Article main image
Jun 12, 2019
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

The news has been grim this week surrounding the removal of Graph Search on Facebook. With this removal, some of our most beloved Facebook sourcing tools are also temporarily unavailable. Have no fear, though; there are already some workarounds. Before we get into those, let’s take a look at some of the previous capabilities of the Graph Search.

Graph Search mainly involved entering search terms and URLs with parameters to find members on Facebook. Think of it like having a bunch of profiles and then connecting them with strings from one to another where the relevant data was same, and then bringing back the results you wanted. Well, that capability is sadly gone. Now, if you try to replicate the Graph Search,  you will get a “Page Does not Exist” splash page. Initially using the mobile version of the Facebook website worked, but then it went away.

Though many sourcers and recruiters relied heavily on the Graph Search to find candidates, not to mention law enforcement officials and anti-terrorism units, the “brain trust” of the sourcing community quickly went to work to find a solution.

However, in this case, the “workaround” and the solution to our problem was right in front of us.

Facebook has made it so you can do a simple semantic search right in the Facebook search Omnibox and get results. For instance, if you type in “Engineer Boeing Seattle,” you will get a list of people that meets the search you entered. After you run your search, select People, and view the results.

Once the results are generated, you can use a popular tool, like ZAPinfo, to scrape the data and enhance it.

“We are elated to see Facebook making it easier to search for people based upon their job titles, employers, locations,” said  Doug Berg Cheif Zapper at ZAPinfo.
“This is a simple but huge shift towards LinkedIn like capabilities for being able to identify people from recruiting this perspective.
While you still cannot search for people based upon specific skills, we anticipate those abilities to becoming as your ability to add not only skills to your Facebook profile are possible today, you can even name specific projects you are working on and who your team members are within the work areas of your Facebook profile. We see all of these developments and significant moves deeper into the work and professional lives of Facebook members.
We do still see a tremendous hesitation by recruiters to utilize Facebook for recruiting, however, the first movers will be able to get the most benefit, and it would be very wise for any recruiting CRM applications to start adding links to Facebook pages to enable social recruiting beyond just the LinkedIn profile.”

After you use, ZAPinfo, use ZAPout, a part of ZAPinfo, to send the information out of ZAPinfo and straight into SeekOut, where you improve the results again. It sounds like a tedious task, but it took me five minutes to get over 500 people with emails ready to go. And once the candidates are in SeekOut, you can use all of SeekOut’s features – including the SeekOut Robot and personalized message campaigns – to expand your search and engage.

Of course, there is also another way to search on Facebook. Within ZapInfo they have a tools section with a Boolean Search Builder. Within that, they have a search library that contains a vast collection of pre-constructed search strings load of pre-constructed search strings that work. If you use them, follow the same process as mentioned above. Scroll through the results, use ZAPinfo to scrape the results and enhance it, use ZapOut, and then SeekOut to further improve your results, and you’ll be good to go.

Additionally, you can use SeekOut to search Facebook and use their Facebook search section, which works well and will bring results to you directly in SeekOut.

So yes, Graph Search is gone, but Facebook and its 3.5 billion people are still sourcable using the tools, and methods you learned about here.

One thing we all know is, things will change again. However, what we also know is we will always find a way to adapt. So while Graph Search is dead, sourcing on Facebook lives on.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
Get articles like this
in your inbox
The original publication for Sourcers, delivered weekly.