More Employers Looking to Facebook for Job Candidates

According to social networking giant Facebook, over 750 million active users take advantage of its product - that's a lot of people. It was only a matter of time, then, before the job search process found its way onto the king of social networking. Why would companies want to use Facebook to recruit, and why might employees not want them to?

facebook

Pros

Recruitment company Jobs2Web reports that Facebook connections currently account for less than one percent of all total hires. However, they also suspect that if recent trends continue, the social networking site could end up rivaling traditional job boards as early as 2012. And why shouldn't it? Both employers and the employed stand to gain from making connections through Facebook. For one, it's a free service for everybody - companies looking for new hires often have to pay hundreds of dollars to use job websites like Monster.com. That's why some employers have instead decided to hire social media experts, whose role is to make connections on Facebook by joining user groups and contributing to discussions.

That process also pays off because, unlike with job boards, users are already highly invested in Facebook - their own site notes that people spend over 700 billion minutes per month there. With numbers like that, it's no wonder many companies are looking to set up a presence on the site; users are there anyway, so they might as well take advantage of it. Here Facebook has ground even on other job-focused social networking sites like LinkedIn, primarily because no one really goes on LinkedIn for fun.

Cons

Of course Facebook's major appeal might also be its major drawback when it comes to finding employment - almost everyone's on it. Do you really want the network with which you advertise your weekend exploits and favorite bands to be the same one that lands you employment? For that reason, many users are cagey about putting Facebook to work professionally. LinkedIn's own CEO argues that his company exists because people desire to keep their personal and professional lives separate. That's an understandable impulse, and one that holds true for a fair amount of people - LinkedIn reports having over 120 million users as of August 2011.

A Counterpoint

Some savvy developers, aware of users' objections to mixing the personal and professional, have begun to present interesting solutions to that problem. Job board Monster.com, for instance, has created a Facebook application called BeKnown. On the surface, it's actually fairly similar to LinkedIn in what it offers - a hosted resume, the ability to make professional connections, a badge function for users who accrue certain achievements, etc. Unlike LinkedIn, though, BeKnown overlays right on top of a user's Facebook profile. It imports the data and connections from Facebook that the user wishes it to, but it also keeps specified pieces of information separate. Therefore, with just a few clicks, a Facebook page can transform into a handy professional networking site - no content monitoring required.

The Wall Street Journal reports that other companies are looking to follow in Monster's footsteps, finding ways to make Facebook work for users professionally without invading their personal space. In all likelihood, those that do a good job of it will find an audience; Monster's own app is reported to have 800,000 monthly users. Even in the wake of new social media platforms like Google+, Facebook seems like an ever-growing juggernaut. More of our lives make it to the site every day. Maybe the hiring process is next.

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