Facebook is a bit of a double-edged sword when it comes to recruiting. On the one side, it’s the largest social media site in the world, meaning that it is teeming with candidates—some active, but most passive—just waiting to be reached out to; on the other side of the coin, having that large of a database at your fingertips with no professional sense of organization that pertains to professionalism can be paralyzing for recruiters, particularly if they’re unfamiliar with Facebook to begin with.

A great way to reach candidates and let Facebook do the sourcing work for you is by throwing ad dollars behind job postings. You set the parameters of who you want to apply and Facebook finds them for you. While this is a strategy I highly recommend using in your overall recruiting process (and I talk about it A LOT), for individual recruiters, it’s not always the best singular strategy.

So, if Facebook isn’t doing the dirty work for you, how can you as a lone wolf recruiter find the right people to start pinging on Facebook about your latest & greatest job opportunity?

Enter: Facebook Search

Most people are probably familiar with Facebook’s search function being useful to jump to a friend’s Facebook page or to find a brand’s company page that you want to follow. But the search function on Facebook is far more advanced than those simple tasks most people use it for.

You can search any keyword through Facebook’s search function and you’ll get a page of results that looks like this:

facebook search page

Let’s break down the different parameters of what we’re seeing here:

  • First, in the middle of the page are the top results. There’s a box called “Pages” with a result under it called “Nurses” and then an option to “See all.” Then there’s a box called “News” with different articles featuring your searched keyword. If you could scroll further, you’d see more segmented boxes with different types of the results.
  • On the left, there’s different filter options that you can narrow your results with—location, date and who posted it.
  • Finally, at the top is the most important piece: the different types of search results you can filter through. Facebook defaults to “Top” results (which is why you’re seeing different categories of results on this first page), but you can select which singular types of results you want to see: Posts, People, Photos, Videos, Pages, Places, Groups, Apps or Events.

Level setting on what the results show you is only part one; now you’ve got to figure out how to find the candidates within the results. Say you were searching for nurses like this sample search is. You may be tempted to go over to “People” and hope to see a list of Facebook users who have listed “nurses” in their job title. You’d be wrong. Unfortunately, Facebook is not yet advanced enough (or, they just don’t want people using their platform in such a way) to search people by employer or job title. Only LinkedIn can save you there. But there’s still lots you can do with the search results, you just need to know where to go!

Your best bet for finding candidates is by going to “Groups” results. If you were to search “nurses” and then narrow it to just “Groups” you’re going to find hundreds upon thousands of results for groups focusing on nursing, which—you guessed it!—are going to contain nurses.

The great part about groups is that you as an individual can go in and start making real connections with the members, sharing opportunities you have and connecting with them via Facebook Messenger. One of the nice things about Facebook is even if you aren’t friends with someone, you can still message them and start that conversation.

Groups are a great way to source candidates on Facebook—easily searchable and it groups all your potential candidates into one area for you. Another way you can search for the right groups is if you’re looking for a location-specific candidate. Rather than searching by talent area, simply search “jobs” and then use the location feature to narrow it down to job posting groups for certain cities.

As handy as Facebook and all its many groups might be in sourcing candidates, a word of caution: many groups have rules and guidelines for people posting in them. These are usually presented at the very top of any group page, and it is highly encouraged that you read through them. Even if it asks for no solicitation, you may want to message the group moderators and let them know you’re a real recruiter just looking to help out the group’s members. As with anything, being authentic will get you further on Facebook.

It’s a wide world of social media out there, but don’t be intimidated by the breadth Facebook presents—rather, learn to wield it and make it work for you.

Kate Weimer

Kate Weimer is a Marketing Lead at Kinetix, specializing in social media recruitment marketing and account management. Using a combination of her background in social media and love for the written word, she’s shoving all buzzwords aside and making HR and recruitment marketing work in today's digital world. Want to hang? Hit her up on Twitter or LinkedIn , or contact her via email.