Status Update: Facebook and Recruitment Agencies are Not Friends

I just started a bit of a study this morning, via Twitter and LinkedIn – asking whether anyone can name a recruitment agency that has a great Facebook page, uses the functionality that Facebook provides, and can measure success in:

1. Raised Profile

2. Good Follower Numbers

3. Increased Community Development through interactivity

4. Tangible results, i.e. Placements made



I’m couple of hours in, as I write this – there been little evidence of genuine success.You see, I’m a sceptic – but I am trying to remain impartial, honestly I am.

To me, it all stems from basic business principles when deciding where you promote your business.

Firstly, is your customer there? Well, Facebook is the 3rd largest `country` in the world, so they say, so they say – so in effect, yes – my customer is there.

But then secondly, what is the behaviour of your customer in that environment? This is where the issue of Facebook versus the Recruitment Agency raises it’s head. Facebook is a predominantly private social tool. You choose who you want to be friends with, and who you don’t. You choose what you follow, or you don’t, and pertinently – you contol the basic privacy of your content. Therefore the behavious style of the Facebook dweller is one of close communication in close circles.


My point is, that Facebook and business do not automatically mix for the average Facebook user. If you have a fab consumer brand, and a Facebook Page, then you will get followers, and if you entertain & interact with them, they will engage, and if they engage, they will read more content, and so if you post a job, they are more likely to apply. Good strategy. No issues. Facebook can therefore be a good option for a corporate company – but in no way even then is it the ultimate recruitment answer – because you have only reached a portion of your potential talent pool – and only a passive one, at that.

A Recruitment Agency rarely has the same profile. You need to be one incredible agency, that takes time and resources to community build in this manner – and if you have the manpower – then who knows? Global agencies I have seen examples of, are trying hard, but it all seems a little untargeted and lacking community feel.

As a guy who uses Twitter effectively to grow a community of people in my industry, and have gained evident results from it – I am intrigued as to how Facebook could also do this. Early signs are not positive, but I welcome examples that show otherwise.

In an amongst this curious landscape, there is a ray of hope – Frankly Recruitment, a small independent generalist agency in Swindon; and a member of the Cloud Nine Recruitment Group; are having real success on their scale with Facebook. No major use of FB development tools there yet, but they are getting the community philosophy right. Could they be the real trendsetters in the `how to` of recruitment agency Facebook pages?

I welcome comments, examples and ideas. I am all ears. I will aim to feedback results over the next week or so.


5 thoughts on “Status Update: Facebook and Recruitment Agencies are Not Friends

  1. Really late but I would like to chip in my comments Steve.

    I am responsible for Social Media for a group of recruitment companies. I work with three divisions and I have found Facebook to be difficult to say the least for Recruitment Social Media.

    There are many reasons for this but just consider how private Job Seeking is. Sure, you can adjust privacy settings on Facebook really well but we all know the way information spreads on Facebook is a bit unforeseeable. So a software developer would think twice before Liking a Recruitment agency as her closest friends may see that in the news feed ( workmates can easily be seen by the facebook algoritm by the closest as interactions are bound to be great ). Same applies to sharing, liking even if it applies to unrelated industry commentary. Example if I see my facebook friend and Head of Department John Smith liking a post about HTML5 from a recruiter I would think, “hum fan of an IT recruitment company, uhum”.

    What works best for us is choosing platforms that allows private conversation to take place. You can get very social with blogging and email marketing and this is exactly what I do.

    Something else to bear in mind with recruitment is bad reputation. I find some social media recruiters to be pretty cool and trustworthy but rates plummet in other industries. Recruiters have horrible reputations, so we sometimes have to use “proxys” to shake that reputation off and leave it aside. This is how Agile Evangelists was born ( case study here ) and it is giving us great results with leads and placements, alongside a lot of beneficial side effects.

    In a nutshell, Social Media can benefit any company, but there are cases where the formula “take your company and engage on Facebook because there are 500m people there” doesn’t work at all.

  2. Cheers for the comments Xavi – and really good to hear the same from someone who has to advise and act on this stuff. It partly confirms my suspicions. These platforms just aren’t for every business – and I agree that Job-seeking is more often than not – not for social consumption. Facebook is too public, and predominantly too frivolous by nature.
    `Liking` Branded sites like Nike, Adidas, etc is socially acceptable and job postings on those sites will come as a by-product. `Liking` recruitment agencies happens mainly for one reason.

  3. Hi Xavi and Steve. Great subject in discussion here. I work for a recruitment agency here in Portugal and I’m planning on starting to use Facebook to create a community of people who are willing to be connected to a recruitment agency and to interact with one another… I’m really in the process of finding out how to do it and what’s the best way to get the results I want so all the help you can give is more than welcome!
    The point is, Facebook, if used correctly has a huge potential, like you said it is the third country in the world!

  4. Hi Paulo,

    I have been a bit pessimistic abut facebook but it certainly is a massive audience to tap into. It can be combined with Facebook advertisement for better results. To be fair, it boils down to how much value you add to your stakeholders. I would join CloudNine Recruitment facebook page if there was one because Steve shares great stuff and is fun to follow. Now, if he only used his facebook page as a job board, I´d rather go to his site to see the roles as I feel it is quite a private, serious and focused thing to be doing.

    My advice is to not feel anxious about the 500 million of users in it. Compare strategically with Linkedin, twitter, Yahoo groups and other media, if you still want to go onto facebook, make it interactive, meaningful and worthwhile. Easier said than done….

    Good luck

  5. Thanks for the comment Paolo – I think it has to be a personal decision, but I just have seen so few examples of success. Well, one. People appear not to want to publicly display their friendship with a recruitment agency – it’s all a bit too private. As Xavi says, we can get blinded by the numbers of FB. I read yesterday that people are 5x more likely to update their Twitter status than their FB status. That gives you an idea about how interactive and response, the twitter community is.

    Either way, it’s a hot topic for many industries – but the majority appears would prefer to be ON FB, if nothing else, for searchability and profile. I still think the jury is out.

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