Is Facebook’s Graph Search the Future of Social Recruiting?

When Facebook announced the launch of Graph Search last week, there was a lot of commentary on how it signaled the social network’s move into Google’s traditional search territory.

It was called payback for the search engine’s (third) foray into social networking, with the 2011 launch of Google+. But it’s more than that. With Graph Search, Mark Zuckerberg and company have created a lot of buzz in the staffing and HR industry.

Are they taking on LinkedIn? Zuckerberg himself noted during the press conference that the tool holds promise for recruiters.

Designed around organizing your connections

While it is far too early to be speculating that Graph Search will be groundbreaking for recruitment, it does mark a notable shift in Facebook’s tool kit. It’s a formal acknowledgement of Facebook’s data problem: people have hundreds and hundreds of “friends,” but the current newsfeed is an inadequate tool to manage those relationships.

It’s the exact same problem that many recruiters have when managing databases of candidates.

Graph Search is the first feature Facebook has designed around organizing your connections. So let’s call it what it is: a direct move to defend against networks like LinkedIn.

The new Facebook search tool gives recruiters and professionals the opportunity to search a billion-person candidate pool by interest and by event. The obvious next step is by education, by group, and by other factors.

We shouldn’t expect it to be long before Facebook enables filtering of our immediate connections and friends to offer “related connections.” That’s when we’ll be able to see the real impact of Graph Search on recruiting.

Article Continues Below

Will Graph Search push more recruiters to Facebook?

Facebook’s Graph Search reinforces the idea that search and social are intrinsically linked and becoming increasingly inseparable. Especially when it comes to hiring, harnessing the power of large sets of social data is a necessity for forward-thinking HR departments.

According to a recent survey by SHRM, 56 percent of HR professionals said they use social networking sites to recruit candidates, up from 34 percent in 2008. Some 95 percent of HR professionals in this poll said they use LinkedIn; 58 percent use Facebook; and about 42 percent use Twitter.

If Facebook continues to build out Graph Search, by the end of 2013 the number of recruiters using Facebook to connect candidates with jobs could skyrocket.

We will have to wait and see. At least for now, the conversation has turned to the potential privacy violations that Facebook’s latest feature has engineered.

Meanwhile, the HR industry waits to see how Graph Search will impact recruiting, and what interesting tools Google and LinkedIn will develop in response.