Companies are starting to view Facebook as a legitimate option to find new employees, as LinkedIn and more traditional job boards face unexpected competition from the mammoth social network.
According to analysts, companies now drift to Facebook because the social network boasts 750 million users, many of whom are potential employees. Employers are no longer looking to spend hundreds of dollars to put up job postings on paid websites or in newspapers when they can reach millions of people for free by advertising jobs on their Facebook pages.
LinkedIn is still the dominant form of social networking for professional businesses, but more employers have found Facebook's larger user base and more personal profile system invaluable when looking for job candidates.
Houston-based environmental services company Waste Management, for example, says the majority of traffic to its career website comes from those who have clicked over from Facebook. The company now adds videos of current employees to its page, and uses recruiters to speak more directly with Facebook members in its attempt to hire 1,500 new employees.
But Facebook can also be a doubled-edged sword when it comes to looking for employment. The Federal Trade Commission recently set a standard when it gave the Social Intelligence Corp the green light to screen job applicants based on their Facebook and Twitter postings. The SIC is now able to keep track of negative findings about a person's Facebook activity, such as joining a racist social networking group, and keep it on file for up to seven years.
Employers who don't go through the trouble of getting background checks that have information collected from the SIC are still likely to check up on potential employees' Facebook profiles. Even if a user's profile is set to "private," a simple Google search could bring up the applicant's Facebook pages, showing applicants' "Liked" pages, personal information and photos.
People looking for a job can now go to more employers' Facebook pages to inquire about or apply for a position, but they may want to double check their own pages first.