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Introducing Graph Search – Facebook Opens the gates for Candidate Sourcing

June 23, 2013 3 comments

Let me start this blog with a caution:

“You are about to enter new, exciting yet dangerous waters of Facebook Graph Search. Use your own diligence, common sense and required control while using this tool. Welcome aboard!”

Lot of us may consider Facebook as a personal space which should not be invaded with sourcing. In fact, till recently – it was extremely difficult to perform people searches on Facebook due to its structure unlike LinkedIn. In my opinion, Social is an open platform and it is up-to our skillful thinking on how we should use this platform for various reasons – including recruiting! So when Facebook announced “Graph Search” feature few months back with an ability to search people with specific queries – a sourcer in me got excited. When Mark Zuckerburg introduced Graph search he did mention that “One of my favorite queries is recruiting”. Well, to me this clearly shows Facebook is aware of the potential of this product for recruiting.

What is Facebook Graph Search?

In simple words, Facebook Graph search is your search engine to Facebook. Until today there was no exact way to unearth a great deal of human capital information on Facebook which has over 800 million people with over 50% logs in everyday. Please note that large part of Facebook can not be indexed by Google too. It is primarily designed to search people and friends with common interest, photos, likes / dislikes etc.

How can we use Graph Search for recruiting?

I am sure your first reaction would be that Facebook is not for professional networking and not sure how much useful information you can find for search like company, designation, skill etc (with an obvious hangover from LinkedIn). In recent times, you may have seen lot of people updating their profile info which includes above information and it is clear that Facebook wants them to have a complete profile. I agree that not everyone will have their professional information on Facebook and certainly not writing resumes on their profile.

That’s the catch! Please do not compare apples to oranges. Facebook is not LinkedIn and it can not be used in a same way. I am not making tall claims that this is going to be a game-changer in Social Recruiting and will fiercely compete with LinkedIn. Just think this as a one more tool in your sourcing arsenal and find its rightful place in your sourcing jigsaw. You need to think what information a person may have in his/her profile and what can be used for finding leads. Oh! And have I told you that you can search entire Facebook with this tool for FREE unlike LinkedIn. Have I got your attention now? 🙂

How do I access Graph Search?

Graph Search is in beta as of now and has not been rolled out to 100% of users. They have rolled it to US and most parts of Europe. India is still yet to receive this tool officially to their users. With the launch, Facebook also launched “Waiting list” for people to subscribe. Click here to know more.

Cheat code: You can try changing your language in settings to English (US) to get preferential treatment.

Let’s get started

Before we start searching on Facebook, let’s try and find out some triggers which we can use. We should be able to use fields like company name, designation, education, year of passing, likes / dislikes, groups etc for finding people. Facebook let you use loads of other fields for searching; however not all of them may be useful for sourcing.

Queries in Graph Search – Easy and Simple

Facebook has kept its search queries extremely easy and simple to use for mango man and you do not need to be a Boolean sourcing expert. Queries are designed to be real-life statements which we use in our daily routine. This makes graph search a super-easy tool for any recruiter.

E.g. People who like Informatica and live in India. TISS students graduated in 2011.

Let’s start with some examples…

Company Search with Location

I want to find everyone working at Wipro in Pune.

wipro pune

You can see over 1000 results showing over with preference to people within my network (first / second level) and then expanding to others. How about searching everyone on Facebook from your competitors?

Company and Designation Search

I want to find all java developers from Wipro.

companydesignation

You can see exact 100% matches with all people who have mentioned their designation as “Java Developer” in wipro. However, designation search is not 100% flexible and best way to search. Facebook only takes some pre-determined and popular titles for searches which needs to be 100% match to the profile. It do not take varients OR keywords as searches. Again, please do not compare with job portals / LinkedIn.  Remember, this information was not searchable before and many of these guys may not be available on portals / LinkedIn. #ThinkWide

Eg. You can not put just Java as title. It has to be Java Developer OR Java Programmer.

Searching for Skills

You can not directly search for Skills in Facebook as you do not have a complete profile. Facebook has a “Likes” section which can reveal some descent information about your profile. Let’s search for people working with IBM who likes business intelligence.

LikeSearch

If you closely look at results, most of these people have not mentioned about their specific designation in Facebook. However, fact that they like “Business Intelligence” gives us some “intelligence” about their skills.

Searching people within Groups

Graph search provides a functionality to search for people within mentioned groups; even if you are not part of those groups. (Wink! Wink!!)

Searching for people who are part of “Mainframe” group and work with TCS

grpsearch

Over 1000 results! Most of these techies will be mainframe developers. You can always cross-verify their information on Google and other networking portals.

Searching people attended specific college

Lot of times you need to search people within specific top business schools OR technology schools who have passed out from specific batch. Graph search do it easily for you.

IIT

In fact, you can mention a range of pass-out years for more exact result. Cool, isn’t it?

Searching people with specific education criteria

Let’s say I need to find B.Sc recent graduates / freshers who have passed out after 2011.

educationsearch

Searching people who have checked-in at specific locations

Wow! With increasing usage of Foursquare and Facebook Check-Ins, this is a new data point to search. Here’s a people search that checked-in at Infosys and like Java. Probability is that most of them have either worked OR currently working in Infosys without mentioning it on their profile.

checkins

Search filter

You may have already noticed a Search Filter which is embedded with a list view of search results. This search filter lets you refine / add / edit your searches with multiple fields including basic information, work information, education, likes, interests, photos, living information and tons of other fields.

filterview

Unexplored Search Possibilities but Handle With Care

The search functionality is still new and in beta version. Facebook has stated that “Graph Search” is one of their key pillars in Facebook and they will improve this as ongoing basis. This is just a start! I have only listed some basic search queries and I strongly believe we can come up with many other unique queries which can help us to find unique results.

Considering Facebook has 4X data compared to LinkedIn, facility to search and message everyone for “Free” – it can open a great opportunity to source some decent leads for your sourcing. However, considering this is not a professional platform one needs to use this platform with care for contacting prospective candidates. You may want to cross-reference this data to other channels while contacting to negate any side-effects. Most of these candidates will not be an active job seeker so put your “Passive Searching” hat on while engaging these candidates.

Being a new search function, it will take some time to understand more pros and cons on Graph-Search for sourcing. I am sure we have lot of learning involved in this feature considering you may look as someone who is breaking into a “Personal” space of candidate. Saying that – I think as a recruiter you need to make appropriate usage of this platform as a “leads generator” and not as your CV searching engine!

I’ll be keen to hear your views and stories about Graph Search. Have a go and try it out.

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Facebook releasing a Job Portal App – What and Why?

November 19, 2012 2 comments

It all started way back in July for me, when I heard of a news about Facebook venturing into Job Portal business. As a recruiter, my first reaction was – WOW! I have always been struggling to use Facebook as a direct medium of talent search / job posting due to very nature of this platform and unstructured though huge data. I have been trying to effectively use third party apps like BranchOut, BeKnown but with no tangible results. This may be due to the regional constraint and I’m happy to hear from any other recruiters who have successfully hired from these apps. Put things short – I was anxious and excited to see if this would a right step in the door for Facebook.

On 14th November morning (IST) the news broke out about Facebook confirming the release of the job portal functionality. The news also mentioned that it will be an extension to their Social Jobs Partnership program with US Labor ministry and possibly be a job aggregator than an actual job portal. A very idea about reaching out to a billion people through a social platform with most number of active users was enough for me to still ride on “excitement” wave.

The next morning I could actually see the first glimpse of so called Facebook “Job Portal. It was like having a half baked breakfast with no taste, no appeal and got me worried about my diet :). Here’s what it looks like: –

Functionality / Structure

  • Facebook has released a “Social Jobs App” which is embedded into their “Social Jobs Partnership” Facebook page – with no immediate notification and access to users. People will have to find these apps deeply buried in the system to use it.
  • This is not a direct job portal but a job aggregator like Indeed.com. It sources jobs from JobVite, Work4Labs, BranchOut, Monster and US.Jobs.
  • JobVite, Work4Labs and BranchOut are Facebook apps which uses Facebook as a platform to publish jobs, search jobs and refer jobs in individual capacities.
  • You can search via keywords, location proximity and category / sub-category.
  • Once you search with fields, it sources jobs from each of the portal and aggregates them as a list. You need to go to individual apps / portals to apply for those jobs.

I do not wish to be overly critical about this app here as this is a first step of Facebook into unknown territory for them. People label Facebook as strictly personal and LinkedIn as strictly professional. In fact, I started a “poll” earlier this year to understand people’s sentiments about Facebook starting a new job portal. With sample size of over 300 responses, 61% of people said they are not comfortable with using Facebook for jobs / careers. Though recruiters will be excited about this move; this is a big mindset change which Facebook will have to manage for their users. This may also explain their move to go as “Job Aggregator” than a job portal.

OK, saying this – I have a big apprehension about the beta version which they have opened up. Going job portal way officially surely should be a big decision for Facebook eco-system and I am thoroughly surprised they are very ill-prepared in this release.

Here are my questions which I hope to get answers in coming days with their subsequent releases to this app.

  • Why would Facebook release an “In-House App” without proper testing? The search functionality is not accurate and you end up getting results with rubbish job matches.
  • Why there is a difference searching from this app VS searching internally in the vendor apps? I searched java, spring in the monster tab with 30 odd results while searching the same on Monster gave me over 50 results.
  • Why would they restrict this functionality only for US jobs only? I understand about this being part of “Social Jobs Partnership” page but Facebook being “global” would not this be bit unfair to other countries?
  • Why have they tied this app to specific initiative like “Social Jobs Partnership” only? This could have been very well a global initiative with much wider users.
  • Why Facebook has not made an official announcement of this platform on Facebook itself?
  • There is simply no information available on public domain about who / what / how’s of this app. This announcement on the FB page has received over 111 comments and lots of them are asking relevant questions. Why Facebook is not answering OR clearing their stand over here? This is supposed to be Facebook’s official initiative.
  • Facebook also have not published this link anywhere in their promotions. Does that mean they wanted this to be released under closed boundaries only?

In my opinion, Facebook has to decide on their next steps as part of bigger strategy and take it to the next level. Their move has been heavily criticized in the market as it lacks a thoughtful approach, tried and tested preparations, long term insights and user experience. They need to position themselves as a platform where people are comfortable searching jobs and it should be secure enough to protect their activities from being public. I do not expect them to go LinkedIn way as it is a different platform altogether but they need to have a well-thought out plan to venture in this market.

It is a huge opportunity for Facebook which they can not afford to miss; however, their start has certainly not made things easy for them to chop out next steps. This App is just a “start” and Facebook needs to roll up their sleeves to compete in “All-Star” league. Make no mistake – the moment they make their bases loaded, it’s just a matter of time to hit a “Home Run”.

Categories: Social Media Tags: ,

You have just been “Bought” online!!!!

December 29, 2009 1 comment

Well guys (gals too) – how does that sound? Weird? Unreasonable, so on…. Search Engines like Google and Yahoo has just figured out that it is possible too. And why  not? It is web 2.0 and everything is so easy.

I recently put my name on google.com “sarang brahme” and was surprised to see my name in their sponsored listing section. For people who do not know what is sponsored listing in Google (popularly called ADWORDS in SEO language) – these are the paid listings which have been purchased by the advertising site against specific keywords. These keywords then go through bidding process to decide the rank they apprear.

Just to simplify – my company sell baloons. Hence, I bought the “baloon” keyword for x amount. Their is my competitor who has done the same. Now, when someone puts baloon in search – my special listing will appear in right hand side of search results page. It has special place, listings and visibility; hence more chances of getting clicks and me selling more baloons. Depending on who paid more for that keyword – rankings will decide. If I paid more than my competitor, my listing will be the first one and then my competitor. I end up paying that amount for every click that user makes to Google. This makes sure that my product gets more visibility and exclusivity while Google adds up few dollars in his kitty.

Normally, very generic or product related keywords are on the bidding list as they get more hits. BTW – there is keyword suggestion tools available online like

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal.

This shows the list of most searched keywords and variations which helps advertiser to bid. Now, why the heck I am telling all these things in Sourcing blog? How does sourcing and SEO goes hand in hand? Here you go….

Imagine you are searching for a guy called Sarang Brahme on internet. Facebook / Myspace has purchased his name and put in the sponsored listings. One of the primary reasons these social networking websites has listed the name against their website is either you are a celebrity OR you have a good internet presence and you are well-searched guy. This means, this name drives more traffic to Facebook – which gets more unique visitors which inturn might give them additional subscriptions. For that person – it means without any efforts or spending any money, he is getting more visibility. For users (in this case sourcers/recruiters) – easy way of finding that person. Hence, it’s WIN-WIN situation!!!!

Social Networking meets Search Engine meets Sourcing!!!!

I am not claiming that this is a path-breaking change or something like that. But how do you feel if someone has put a price-tag on your name on internet to advertise your own profile? It made me thinking for sure though. As a sourcer – I felt great to have ease in sourcing; some may argue about the privacy/confidentiality or even copyright issue. I don’t know – what you guys feel??

One thing for sure – Social Networking and Search Engines are changing a way we see sourcing…. Evolution take off about to happen…..

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