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Anyone with an eye on talent acquisition has seen the debate on whether Facebook or LinkedIn is stickier in attracting top candidates. A popular perspective is that Facebook is where you keep your personal friends, while LinkedIn is where you keep it professional. In fact, most of the folks I talk to tell me this is their approach with the two social networks.

LinkedIn has proven to be a direct link between professionals and new job opportunities.

LinkedIn has proven to be a direct link between professionals and new job opportunities.

On the surface the story seems to fit. LinkedIn is branded as the “Social Network for Professionals” and they’re a Wall Street success selling their Talent Solutions product to employers across the globe.

But what about Facebook as an effective medium for recruiting? Social recruiting startups like Branchout, Identified, and Work4Labs have bet their business on Facebook.

Facebook themselves got into the act with the Social Job Board (although woefully underwhelming). Most companies still view Facebook as a question mark in recruiting.

Since we’re sitting on some compelling social data at Ongig, I thought I’d look at how these two networks are performing. I’m super interested in learning about how the value of the networks when it comes to sharing job content. The data I looked at pertains to organic sharing and liking by users. There are no numbers included that are the result of paid advertising on either network.

This is not intended to be an opinion piece, nor an editorial. I’m not one to care about where great candidates come from. I’m primarily interested in finding the best ways to draw like-minded companies and candidates together over the web.

Here’s the Facebook and LinkedIn sharing data from the last 150 job postings on Ongig. We’ve broken it down into three categories: Sharing, Engagement, and Clicks on Apply.

Sharing

The holy grail of Social Recruiting has been the ability to access the social graph of one’s company to build an inbound funnel of referrals and top-notch candidates. Platforms from Jobvite to Social JobMatcher from Bernard Hodes Group have been created with this primary purpose in mind.

As we dug into social sharing on Ongig’s platform, we saw three main criteria as a baseline of “stickiness”: Total Shares, Views From Shares, and Average Views Per Share.

Total Shares 

We’ve been surprised by the amount of sharing on Facebook versus LinkedIn. Our original thought was that premium job content with video, pictures, and commenting would be much more natural to LinkedIn than Facebook. We can see now that we definitely underestimated Facebook as a medium where people would be willing to share job content. The total amount of sharing between the platforms is relatively close. However, Facebook has taken the lead position as the social network for sharing Ongig job pages. It’s roughly a 1.5X that of LinkedIn, and that was a surprise.

Views From Shares

This one is a whopper. When you look at raw conversions from shares to views, Facebook takes the cake. In fact, it’s not even close. We’ve seen 15,029 views from Facebook shares to the last 150 jobs on the Ongig platform. This is compared to 5,336 for LinkedIn. Where we surprised by the volume at which people shared job content on Facebook, we were shocked by how many people responded by clicking through to the job. Remember, this is not related to any advertising of any kind. This is traffic coming straight from a share or like. Facebook’s ability to drive large numbers of people to job pages is impressive to say the least.

Average Views Per Share

Facebook converts views at a rate of 7.67 per share. Imagine  you have 100 people on your team sharing a job on Facebook. This ratio suggests that you can have 767 people coming in to view the job through that effort. From an Employer Branding standpoint, this is a huge opportunity.

While LinkedIn has not performed at the same velocity, there is still a tremendous opportunity when sharing jobs. The average views for each LinkedIn share were 3.87. Go back to the same scenario, and imagine that you’ve got 100 people sharing your job. The data suggests that you would have 387 people showing up to check out the job page. It’s not the same level as Facebook for volume, but nearly 4 to 1 is still a nice amplifier.

Engagement

When digging into the “stickiness” factor, it’s important to look at overall engagement with the pages actually clicked on. You might have a lot of traffic coming to the page, but what happens then? I took a close look at three areas of engagement: New Visits, Time On Page, and Pages Per Visit.

New Visits

I saw this as an important piece because most companies we talk to have a desire to fill up the top of the funnel. We saw the trend of Facebook being a great place for branding continue with this category. 83.7% of the 15,029 views were from new visitors. Indeed, that drives home the fact that your Employer Brand awareness can definitely be raised by sharing of your jobs content across Facebook.

We also see the consistency with the use of sharing on LinkedIn. 67.3% of the 5,336 views were from new visitors. The audience from LinkedIn appears to be more selective, and folks may be coming back for another look. Two out of every three visits being new is a solid Employer Branding opportunity as well.

Time On Page

The time someone spends on the page is critical, and a true measurement of engagement for each viewer. It’s also easy to see if you don’t have a compelling job ad. Job ads that have rich content such as video and pictures are far more likely to have a higher time on page. The same is true as we looked at the 150 job ads in this study.

TimeOnPageTime on page is where we see the power of LinkedIn shine through. The 5,336 viewers who clicked on the shared jobs stayed on the page for an average of 3:28. Not only is this a tremendous Employer Branding opportunity, it’s also clear that the candidate is making assessments about their own interest or others they know who may be a fit. Think about the last web pages anywhere on the web that you were on for 3:28. That tells you the story.

We also start to see the more casual nature of Facebook show itself in this category. The average time of the 15,029 viewers to the job pages was 2:02. This is far lower than that of LinkedIn, but still a premium Employer Branding opportunity. You’ve likely got friends and family checking out a job page who aren’t a fit in the first place. They’re just seeing what their friend or family member is up to.

While LinkedIn is much “stickier” in this case, both platforms are effective. Take inventory of your own site for a comparative analysis. It’s a challenge to get people spending a minimum of 2:02 on your job pages no matter what the traffic source.

Pages Per Visit

It’s obvious that you’re trying to get people looking at your specific job page when they click on the shared link. But what is the engagement past that single page?

This is important because the additional pages the viewer looks at can include your application page, about us page, other jobs you have open, and so on.

Again, we saw LinkedIn having the higher rate of “stickiness” in this category with 1.93 pages visited when the viewer came in from a share.

Conversely, viewers coming from Facebook shares look at 1.54 pages per visit. Not bad overall, but behind the performance of LinkedIn.

Clicks On Apply

Facebook users give a thumbs up to job ads with rich media.

Facebook users give a thumbs up to job ads with rich media.

At the end of the day I usually get asked how the social shares convert into applications. The realistic answer is that the conversion to an application is fuzzy. That said, we know that drawing a direct correlation between sharing, views, and clicks on apply is important. The bottom line is that LinkedIn leads the way for clicks on apply with 236. Facebook is close, but a bit behind with 206.

I say that this piece is fuzzy because candidates are increasingly like consumers. They visit a consortium of online venues such as Careers sites, Facebook, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Payscale, Twitter and others to get an overall picture of what the company, people, and opportunity are all about previous to applying.

Thus, the true point of entry into your hiring funnel can be a bit of a wild card.

Views To Clicks On Apply 

Digging in, it doesn’t take a math whiz to figure out that it takes 73 views from Facebook shares to generate one click on apply. Using the same logic, it takes 23 views from shares on LinkedIn to generate one click on apply.

While the Facebook conversion rate seems low, the LinkedIn conversion rate seems more in-line with traditional job advertising. Nonetheless, it’s difficult to measure the overall influence of views from shares on specific applications.

Shares To Clicks On Apply

It’s difficult to have any level of control over the clicks on apply coming from a view. The best thing you can do is put amazing job ads together, cast a wide net, and push them across every network possible. However, when you start to look at the impact of shares on clicks on apply, you can gain more control.

You still need to pay close attention to creating a great job ad, but there is an expectation of what you will get in return when you ask your team to share it. That’s why this is one of my favorite categories when it comes to measuring clicks on apply.

In our case, we see LinkedIn leading the way with one click on apply for every 5.8 shares. For Facebook, we’re seeing one click on apply for every 9.5 shares. Thus, it seems like a lot less work goes into getting clicks on apply via sharing on LinkedIn.

Bottom Line

The question in the beginning was whether Facebook is stickier than LinkedIn. The quick answer is no, but the answer is not that simple. There needs to be room for both platforms in your recruiting strategy. You just have to set the right expectations, and approach the platforms differently from one another.

LinkedIn is best when you target relevant candidates with specific job ads. The more specific, relevant, and job-oriented the better if you’re looking for applicants. While you may not see as large and wide of an audience, the traffic you do see tends to be more on target and of higher value.

Facebook is an excellent tool for Employer Branding. You can spread the word with more volume across circles of people who have a higher level of trust with one another. For reaching a high volume of new people to create Employer Brand awareness, Facebook has shown to be ideal. If you’re just placing plain job descriptions on your Facebook page that look like your careers site, don’t expect much lift.

Thus, to get “stickiness” with candidates use a combination of the two. Utilize Facebook as your Employer Branding platform, and LinkedIn as your active Recruiting platform. That’s what our data suggests.

 

 

Jason Webster

Jason Webster is a social recruiting enthusiast and co-founder of Ongig, a platform that creates shareable, visually-appealing job descriptions. He has spoken at multiple social recruiting events, where his passion for candidate experience is the primary topic. Connect with Jason and Ongig on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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