Posts Tagged ‘Graph Search’

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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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