Attitudes to Social Media for Recruiting & Sourcing

Growing Social Media by mkhmarketing

There seems to be two camps in the recruitment community.

  • The blasé – they’re not convinced by Twitter or Facebook as useful for recruitment and they’re certain that they couldn’t possibly search or use LinkedIn any better. Don’t even mention Google+ or Foursquare without getting laughed out of their office.
  • The worriers – they seem very concerned that if their recruiters don’t know about every online search tool and technique going then they’re missing out on something fundamental to their success.

I think both could learn a lot from each other.

The first camp is well grounded, not ready to waste time on something that might not work when they could be doing something that they know will give results. The vast majority of the time, candidates are hanging out just where you would expect them to be. If you have 5 great candidates in your database or ATS, why wouldn’t you contact them first?

The second group is curious, hungry to learn and always think that they could be doing better. When their network is all tapped out and LinkedIn isn’t giving them the results they need, they have more ideas up their sleeve.

On the other hand, the blasé are closed minded and almost definitely missing out on great opportunities. The worriers are too concerned about finding talent via “the next big thing” instead of just finding the best possible person for the job.

Open mindedness without drinking too much of the Kool-Aid – is that the sweet spot?

Image credit.

Facebook Graph Search Demo

Last week I was a guest on Shane McCusker’s regular sourcing webinar. I have just been given access to Facebook’s new Graph Search, so I decided to show off what I have learned about it so far.

Here’s the recording of the webinar for you in case you missed it:

Follow Shane’s Recruitment Blog for more webinars.

LinkedIn Scrap Their Events App – Now What?

LinkedIn have announced that they will be shutting down the LinkedIn Events App on 26th November 2012.

LinkedIn Help Center: LinkedIn Events - Shutdown

I think this is a real shame as it can be a great sourcing tool. I have spoken many times about how powerful events can be for sourcers and that Social Media sites offer you the opportunity get something out of an event even if you are unable to attend – who has the time or money to go to everything?

If you’d still like to let your LinkedIn network know what events you will be attending then using LinkedIn’s status updates could be a good alternative. This also gives you the opportunity to say more about why you’re going than just using LinkedIn Events would have done.

LinkedIn’s Events App is, of course, only one small way to follow the plethora of breadcrumbs left online by event attendees. So, what other apps could we start using to discover events, promote our own events and source names of interesting people to talk to?

[Note: If the search strings in this post seem confusing then check out my Search Engine Handbook for Recruiters – it will explain everything.]


Event organisers use Eventbriteto manage ticket sales for their events and as a promotion tool. This makes it a huge, fully searchable, events directory. I would guess that most people reading this blog have registered to attend an event through Eventbrite at least once before, but have you ever used it to search for events?

Search for events on Eventbrite

Some event organisers make the attendee lists of their events publicly visible. This is really useful for us! You can search for events very effectively from inside Eventbrite or if you just want to find events that are displaying a list of attendees then try X-raying Eventbrite via Google or another search engine like this:

“industry keyword” (location OR location) “attendee list sort by”

Eventbrite is particularly good for: Event Discovery & Name Sourcing (if the organiser has chosen to display an attendee list). Similar Tool: Amiando

Facebook Events

Not every event on Facebookis for “Toni’s 30th Birthday Bash”. A lot of big conferences and smaller networking groups promote their events on Facebook. Try X-Raying Facebook to find events in your industry. A string like this might help you get started: inurl:events “industry keywords” location

The intitle:operator can be useful here as event names form part of the page title.

Social Developers London November - Facebook Event

As you can see above, there are often lists of those attending, invited, maybe attending… and you can see all their names just by clicking. Of course, some networking and event communities have Facebook pages. Take London’s Digital Sizzle community, for example. At the time of writing they have 512 likes on their Facebook page – if this is the sort of talent you’re looking for then these people are probably of interest. Facebook might not let you see those 512 names, but if you take a look at the page’s most recent posts and hover over where it says “3 people like this” – then you will see the names of those three people. No doubt three people very engaged with that page and those events. You can also see who has commented on and shared posts made by a Facebook page.

The names you gather on Facebook can be cross referenced with a Google or LinkedIn search.

Facebook Events are particularly good for: Name Sourcing
Further Reading: Cracking open Facebook by Balazs Paroczay


Lanyrd is an app that helps people discover events via their Twitter networks. If you use twitter then you probably have quite a chunk of followers that work in a similar niche to your business.

Sign in at Lanyrd with your Twitter credentials to find out what events your network is going to be attending. You can even get weekly event suggestions sent to your inbox. Build 2012 seems to be very popular in my network this week:

Build 2012 on Lanyrd

Lanyrd allows people to register both that they are attending the event or if they are just interested and would like to track the event. This means that you often get a lot more useful names (with links to their Twitter profiles) than you would do from a straight forward attendee list.

If an event is popular on Lanyrd then its attendees are probably going to generate quite a lot of tweets on the day too – remember to set yourself a reminder to monitor Twitter on the day of the event to find more attendees. The page above tells us to use the #buildconf  hashtag. I’ll say more about hashtags later.

Lanyrd is particularly good for: Discovery and Name Sourcing.
Similar Tools: Plancast


Meetup is a great hybrid of community and events. Some people join an event community on Meetup but never actually attend an event. Like Lanyrd, it gives you that bit extra compared with a standard attendee list. PHP London on

The URLs for groups and people profiles make X-raying Meetup really easy too.

Take the PHP London meetup group. It has 1,696 members who will all have a profile page. If I wanted to find developers with experience on eCommerce sites I might try a string like this:

(magento OR ecommerce OR “e commerce”)

Meetup is particularly good for: Name Sourcing, Promotion
Further Reading: How To Source On Meetup by Peter Kazanjy on the SourceCon blog


Not everyone on Twitter will be active on Lanyrd or Plancast. Once you know about an event, Twitter can be a really powerful to way to discover who is attending and why.

These days most events have a #hashtag. If you are unsure how hashtags work then take a look at my post explaining how recruiters can use hashtags.

An event’s hashtag can sometimes be slow to emerge. It is worth leaving a search running for “the name of the event” in quote marks weeks, even months, before a big conference or expo.

If attending or sponsoring an event, I will often build a Twitter list of all those I find that look like they will be attending. It’s then easy for me to spend a little time ahead of the event interacting with those people via Twitter. This makes meeting up on the day much easier as you already feel you know each other and feel part of a community.

Twitter is particularly good for: Being there even when you can’t attend, Name Sourcing, Discovery & Promotion.
Further Reading: What is a #Hashtag?

Do you use any other sites to identify great events and the talent that attends them?

Facebook to Launch a Job Board?

FACEBOOK(LET) FrontsideYesterday Will Staney, Direcror of Recruiting at Success Factors in the US, revealed that Facebook will be launching a job board offering – and soon.

His mysterious sources, referred to only as “People”, say that three companies, Jobvite, BranchOut and Work4Labs, all with existing Facebook career products, would be involved with this new offering.

Back in October 2011, Facebook announced a “Social Jobs Partnership” with the US Department for Labour. They say of the partnership:

In the interest of getting people back to work, the partnership plans to pursue a number of initiatives designed to more effectively leverage the utility of social networks in the job market:

  1. The partnership will conduct in-depth survey research about the ways in which job seekers, college career centers, and workforce recruiters are using the social web.
  2. The partnership will develop and launch a central page on Facebook that will host specialized resources, and content designed to help job seekers and employers.
  3. The partnership will explore and develop systems where new job postings can be delivered virally through the Facebook site at no charge.
  4. The partnership will promote existing employment programs and resources offered by government agencies for job hunters.
  5. The partnership plans to distribute educational materials about leveraging the power of the social web to recruiters, government agencies and job seekers.

This makes me wonder if this rumoured Job board offering will be a global product or just limited to roles with US government agencies.

The job posting market is definitely changing but I think I agree with this Techcrunch article, it doesn’t sound like a serious effort – yet!

Do you think Facebook is really going to launch a social job board to deliver jobs virally through the site at no charge?

Target Talent Like A Sniper On Facebook

TargetFacebook is fairly tough to search so it doesn’t get too much press from the sourcing community. Facebook is, however, one of the largest people databases on the web with 901 million monthly active users at the end of March 2012. Facebook also holds an unfathomable amount of information about its users.

Recent studies have shown that clicks on Facebook advertising have increased 50% in the last 12 months. Facebook advertising budgets are also increasing. This means that both users and advertisers are getting much more comfortable with the notion of advertising on Facebook. Users are more comfortable to click and advertisers are seeing the benefit.

Put these two things together and you have a very powerful and cheap way to get in front of exactly the kind of people you want to find to fill your job vacancies. I find myself recommending this to my clients more and more when they have very exact requirements to hunt down.

Clicks only cost a few pence, so if you target your ad at just a couple of hundred people you are unlikely to pay as much as one job posting on a job board. I’ve seen companies make placements for as little as £1.75 using Facebook Advertising.

Let me show you what I mean with an example.

Create your Facebook Ad

To start creating your Facebook Ad you will need to scroll to the very bottom of the page and click on “Advertising”.

Let’s suppose you want to find nurses to work at a hospital in Bristol. If you post your job on a job board it might cost hundreds of pounds and anyone might apply, even people that don’t have any relevant skills and qualifications or those that don’t live locally (people are funny that way).

Facebook Ads are very small, you have just a few characters and a picture to play with so make it punchy and very clear.

Advertise a job on Facebook

Target relevant Facebook profiles

Facebook lets you target your ad by location and by keywords. This means that only those likely to be interested and relevant for the role will see it. In this example I have also chosen to limit to those over 20, as you need a degree or a diploma to be a nurse.

Target by location and interests

Estimated reach of Facebook AdFacebook estimates that there are 1,240 people in the Bristol area aged over 20 that have the keyword “Nurse” or “Nursing” on their profiles.

You could also target your ad based on someone’s education. You could target all those in the Bristol area that have listed a nursing degree on their profile or those that say they work at other Bristol Hospitals. For this example, targeting those with a nursing degree worked better – the hospitals did not come up as workplaces, suggesting the people aren’t including this information on their Facebook profiles.

Target your Facebook add based on education and workplace

Target a small audience for cost effective recruitment on FacebookThese options give us a highly targeted audience of just 280 people on Facebook. This might seem like a small number but it is better to put your ad in front of a small number of relevant people rather than a large number of people that don’t fit your requirements.

If you wanted to reach more people you could increase this number to 400 people by extending your search to those up to 40km outside of Bristol.

Decide how much you want to spend on your Facebook advertisment

Facebook estimates a good maximum bid to be 45p – so even if you paid that for each click and everyone clicked on your ad, you’d spend a maximum of  £126. You can also cap your daily spend on adverting at a minimum of £1.

Advertising a job on Facebook won't cost you a lot.

I would recommend paying for advertising per click rather than per impression. This means that you only pay when someone clicks on your add, it might be displayed hundreds of time, providing you a good branding opportunity, for free!

Have you had any success with Facebook advertising?

Photo by gothick_matt on Flickr.