Do you know how many people are on Facebook? About a billion, more or less. That is a lot of people that can be accessed for free, and you know what? Recruiters cannot resist. According to a recent survey on social recruiting, LinkedIn was the number one social network used by recruiters. However, Facebook was second and rapidly growing in recruiter adoption. Is this solely because of the sheer numbers represented by Facebook? I don’t think so. I believe a lot of it has to do with Facebook’s own ambitions.
At the beginning of the year, Facebook released an upgrade to its search engine called “Graph Search.” Whenever I read articles about it, Facebook execs always pointed out how cool it was as a potential recruiting tool. This is what Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook CEO said about it:
“One of my favorite queries is recruiting,” Zuckerberg said. “Let’s say we’re trying to find engineers at Google who are friends of engineers at Facebook.” He typed in the query and found, not surprisingly, that there were lots of people who met those criteria. Each one was represented by a little rectangle of information — their profile photo, along with snippets of key information like where they went to school, where they live, and the names of the mutual friends.”
That sentiment was echoed by Lars Rasmussen, co-creator of Graph Search, who said the following:
“And suppose I want a job at Pinterest — which I don’t, for the record — and I want someone to introduce me there,” he said. “I can search for my friends who are friends with Pinterest employees.”
When I read those quotes back then, immediately I suspected that Facebook had LinkedIn envy. I mean, think about it. Facebook owns the online personal social web. If they owned the professional social web represented in LinkedIn, world domination would belong to them. (Insert maniacal mad scientist laugh here.) So, ever since the beginning of the year, I have been looking for an announcement of Facebook buying LinkedIn. Assuming of course, LinkedIn sells out to them or wants to be bought by them or anyone. And then, months later, I noticed that Facebook rolled out a new look. By now, everyone should have it. (If not, it’s coming.) In the new (now current) look, the “About” section was more prominent. Recently, Facebook has been nagging, um… suggesting heavily that users update their “about” pages.
So, what does this mean? I speculate that Facebook is thinking, we may not need to buy LinkedIn if enough people update their about pages. Why? If a near billion people input their occupational data, recruiters will salivate over themselves to take advantage and potentially make hires. Whether you know it or not, there are several tools available to recruiters that search Facebook for possible hires. The information these tools search is found on the “about” pages of Facebook users. So, recruiters should be dancing in the streets, right? Not so fast…
Are you comfortable with recruiters searching Facebook in any capacity to find you? Nervous about what could be found, even if they do not search your timeline (per se), does the very idea make you shudder? I bet it does. I would wager enough of you are trepidatious enough that Facebook has not walked away from the possibility of purchasing LinkedIn. I think at this point, they are merely testing the waters. So, what does all this mean to you? I think it means that you have the opportunity to position yourself to be found by recruiters whether you are looking for work or not. If you are job hunting now, great, you will be better off than others not utilizing the advice I am about to give you. If you are not looking for work, do what I am about to suggest anyway. Why? It gets you on a recruiter’s radar and like a good insurance policy, it’s better to have it and not need it than the reverse. Make sense?
The very first thing I suggest you do is become an expert on Facebook privacy settings. Once that is done, mouse over the “About” link on your Facebook profile and click it.
Once on the “About” page, click the “edit” button to the right of “Work and Education.”
Add data about your work history and once done, choose to make the section you added “public.”
In the “Contact Information” box, add a link to your LinkedIn profile in the website section and make sure its public.
When you are done adding your information and choosing what bits of data you want public, (I suggest all of your employment history, current city and website.) sit back and relax in the knowledge that if recruiters find your profile while searching for jobseekers, you (1) have made it easy to check your background, (2) have made it easy for them to contact you on LinkedIn and (3) covered your tracks with the privacy settings. Yay!
So, what do you think?