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Facebook: 500 million job candidates strong

You might be surprised, but when it comes to social media, I am the complete opposite of the "norms" you see, particularly in the business world. Most people have thousands of LinkedIn connections and keep their number of friends low, since Facebook is deemed more "personal." In fact, the average Facebook user has 130 friends. I, on the other hand, just barely broke the 500 connection mark on LinkedIn, (pathetic for a recruiting executive?). Yet on Facebook, I have close to 1,000 friends (yes, I'm one of those people).

Over the past 10 years, I have lived in four major cities in North America. My friends on Facebook come from work, college, and even as far back as elementary school. My friends are my network. And on some level, I actually know all my Facebook friends and have regular exchanges with most of them. Or, at least, I try to!

LinkedIn, however, tends to be more popular in the business world. Many of my friends not in corporate America shy away from or are simply unaware of it. Think about it. Most people who have never been active in the job market probably have not clicked on a major job board, let alone uploaded their resume. LinkedIn is somewhat similar.

When I am helping one of my recruiters on a search, my first instinct is to update my Facebook status before even thinking about the job boards. My next step is to search through my friends list to see if someone can refer a candidate to me. Although leveraging social media has been one of my tactics for quite some time now, a year or so ago it would not have been my starting point. Now, using these networks for referrals is one of my most effective methods.

On Facebook, friends tend to respond quickly, and they're more apt to message you privately in response to your status update about a job. In terms of candidate quality, I am a big believer that good people will refer good people, and good recruiters should always have strong networks.

Having just passed the 500 million user mark, Facebook, if it were a country, would rank as the third largest in the world. With millions more profiles on Facebook than on the job boards, the possibilities on Facebook are endless.

In fact, I can share with you one of the success stories Yoh recently had leveraging Facebook for a client project. One of our key clients expanded its operations to a remote part of the country. This company hires a wide range of skill sets in the electronics industry that are typically difficult to source, let alone in a sparsely populated region.

After exhausting our internal database and job board searches, the teams turned their attention and efforts to Facebook. The recruiters leveraged their own profiles as well as Yoh's Facebook page to source candidates in this small town. Not only did we successfully fill the open technical needs, but we also built pipelines of candidates and referrals for future openings.

Even though we were not local, we networked virtually and became market experts. We leveraged social media to understand the geography, people's interests and backgrounds, and where we could source talent. As Web 2.0 continues to expand, virtual relationships are becoming of greater importance. But it all comes down to the basic principle of networking and "knowing who you know."


This post was written by Jesse Ohayon, former Vice President of Recruiting at
Yoh.  Learn more about Jesse.

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