Is Facebook® Worth Pursuing for Employers’ Recruiting Efforts?

As an advocate for employers and with the orientation toward empowering their recruiting efforts, which includes maximizing the Internet, growing their skills, and limiting their requirement to outsource, a number of hospital clients have asked me over the years if they should use Facebook in their attempt to “improve recruiting.”  After delving into this issue and spending a great deal of time on the social networking site in 2010, I have concluded the answer to be no – at least not for now.
Currently, given the reasons why people access hospital web content, the far better strategy for hospitals is to improve upon their own websites (which prospective employees are certainly going to access), and focus more on better ways to reach and compete for jobseekers online while enhancing their own selling skills and recruiting and protocols.
Given my decade-long relationships with hospital recruiting, marketing and HR personnel, those hospitals with a Facebook page likely did so due to their initial perception of it being “free.”  Now they have learned it is really not free but requires someone’s time to administer it which pulls them away from other tasks they are paid to do.  Hospital fan pages have few followers, their employees are reluctant to post anything on them and at the end of the day it’s a hospital – the vast majority of people visit websites of hospitals either to a) seek out specific services for themselves or family members, or b) to find a job.
There may be some merit for Marketing purposes:  From a “branding” perspective, that is, hospitals in competitive markets who are trying to compete for business, perhaps there is some merit to having a Facebook page – but that is not my niche and I am not sure what statistics are out there that may or may not show demonstrable results from having one. 
Facebook hasn’t changed much – its origins and orientation don’t “fit:” Ultimately we have to remember what Facebook was designed for and that its layout and design haven’t really changed much – it’s still a social networking site that “connects” people and offers them alternate ways to communicate and meet others (although the company’s policies promote networking only among people whom one personally already knows).
That Facebook has hundreds of millions of users has promoted a “boom” of attempts to profit from using it.  One’s ability to “generate” thousands of “friends” gives account holders a free “bulletin board” or platform from which to market a product or service, or themselves – there seems to be an ever-growing number of “life coaches” and online degrees.
Again, although it is not my specialty, it appears that a more simple “sale” of a product, like the introduction of a new shoe by NIKE, or a new record by a recording artist – I even learned that one can buy an airline ticket on DELTA’s fan page, has merit.  But for a complicated, multi-faceted career position which for jobseekers have many issues and needs, such  a linear approach would not address the many outstanding questions of those engaged in a career search – especially one that requires a physician relocation of an individual (and their family, if they have one).
Ultimately a hospital Facebook page is a site which is awkward and at best and used by hospitals to post their events (which seems redundant if they do it on their websites’ “community calendars”).  Stand-alone or regional hospitals are more likely than corporations to have Facebook pages because large companies which usually have a top-down management of their affiliates requires a financial justification to assign someone to do it or pull someone from a traditional job responsibility.

  • Our work generally deals with higher end jobseekers such as physicians, who are the “revenue drivers” to hospitals; I find it hard to imagine that busy medical practitioners would use Facebook this way but go directly to specific employers with whom they are familiar are interested and access their websites directly. 
  • For organizations who are actually building their business around Facebook – there may be more merit in using Facebook to “recruit” and post open jobs, but even here, it seems that the company should forward them to proprietary web content that is specific to their needs.

Internet Searches on this Subject show Employers Use Facebook to Screen jobseekers
:  Like doing a “social background check,” emerging on the Internet are articles which suggest or state how employers view individuals’ Facebook pages as a form of “screening” them – which I find fascinating for many reasons, but again it is not my immediate niche.
Recruiting Services and Recruiters are on Facebook:  After a decade of seeing how the recruiting industry has stayed ahead of their hospital clients by better understanding SEO strategies as well as sales and marketing to harvest candidates, the same entities are using Facebook, at least for now, to bullhorn their openings to others, no different than an “email blast.”  Facebook seems like a place for them to attempt to attract the general jobseeker on Facebook and ultimately channel them to their own websites in order to “process” them – a good example of this is Career Builder!/CBforEmployers?v=wall Ultimately, it’s free advertising and a “portal” to where Career Builder wants jobseekers to go: to their website a la “bait and switch.”  Given how people “network” their ways into career positions and opportunities, I can see how recruiting companies may benefit; but again, I think Facebook is a “square peg” for hospitals given the many other ways they can improve their recruiting.
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