While employers continue to use professional networking site LinkedIn for recruiting, especially when hand-picking for executive positions, they prefer interacting with students and graduates via Facebook rather than LinkedIn, according to a study by online recruiting research lab Potentialpark.
For the study, Potentialpark surveyed more than 30,000 students and graduates worldwide and analyzed the online career presence of more than 500 companies in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Since the data has not yet been published online, Mashable spoke with Potentialpark about its findings.
Within the European survey respondents, 48% said they prefer to connect with recruiters via LinkedIn, while only 25% said they prefer connecting via Facebook. When asked to explain their reservations about Facebook, the majority of respondents said Facebook is “not the right place” to interact with employers or that they are “uncomfortable sharing private information.”
These findings aren’t shocking, as privacy seems to be a common theme when it comes to employment and Facebook. But these reservations aren’t keeping employers from getting active on Facebook. Potentialpark found that more than one-third of the top 100 employers in Europe have a Facebook Page for recruitment purposes, many of them with more than 1,000 fans.
So, why are employers so interested in connecting with recruits on the world’s largest social network if candidates seem creeped out by Facebooking with recruiters?
Potentialpark interviewed HR professionals about their motivation to be active on Facebook and found that they had multiple reasons for involvement. Here’s an overview of reasons why recruiters cited a preference for Facebook when dealing with young talent:
- 1. It’s more engaging. With Facebook, employers can follow a “let them come to us” strategy by setting up a business page for recruitment and career purposes. Recruiters noted that the interesting content on pages leads to comments, discussions and more personal interactions. With LinkedIn, the communication is very much one-way in the recruiting world, as employers proactively search for candidates and message them.
- 2. Facebook is where the action is. Recruiters perceive that few students and recent graduates actively update their LinkedIn profiles, whereas they are quite active on Facebook. Therefore, it just makes sense to connect with them where they already hang out online.
- 3. It’s free. Employers like that Facebook enables them to upload advanced recruitment content, such as testimonials, videos, pictures or a job search — and it’s all free of charge. This broad range of tools enables a company to showcase itself as an attractive employer.
- 4. It’s a bigger network. Facebook offers a larger audience, with more than 800 million active users worldwide, compared with LinkedIn’s user base of around 120 million members.
- 5. It’s more open. Facebook is free for all members and requires no premium accounts to use certain features. As a result, it’s a more open network than LinkedIn.
- 6. The Like button. When it comes to career website integration, Facebook takes the cake — Facebook feeds and the Like button are easier to integrate.
- 7. It’s better for branding. Recruiters report they tend toward LinkedIn and other business networks for networking, screening and recruiting. However, when it comes to employer branding activities and talent communication — especially with students, graduates and early career professionals — many prefer Facebook.
Having an active presence on Facebook is certainly a great start for employers looking to attract and communicate with young talent.
Do you think Facebook trumps LinkedIn when it comes to interacting with employers? Tell us in the comments below.