How to Source Passive Candidates on Facebook

With over 2.1 billion active users, Facebook is by far the largest marketplace for candidate sourcing. Yet, only 1 out of 5 recruiters and hiring managers use it to promote the jobs because of the lack of marketing skills. To help you get started with Facebook recruiting, here's a guide on how to use Facebook posts and paid ads to get more passive, quality candidates to apply for your jobs.

Why recruit on Facebook?

First of all, you may think: “Why use Facebook for recruiting? Isn’t it better to use job boards and Linkedin?”

These are very valid questions. However, just because Facebook is mainly meant for photos, life updates, and news-sharing with friends, it doesn’t mean Facebook can’t be used for anything else, like recruiting.

When companies publish a new job opening, they usually promote it on job boards. This makes sense because that’s where all the active job seekers are hanging out. However, by relying solely on job boards, you’re missing out on “passive” talent - people who aren’t actively searching for a job but might be open to the right opportunities.

That's where Facebook recruiting comes in. It has many benefits over job boards: 

Wide candidate reach

Using Facebook for recruiting is a very effective way to reach those passive candidates. As of 2018:

  • 79% of job seekers use social media in their job search
  • Facebook has 2.19 billion monthly active users and 1.3 billion active daily users.
  • Facebook users are more active than any other social media users. 350 million photos are uploaded every day, with 14.58 million photo uploads per hour, 243,000 photo uploads per minute, and 4,000 photo uploads per second.
  • Every 20 minutes, 1 million links are shared, 20 million friend requests are sent, and 3 million messages are sent.
  • 55 million status updates are made every day.

All these numbers are just too big to ignore.

As a comparison, Linkedin has 250 million monthly active users. Indeed, one of the biggest job boards in the world, gets around 360 million monthly visits, Monster gets around 23 million monthly visits, and CareerBuilder around 15.2 million hits per month

Although these numbers are very impressive, they’re still far away from reaching Facebook’s insanely high active monthly user count.


Low candidate sourcing costs

Another reason to consider Facebook for recruiting is the low costs. 

On average, it costs anywhere from $25 - $500 to post a job on job boards (usually the more niche job boards, the higher the prices). Here’s the pricing overview of the biggest job boards on the market today:

  • Craigslist – In most major metropolitan areas, the fees range from $25 to $75
  • Monster – Fees for a single 30-day listing are $375
  • CareerBuilder – A single posting costs $419
  • SimplyHired – A basic job posting starts at $99 for 30 days

As a comparison, posting a job update on your business’ Facebook page is completely free. If your business has a strong employer brand and high Facebook following, simply posting a link to your job ad means you’re reaching all your followers completely free!

Sure, most of them aren’t active job seekers and aren’t probably going to apply for your open position. But if your post is appealing, they might share it with their friends, who might share it with theirs, who might share it with their friends…. And that’s where the beauty of a post re-sharing comes in. 

If your company’s Facebook page doesn’t have a huge follower-base, or you don’t want to share your job postings on your business’ page, you can use Facebook Ads to specifically target the people who might be interested in the job. With the right message and the right targeting, you can reach a lot of people at low costs.

For example, the average cost-per-click for Facebook ads for all countries is $0.97 - meaning it costs you around $1 to get 1 person to visit your job ad. That’s pretty good considering that these people are highly targeted leads.


High employee referral rates

By branding your company and posting your job openings on your Facebook Business page, you’re making it extremely easy for team members to share these posts. Building a strong company culture and employer brands increases the likelihood of your employees wanting to re-share your company’s posts.

Also, every time you tag a team member in a post or a photo, all of this person’s friends will also see your post. So, even if your employees won’t share your company posts with their friends, just tagging them in a post already means your job post is reaching a wider audience.


Fast sourcing

The problem with posting your job ad only on job boards is that you’re passively waiting for candidates to apply. In best cases, you should have enough candidates to choose from within 1-2 weeks. In worst cases, getting strong, qualified candidates to see your job ad on job boards might take months.

With Facebook recruiting, you’re in charge. The more actively you post the jobs and run the ads, the faster you’ll reach your ideal candidates.


How to recruit on Facebook?

Step 1. Create a Facebook Business page

Before you even can start with Facebook recruiting, you’ll need to have an active Facebook Business page for your company.

If your company is very big and hires very often, it might be wise to set up a separate page for all career related posts. For most cases, though, running all HR and marketing posts under the same Business page is good enough. 

You can set up a page by choosing Pages > Create Page > Business or Brand. Just fill in all the fields about your company and you’re good to go!


Step 2. Share your company culture

To build trust around your Business page, a good method is to share a little bit about your company culture - like photos or videos of the office or team events, funny quotes or wise words from the team members etc. 

You can post these updates on your Business Page Timeline, or even better - under the same folder. This way, if a potential job candidate lands on your Facebook Business page, they can quickly find all relevant information about the company culture.

For example, inbound marketing & sales software HubSpot actively shares photos of their team events, workdays in the office etc. This gives a good behind-the-scenes view into their company culture. 

Source: HubSpot



Step 3. Create an appealing job post on Facebook

Once you’ve set up a Facebook Business page and shared a little bit about your company, the next question is: how to make a job post on Fthat will get people's attention? 

That’s where good copywriting, visuals, and call-to-actions come in.

Copywriting

It’s good to keep the text of your posts short and mention some benefit that comes with the job. It can be either the salary range, some employee perks like free gym card or the possibility to travel, or whatever it is that makes your company and your team stand out from the competitors. 

Even though these things aren’t closely related to the job role, they’ll help you grab people’s attention. Remember - your goal is to make your post viral.

For example, project planning software Teamweek uses their free branded T-shirts to get passive candidates’ attention on Facebook. They use Hundred5 skills challenges for screening and identifying the best candidates, and they give away free T-shirts to everyone who scores high on the skills tests. This way they get passive candidates to apply for their jobs and promote their brands through cool T-shirts.  

Source: Teamweek

Visuals

If you don’t have free merchandise products to give away, or you don’t want to reveal the salary range, you can also use either photos of your team, some great stock photos, or simply a big title with the role name on a colorful background - whichever visual helps grab attention.

You can find great stock photos for free from Unsplash or Pexels. For simple visual layouts and ad creation, you can use a free tool Canva.


Call-to-action 

Another thing to think about is the call-to-action of your post aka which action do you want the job candidates to take. Is it 'Apply now', 'Learn more', 'Share with friends who are interested', or something else? Avoid being passive. 

Here are some more great job post examples:

Source: Disney Careers

Source: Boeing Careers

If you want to promote several job posts at once, you can use the carousel post to highlight several images and links.

Source: Scoro

PS! Instead of sharing your Facebook job post with all your page followers, you can also set up specific demographics criteria for your public post.

First, click on the world map icon and choose "Demographics"

Next, set up your criteria for people who can see your post in their News Feed.
And you're done! Your post is now shared with people that match these criteria. 


Step 4. Boost your Facebook posts

In addition to choosing who can see your public Facebook posts, you can also boost your posts to reach an even wider audience.

Boost is a very simple solution for adding a little extra push to your posts. I personally don’t use it because it doesn’t allow me to specifically choose my target audience, but if all you want is a little bit of an engagement boost, this big blue “Boost post” button under your posts will work just fine.  



Step 5. Share your job post on Facebook groups

Another great option to reach passive candidates is to post your job ad on Facebook Groups.

There is a group for pretty much everything on Facebook. The only task is to find the right ones. You can find these by simply searching for your target keyword and filtering the answers by “Groups”. 

For example, my simple search for “development jobs” groups gave me over 20 results.


However, before posting your job opening on the Groups, carefully read the group rules to make sure your post is relevant for the group. And post only once or twice - no one likes spammers :)



Step 6. Create a paid ad campaign for job posting

Sharing your post with your own followers has its limits. To get your job posting in front of hundreds (or even thousands) of highly targeted candidates, you’ll need to promote your posts via Facebook paid ads. 

The ad campaign setup consists of 3 steps: Campaign details, Ad Set details, and Ad details.

Campaign details

First, you need to choose the objective of your campaign. This tells Facebook algorithms which goal you want to aim for. For job postings, it is wise to choose either Reach or Traffic.

  • Reach means that your goal is to reach as many people as possible.
  • Traffic means that your goal is to get as many people to visit your job link as possible.

You can read about each objective more thoroughly by hovering on them.


I chose ‘Traffic’ as the goal because I want more people to visit my job post link outside of Facebook.


Ad Set details

Next, you’ll need to set up targeting for your ads, aka your Ad Set.

For this to work out, start by thinking of the types of people who would be interested in your job opening. Where do they live? How old they are? What types of pages would they like on Facebook? What are their current job titles? Etc.

For example, my job location is in the Netherlands but the role is in English, so I only target English-speaking people living in the Netherlands. I choose age 23-45. I also know that in order to be qualified for my role, the candidate needs to know Javascript and Java, so I mark these as the required interests.

If I want to reach a bit wider audience, I can also add some more general interests that are relevant to my job opening, such as “software engineering”, “software development” etc.

A good tip here is to try to keep the potential reach not too specific and not too broad. Having too specific audience makes the ads expensive because it is difficult to find these people, whereas having too broad means your ads probably aren’t relevant, hence no one will click.


Next, set up the budget, schedule, and placements for your ads. It is smart to start with a smaller budget ($50-100) to see how well your ads are performing. You can always add extra budget as you go.


Ad details

After you’ve set up your Campaign details and Ad Set details, you’ll need to set up the Ad. If you’ve already posted the job on your Facebook Business page, you can simply reuse the existing post.

The second option is to set up a completely new ad. Simply follow the guidance on Facebook. And remember - use short and sharp copy and great visuals.


Ad campaign monitoring

After you’ve published the job ad, wait for about 12-24 hours to see how well your ads are performing. Aim for:

  • Low Cost per Result 
  • High Relevance Score
  • High numbers of link clicks & Landing Page Views

If you’re not happy with the results, simply change either the targeting, message or visuals, and try again.


Step 7: Manual candidate sourcing on Facebook

The last option is the good old manual sourcing. Compared to running ads or sharing your job posts on Facebook groups, manual sourcing is definitely a lot more time-consuming, but it’s completely free and might give you incredible results.

The beauty here is that you can set up pretty precise queries for your search. For example, you can search for things like:

  • People who work at [Competitor] and like [Job function]
  • People who like [programming language] and live near [Location]
  • [Job title] who live near [Location]
  • [Job title] At [Company] In [Location]
  • Female [Job title] who live near [Location]
  • [Job title] who live near [Location] and speak [Language]
  • Etc.

However, keep in mind that Facebook isn’t Linkedin and lots of people don’t list their job titles on their personal Facebook accounts. So, often times you have to be a bit more creative than with Linkedin search. 

Let’s take my ‘Sales Manager in London’ search query as an example. To get better search results, instead of focusing on the job title, I could think of pages and groups that Sales Managers are likely to be interested in, and then search for something like People who like [page name] and live in London’.


Common Facebook Recruiting Mistakes

When you’re just starting out with Facebook Recruiting, chances are you’ll make some rookie mistakes. Here are the 4 most common mistakes you can avoid:


1. Wasting time on manual sourcing

Like I mentioned before, manual sourcing can give amazing results but only if you’re being creative with your search query and you put a lot of time into it. If you don’t have much time, my humble recommendation is - don’t bother with manual sourcing. You’re better off with running your job posts as paid ads.


2. Not expanding your Facebook post reach

To really get the most out of your posts, it is wise to expand your reach. After all, reaching more people and sourcing more candidates is the whole point of posting about a job opening on Facebook in the first place, right? With a low budget of only $15, you can already set up an advert for your post and reach more people. Do it - but do it wisely (see #3).


3. Targeting the wrong audience with your ads

When you’re just starting out with Facebook ads, it all might feel a bit overwhelming.

You might have many questions like “What should my campaign goal be?”, “How should I name my Ad Sets?”, “Which visuals should I use to attract the most candidates?” etc. All these questions are important, but don’t worry - you’ll figure it out over time (or you can simply use the same setup as I’ve mentioned in this post).

However, the most important thing to get right is your target audience. Use a combination of interests and job titles to attract the people you want. And if after 1-2 days you don’t see the results that you had hoped for, pause your ads, make a few changes to your target audience, and keep trying. 


4. Not encouraging re-sharing posts

Another unused potential lies in creating re-sharable posts. When you post something like “We’re hiring an Office Manager! Join us now!” it only resonates with people who are interested in that opportunity. 

Wording the same post as “Hey, Office Manager - we’re looking for you! Join us if you like organizing events and keep everything in the office under control. And if that's not your thing, please tag a friend who might be interested”. Adding this one sentence can make a huge difference. Now you’re also speaking to people who aren’t interested in your offer but might have a friend who is.


Using Hundred5 and Facebook Sourcing

If you're already using Hundred5 skills-based hiring tool for attracting candidates and screening their skills, sourcing candidates on Facebook is just a few clicks away from you. 

After you've set up your short skills challenge to attract and evaluate candidates, simply head over to 'Share' page where you can share your job opening on your social media channels with just a single click.

If you need any help setting up a Facebook ad campaign, click “Hire us” on the Share page, and we’ll help you source more quality candidates via Facebook Ads.

And if you’re not yet using Hundred5, give it a try - it’s free to get started! You’ll get full access to a growing pool of pre-built skills tests made by industry experts, you can set up your own tests, and the best part - sourcing candidates and filtering out the best ones will not be a headache anymore :)


Tl, dr:

Don’t underestimate Facebook when it comes to recruiting and sourcing candidates. Compared to Linkedin and job boards, sourcing candidates on Facebook is often cheaper and faster, and can help you reach more (passive) high-quality candidates.

There are many different ways to source candidates on Facebook. You can:

  • Manually source candidates with creative search queries
  • Create an appealing Facebook job post and share it with your followers
  • Boost your job posts to reach a wider audience
  • Share your job posts on Facebook groups and communities
  • Turn your job posts into an advertising campaign to specifically target the right kind of people (the most efficient tactic)

Whichever method you choose, this article has a step-by-step guide to all these tactics. 

Read also our Twitter Recruiting Guide: How to Recruit Passive Candidates on Twitter

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