April 5, 2017

Facebook Job Listings: Helpful or Hype?

An HR Expert Weighs the Pros vs Cons

Facebook job listings graphic that says "apply with Facebook"Even with the seemingly endless abundance of job sites and tools available, finding quality candidates continues to vex small and mid-size employers. Sifting through a sea of unqualified candidates takes up a lot of your time and energy and if you take too many shortcuts, you may still end up with a bad hire. This is the problem Facebook is trying to fix by introducing Facebook job listings for American and Canadian businesses.

These easy-to-create posts show up on your business’ Facebook page and in the news feeds of users who have “liked” your company. Facebook users can also find your job listings via the new Facebook Jobs section, where they can use filters to narrow down their job search by industry, job type and location.

While it might seem odd to place a job ad on a forum where it will have to compete with cat videos, inspirational quotes, and random rants, it is almost guaranteed to extend your reach. As of January 2017, Facebook had about 1.8 billion users worldwide and 164 million in the US. In addition, the platform is no longer dominated by teens and young adults. The largest segment is the 25 to 34 age demographic, with over 53 million Facebook users, while those in the 35 to 54 age range make up another 70 million. Clearly, this is a large pool of potential candidates waiting to be tapped. And the ease of applying through Facebook makes it even more attractive for small employers.

But just like anything easy and free/cheap, there are going to be pros and cons. So, is it worth your time to add Facebook to the other nine-zillion job boards where you already post?

The Good: Facebook Job Listings Are Easy to Use

Let’s start with the good. Posting your job on Facebook is simple and easy. On your business page, you’ll see a menu along the left-hand side of the screen, where you’ll find the Jobs tab. Once you click on the tab, you’ll see a series of listings in newsfeed format. At the top of the feed, you’ll see a “Post a job” icon. Ta-dah! You’re in.

The post-in-progress will prompt you to upload a photo (you can also use your default cover photo, but you should probably pick something more apt and exciting), and then fill in details such as job title, location, salary (optional, but we recommend including a pay range), job type, and details about the job tasks and requirements. Make sure to think up a descriptive and clickable header for your job ad…remember, your post is competing with cat videos and cute babies!

Facebook offers their basic job listings for free, which is a definite perk compared to competing sites like LinkedIn and Monster. For example, while you can post a free job ad on LinkedIn, you’ll then need to shell out $99.95 per month for a LinkedIn Hiring account to communicate with just 30 candidates.  In comparison, Facebook allows you to track an unlimited number of applicants and communicate with them for free via Facebook Messenger, an app that most users already have installed on their phones.

The Middle Ground: Where Some $$ is Required

However, like most other free job listing services, Facebook has its limitations.

Using our LinkedIn example from before, one advantage of the LinkedIn Hiring account is the Guided Search and Saved Search alert options. Guided Search allows you to target certain candidates on the platform, while the Saved Search alerts you when a new candidate fits your search criteria. Facebook offers a similar service, but it isn’t free—although it’s still likely to cost less than the $99.95 per month you’ll pay for LinkedIn Hiring.

Likewise, if you’re having a tough time reaching the right applicants on Facebook, you can boost your visibility by promoting the job listings like you would with an advertisement. You can target individuals who have similar interests, skills, and experience to what you’re looking for in your ideal candidate. Promoting a post will cost you, depending on how popular and how many attributes you target, but it could potentially save you the time you might otherwise spend scrolling through a long line of weaker candidates.

The Bad: Untested and Somewhat Risky

While Facebook’s new job listings provide lots of the be excited about, there are some red flags that we’ve identified.

First is whether Facebook’s new job listing service will take off or whether it will go the way of other failed Facebook features. Remember Facebook Marketplace? Exactly.

Overall, Facebook has a good track record, but they’ve also had their share of flops. It’s unclear if their job listing service will be able to compete on equal footing with places like LinkedIn or Indeed. Plus, some small businesses without many Facebook fans may find that they must promote posts to achieve enough visibility, which turns this initially free service into a paid one with an untested price tag.

Second, Facebook’s ease of use for the applicant could also cause an issue. Applicants simply click on “Apply Here,” and much of their personal information can be transferred from their Facebook profile to the application. The only other step requires an applicant to explain why they would be a good fit.

Because it’s so easy, though, it’s possible that some might apply for a job just because it popped up on their news feed, rather than due to a genuine interest in the position. Depending on the popularity of your page and whether you’ve chosen to boost the listing, this means that you may still have to sift through pages of irrelevant candidates before you get to a good one.

Finally, for publicly viewable applicant profiles, it can be problematic (and very risky from an HR perspective) that potential employers could click on an applicant’s page and easily see aspects of his/her identity and lifestyle that cannot legally be taken into account during the hiring process. This includes race or nationality, marital or family status, sexual orientation, health status, and more.

But these concerns may be a peripheral issue, as more people become comfortable communicating through Facebook and applying for jobs on social media. So far, Facebook has reported positive feedback from small businesses that have used the job listing service since testing began last November.

The Solution: Know What You Want, and Ask for Something

Facebook does have one distinct edge over its competition: the capability to target the applicants you want using Facebook’s own built-in metrics.

Before you post job listings, carefully evaluate what you need in an employee. Who is the perfect person to fill this position? It’s not just about skills and experience—interests, hobbies, and temperament can also impact whether someone will fit the role and your company culture.

Using the model profile you’ve compiled, you can then actively seek out candidates that you believe would best fit your ideal model. Creating a great job ad will help ensure that you get more purposeful applicants and less clicks from the “I just need a job” crowd.

You should also include a specific request in the post to make sure it’s been read carefully. This way, you can quickly weed through those applicants who haven’t learned to follow directions or who haven’t bothered to read into the job details.

No job posting site will magically deliver you good employees. That comes from well-written and targeted job posts, probing interviews and, of course, the hiring skills and experience you develop. But Facebook has provided what looks to be a promising new avenue of finding good candidates.

Good luck on your search!

Friendly Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and is not intended to provide legal advice or replace counsel about a specific issue with an attorney or HR expert. This material is meant to provide information that is believed to be current as of the date of this post.

Friendly Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and is not intended to provide legal advice or replace individual guidance about a specific issue with an attorney or HR expert. The information on this page is general human resources guidance that is believed to be current as of the date of publication. Note that CEDR is not a law firm, and as the law is always changing, you should consult with a qualified attorney or HR expert who is familiar with all of the facts of your situation before making a decision about any human resources or employment law matter.

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Please note: CEDR Solutions specializes in providing expert HR support to owners and operators of independently owned medical and dental practices.