brand needs a presence on Facebook. To have a presence you must have a Facebook page for people to fan and a human must manage/admin the page. I have yet to see a fancy app or robot that can engage (i.e., get people to like and comment on posts) fans. The Facebook page admin must act as a brand manager and be very aligned with the company’s marketing department or brand.

    I have seen many Facebook pages with little to no engagement (i.e., comments and likes). Some of you may have one of them. Engagement is hard to do. So is marriage, but people figure it out. Further, people mistakenly link a Facebook page with other social media channels, like a Twitter or LinkedIn. Stop that. Each channel is different w/ different audiences.

    Lastly, passive candidates are not going to follow a page with a name that sounds like a help wanted ad or career page. They will fan a page with a brand message that emotionally attracts them to it. This is what a good employment value proposition (EVP) will do for a company. Develop the EVP first, then share it and engage audiences with it on social media accounts. Starbucks is good at this. Before any HR pro makes the decision to recruit on Facebook, be aware of the time commitment. Don’t think a fancy app can do it for you.

    Peace out FOT folks. Enjoy the content you guys share!

  10. Katie says:

    Nice post. Since there isn’t a direct tie in with social recruiting and ROI executives tend to view it as a “nice to have” not a “must have”, which is a big mistake!

    I like your point about facebook not just being social. Right now I basically use facebook for social reasons and try to keep it separate from my private life but as time goes on that will probably be less and less!

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