Is Facebook Graph Search (Not LinkedIn) the Future of Recruiting?

You’ve probably heard about Facebook’s new search platform, Graph Search. There are articles going around about its potentially enormous impact on everything from SEO to online dating. Of course, what I’m really interested in is its potential impact on recruiting, and it looks like I’m not alone. Forbes recently wrote that Zuckerberg himself announced recruiting is one of his favorite queries.

Though Facebook Graph Search components do sound really cool, are they going transform the recruiting industry?  I’m skeptical. 

Here are four reasons why:

1) My Friends Are Qualified to Offer Advice on Many Things, But Recruiting?

Think about it: Do you trust your Facebook friends to give you great restaurant recommendations? Yes. Will you trust those same Facebook friends to give you great candidate recommendations? Not so sure about that. This overlaps with Reason #2…

2) Facebook Isn’t LinkedIn

For Graph Search to be relevant, users will need to fill out their profiles as completely as possible including career titles, current company, professional interests, etc. How many people actually have a fully-updated Facebook profile with all of their professional work experience and interests?

3) Information is Limited

With Graph Search you will only be privy to information that is:

  1. Public
  2. Belongs to a friend in your network

As with LinkedIn (unless you have the full Recruiter tool), it’s all about who you know/who is in your network. Are people going to start sending friend requests to “network,” similar to how they do on LinkedIn? Would you accept this type of request? Or is Facebook going to change their privacy rules and start charging for accounts? Are they considering a premium, higher-level account that could allow you to see certain degrees of connections, or certain pieces of a person’s profile? That’s one of the only ways I can see Graph Search being truly useful to a recruiter.

4) The Big Issue: Facebook Is Personal, Not Professional

Facebook’s intent thus far has been social networking in a personal regard. I’d argue that the majority of users are in a totally “outside-of-work” mindset when they use it – posting pictures of family, friends, travels, updates on where they are, what they ate, meme’s etc. It’s all about posting and sharing personal information.

On the other end of the spectrum, LinkedIn is specifically a social networking site geared toward the professional. That’s why it is successful as a recruiting tool. Users are in a “work” mindset when they use LinkedIn and therefore they specifically showcase their professional experience, achievements and interests in their profile.

If users turn around and change their profiles to reflect their professional image, will that totally change how they use Facebook? I would think it would, unless you had the option of creating a “professional” and a “personal” profile — and that just seems like quicksand to me.

Verdict

In my opinion, the success of Facebook Graph Search in reference to the recruiting industry will depend entirely on the users. Will users buy-in to Facebook as a professional tool? Will they change their profiles and the way they use the platform when they likely already have professional profiles on LinkedIn? If they don’t, the Graph Search tool is not going to be helpful for companies to use as a recruiting tool, because it won’t be able to provide insightful recommendations.