Social Recruiting w/Facebook – One or Two Facebook Profiles?

Philosoraptor asks - facebook recruiting, one profile or two?Do you use Facebook to source and recruit potential candidates?

  • If yes, do you have one or two profiles?
  • If no, why not? (two words: Graph Search!)

One of the most common social recruiting questions I get is whether or not sourcers and recruiters using Facebook to search for and engage potential candidates should have 1 or 2 profiles (one “personal” profile and one “professional”).

I always answer that my recommendation is for recruiters to use only 1 Facebook profile (read further to learn why), but I can certainly understand why some people would want to use 2.

To see if I was alone in my position, I was curious what the folks in my network would say regarding the use of 1 or 2 Facebook profiles for recruiting, so I decided to ask them (on Facebook – where else?!?).

As you can see, I got quite a few responses! If you want to weigh in, you can click on the image below and leave your comment.

Facebook Recruiting 1 or 2 profiles

Most of the responses were in favor of only using 1 Facebook profile, which actually isn’t that surprising (at least to me), given that many of the people who responded are seasoned industry and social recruiting veterans.

In my experience, it seems that many people who are concerned about using 1 profile when recruiting on Facebook are newer to social recruiting (real social recruiting, not just posting jobs on social sites), and/or haven’t yet really experimented with recruiting via Facebook.

Now, let’s take a look at the arguments for using 1 or 2 profiles when recruiting on Facebook.

Facebook Recruiting – The Case for 2 Profiles

Here are the common concerns and arguments I’ve heard offered for using 2 Facebook profiles for recruiting:

  • “I don’t want potential candidates to see pictures of my kids.”
  • “I don’t want potential candidates to see my personal posts.”
  • “I don’t want potential candidates to have my personal contact info.”
  • “I don’t want to ‘friend’ potential candidates.”
  • “What happens if a recruiter leaves our company? They’ll take all of their candidates with them!”

These are all seemingly valid concerns – at least on the surface. However, I have answers for all of them, which I’ll address next.

Facebook Recruiting – The Case for 1 Profile

Here are the reasons why you should seriously consider only using 1 Facebook profile:

#1 The key word in “social recruiting” is social

If you create 2 Facebook profiles, I’d challenge you on the idea that you can be just as “social” (2-way engagement) with 2 Facebook profiles on top of your LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc. profiles.

If you create a 2nd Facebook profile just to “friend” potential candidates so you can keep track of them and you don’t expect to respond to all of their messages in a timely fashion and engage them on a regular basis (could you really anyway?), you’re not being social, and thus you’re not performing “social recruiting.”

#2 I don’t recommend recruiters “friending” potential candidates

If you’re friending candidates, you’re creating a false impression and expectation, as I am sure they consider being “friends” on Facebook a little differently than you do (e.g., they don’t have a “professional” profile). Connect with them on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter and/or add them to an appropriate circle on Google+, but don’t “friend” them on Facebook.

#3 Social recruiting is about authenticity

If you have 2 Facebook profiles and your personal profile is the “real” you, what is your “professional” Facebook profile?

Enough said.

#4 Facebook privacy settings and lists work – so use them!

You can easily configure lists and your privacy settings on Facebook so that only certain people (friends or not!) can see specific personal details, pictures and posts.

Even so, why “hide” pictures (of your kids or otherwise) and other personal details? Your personal content serves as evidence you’re a real person, and hopefully a decent one with good judgment.

If I message someone on Facebook and they check out my profile and see pictures of me with my family, I become a real person to them, not just another recruiter. And guess what? If they have kids (or dogs, or a life), my profile will likely resonate with them better than some scrubbed and cleansed “professional” profile in which no one can really tell anything about me.

And if you have questionable pictures on Facebook that you don’t want people to see, I’d advise you to rethink what you put on Facebook. #justsayin

#5 Having more than 1 profile is against Facebook’s terms of service

You shouldn’t have 2 Facebook profiles because, well, Facebook says so.

As such, Facebook can shut down one or both of your profiles at any time, as Marvin Smith painfully found out while at Microsoft.

Final Thoughts

Legally, a person creating 2 Facebook profiles is violating Facebook’s terms of service. Period.

Beyond that, creating a 2nd “professional” Facebook profile is at the very least somewhat inauthentic and antisocial recruiting, and at most – totally so.

If you’re concerned with privacy, don’t “friend” candidates and/or simply configure your settings so that only your true “inner circle” can see your “for their eyes only” content. This can easily be done via Custom Privacy Settings and well configured Friend Lists.

But enough of what I think – what do you think?

  • PoconoChuck

    There was a time when I had 2 active FB profiles, one in my name, on in pseudonym (not the one I am posting with here). Few people knew I had both names, which allowed me to state my political views, free from possible repercussions from my employment (who, decidedly, disagreed with nearly every opinion I held). Until about 3 years ago, I was posting to both several times each week, but then let the pen-name become dormant (a lot was happening to me those days, and it fell away).

    Presently, I am considering resurrecting the political board, because I growing impatient with many things, and need to vent some steam now and then.

  • TheBalazs

    Trying to approach it from a candidate (candidate experience) perspective: what can they get from my FB wall (WIIFM)? If my wall is to give them anything valuable (such as jobs, fun, thoughts for food, or a human or a nice or an entertaining persona they can interact with) then why not? But if my FB wall stream is to give them too little good content they may have interest in I would say go for 2 (or develop a personal (fan) page).

  • Shireen DuPreez

    A friend of mine had her privacy settings on her Facebook profile randomly reset by Facebook. She had to go back in and re-do them all, although she doesn’t know how long they had been ‘open’ for. You have to ask yourself what you are comfortable with having on the web – whether your privacy settings are working or not.

  • Lisa Jones

    Great article. I blogged about this on the UndercoverRecruiter recently (xray cojones and you’ll find it). A lawyer friend of mine is representing 2 recruiters who lost their jobs after a supposed friend friend pressed print screen on their supposed private Facebook page. Privacy is a myth. People need to get with being sure what they post is appropriate for both work and personal, whilst also understanding that social recruiters do better

  • Red Branch Media

    I totally get why some recruiters are apprehensive in using their personal profiles for recruiting. I think that a lot of people need to keep their social profiles clean anyways but, Facebook has a lot of added security features that will enable users to hide pictures of their kids from whomever they want. Actually, half of my personal pictures from over the years are private only to me. Thanks for posting this article!

  • Pingback: Facebook Recruiting 101 - Work4 Labs()