In September, I shared tips and tricks on how Facebook Graph Search can be leveraged to identify quality, hard-to-find candidates—even fellow Didgeridoo enthusiasts, if you’re so inclined. But once you’ve identified specific candidates, you need to engage them; you need to be both personal and professional, while ensuring you convey a message aligned with your organization’s brand standards.
With that in mind, let’s explore the essentials, the must-knows, and the best practices for reaching out to candidates via Facebook!
For Most, Facebook is Entertainment
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that Facebook is entertainment for many users, meaning they are primarily logged on to socialize with friends and family, share pictures and occasionally creep friends they’ve lost touch with (don’t pretend you haven’t done this at one time or another). Unlike professional networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook users are likely unaccustomed to receiving messages from recruiters about job opportunities. As a result, they may be resistant, hesitant or even opposed to work-related discussion on Facebook; keep this in mind as you search for and eventually reach out to candidates.
But let’s say you found someone who really piques your interest. The qualifications match, the personality appears to be a fit, and you feel you may have found a diamond in the rough. Your next step: engagement.
Engage through Messaging System; Don’t get Buried
Before you start drafting your inquiry, there are a few things to remember regarding Facebook’s messaging system:
1) Anyone can send a message to another individual, regardless of privacy settings.
2) If you’re not connected with the user, however, your message may be sent to the “Other” inbox (more on this below).
3) You can pay to have messages sent directly to a user’s inbox.
Each Facebook user has two inboxes: their main inbox—the one you see front and center every time you log on to your account—and the “Other” inbox. Most people don’t check this Other inbox very often, as there is no notification for it. When I first learned about the Other inbox, I had more than 50 unread messages. Yes, 50! Most of them were messages from groups I had joined in college, while others were invitations to holiday events; for example, a Hocus Pocus Halloween Party—because what October is complete without a viewing of the best Halloween movie ever made (answer: none)?
But the point here is that messages from non-contacts can be (and often are) lost in the Other inbox, eventually buried in the fray of moderator messages, party invites and event reminders. Recruiters need to make their messages standout above the rest, or risk going entirely unnoticed.
Make Your First Line Count
As you can see in the image below (screenshot from my own Facebook account) there is no subject line for Facebook messages. The only component users have to judge whether or not to read a message is the first visible line of text; you have approximately 70 characters of text that can be seen without a message being opened, and you have to make them count—especially since recruiters (non-“friends”) are likely already at a disadvantage having messages land in the Other inbox.
Decide what you want to convey to a candidate (e.g., let them know you’re a recruiter working for Company X, highlight a job opportunity, etc.). Consider the organization your inquiring on behalf of, and make an executive decision.
Best practice based on experience? Include the candidate’s name in the message. If your message simply begins with, “Hello, I’m Andrew and I’m recruiting for…”, candidates might assume it’s a mass-message, spam or worse: an invitation to non-Hocus Pocus themed Halloween party! Include the candidate’s name in the first 70 characters, and they will be more likely to open your message.
Potentially Pay for Play
Additionally, recruiters can pay to have their messages sent directly to candidates’ inboxes. Think of this as sending a LinkedIn Inmail but without the guarantee you’ll get your money back if you don’t receive a response—LinkedIn often provides refunds if recruiters don’t receive a reply within a certain time period. Paying for play on Facebook sends a notification to the candidate, making them more likely to see your message.
Prices are determined by a user’s connections and influence. If you’re paying to send a message to the average Facebook user, you’ll likely pay $1.00 per message. If you’re looking to send a private message to someone like Ke$ha, however, you’ll likely pay upwards of $10.00-15.00. This tool is still in the relatively early stages of its launch, but it’s effective and can help you reach elusive candidates.
Facebook is the largest social network on the planet, but only 22% of recruiters use it for recruiting (Bullhorn Reach)—highlighting a still untapped competitive advantage opportunity. The meteoric rise in social media over the past several years presents a playground chock full of simple yet effective recruiting innovations, accessibilities and opportunities. Tap into today’s tools, and come along for the ride.