Sourcing’s Facebook Foursome

Have you noticed that Facebook now has four professional networking apps? First we were introduced to BranchOut, then BeKnown made a splash at SHRM, Talent.me snuck in at the end of the summer, and finally PoolDip has entered the scene to stir the pot. I’m sure there are more professional apps on Facebook, but four apps are extremely difficult to manage.

We are all aware of the reach and magnitude that Facebook empowers. With 800 million profiles and growing, it’s natural to have a professional networking presence on this site. However, is it necessary to be on all four?

The advantage of sourcing on Facebook is obvious, as it encompasses more profiles. Likewise, communication is free. While LinkedIn has been our sourcing alibi, Facebook does avert you from directly sourcing by profession. Additionally, with the vast number of profiles, identifying your direct contact with a common name is also a recurring challenge.

With the recent launch of Identified, advanced sourcing on Facebook is starting to become more of a reality. Identified pulls information directly from Facebook and allows recruiters to directly source candidates from its database. With the introduction to Identified, do we really need a habitation in all four apps?

This question has been a bit of an anomaly on my quest to source candidates directly on Facebook. I’ve decided to take a “deep dive” into all four apps. Perhaps you can determine the winner of the professional networking apps.

BeKnown

A product of Monster, this app is intended to provide a portrait of your professional network and allow you to easily manage your connections. While it does indeed do that, I only have 22 connections in my network, all of who are recruiters/sourcers or Monster employees.

My 22 connections (just 1200 shy of my Facebook friends) earned me the “Rookie” badge, one of fifteen badges that you can earn through this app.

According to its website, badges are earned based on your work history, education, size and composition of your professional network, and endorsements you’ve given or received. Not sure if I see the purpose, but the badges are intended to encourage competition.

You are able to showcase your professional profile on this app, and it does a great job of keeping your professional life separate from your personal life. You can also seek professional endorsements, which appear to be similar to recommendations on LinkedIn.

Parallel to its parent site, BeKnown allows you to post jobs. You actually can post to your first-degree connections for free. Being that all of my connections are not what I need to fill my positions, this does not benefit my search.

When it comes to search, this app is does not allow you to efficiently source candidates. You can search by people (meaning people that have installed the app) or companies, yet you are inhibited to source candidates by skillset or job title. You can follow companies and view their jobs, however every time I tested this feature I received an error message.

This app might be great to have a profile with the occasional job post, but I wouldn’t rely on it to find candidates or quickly fill your position.

BranchOut

BranchOut is the largest professional networking app of the four. BranchOut enables its users to leverage their Facebook network to find jobs and source talent. It’s easy to join, easy to source, and you can even post job openings to your network at no cost. BranchOut also offers enterprise products that help companies recruit talented job candidates. The only information that is visible on BranchOut is a profile picture, professional career, and your educational background. You’re also in control of who can view your profile.

It’s extremely easy to find and connect with candidates on BranchOut. You can search by job title, company, or name. The “Grow Network” feature at the top of the app will easily help grow your network by giving you a vast array of options to choose from including email and wall posts.

If you are already Facebook friends with people and they have BranchOut accounts, they will automatically be added to your BranchOut network. Once you source a candidate that is not connected with you on Facebook, you can send an invitation via email, post a connection request through BranchOut, or ask for an introduction from someone you know.

BranchOut also allows for professional endorsements. Like BeKnown, it features badges. My 45 connections have earned me the “Super Connector” badge.

From a sourcing standpoint, this app is extremely more advanced than the others. It’s very easy to source candidates and post jobs. BranchOut partners with Indeed for job postings, and the presence of larger companies, like Google, is definitely more apparent than BeKnown.

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PoolDip

The newest app of the quartet, PoolDip provides a unique approach to recruiting candidates. This professional networking app allows for recruiters to create a professional profile that transcends into a “fan page” for job seekers to follow (take note CareerBuilder, as I have pitched you this idea three times over the last two years). Once a candidate follows you, recruiters can engage in communication with them. The goal is to get candidates closer to recruiters and the hiring manager. In a nutshell, this app allows you to hire your fans and allows for a connection to the companies that candidates would like to work for.

According to Franklin Benjamin, Sr. Director New Business Development at PoolDip, “Facebook changed the way people communicate. It’s more of an open book. When you look at what Facebook is doing with engagement and communication, there has to be an easier way you can connect others to jobs. We want to help people become better connected to recruiters. We want to help others find jobs. We don’t want to be another site that HR professionals have to visit each day. We want HR to have a ready-to-activate talent pool: Pooldip. You can dip in and out of the talent pool whenever you are ready.”

The only downside about this app is that you can’t source candidates, however they can source you. This app gives seekers the ability to directly connect with you. This is very candidate friendly and prevents spam (sorry LinkedIn Recruiter advocates).

Benjamin added, “If you want to be in the pool, then this is the site.”

Talent.me

This app is eerily similar to BranchOut, yet still fun to play with. Just like the other three apps, the purpose of Talent.me is to help you leverage your friend network and make it work for your career advancement. To get the obvious out of the way, this app allows you to post a professional profile (it can pull your information from LinkedIn), share updates, aggregate your Facebook connections, harvest endorsements, and search for jobs. As far as I can tell, you can’t post jobs directly through this app, but it does partner with Indeed (like BranchOut). If you want your jobs viewable through this app, then make sure your job is posted on Indeed; after all, it’s free.

One of the unique features of this app is your ability to add talents. You can also source candidates through these talents (hence the name Talent.me) and view others with similar talents. Oddly enough, I’m the only profile on this app that has listed Boolean and Information Retrieval as a talent. This app also pulls those talents and offers jobs that directly match your skill set.

Candidates are easy to source and connection requests are simple to send. Though this app recommends that you only send a connection to someone you know … right.

Conclusion

Even though Facebook has been around since 2004, sourcing candidates on this medium is still relatively new. Social media recruiting has been widely popular over the years, and these apps make it easier for us to find candidates. While it’s imperative to have a large social media presence, it is pointless to be on all four apps. PoolDip understands our workload and enables seekers to more efficiently find you. This is a great passive approach that might be beneficial overtime.

BranchOut is popular, website says 200 million users, and you will be able to find candidates. Likewise, Talent.me is also a great tool and the talent feature provides a unique approach to our search. At this time, Talent.me is still young but growing in popularity. In my opinion, with the similarity to BranchOut, Talent.me appears to be its only real direct competitor to BrachOut on Facebook.

BeKnown is still an enigma for me. I’ve used this app and really tried to understand the purpose. Basically it’s just as it appears, a professional networking app. There really is no added advantage for sourcers, especially if you are already on one of the other four apps. I’d welcome any sourcers who’ve been successfully using it to show me how!

Feel free to take a look into each app and form your own opinion.

Shannon Pritchett is the editor of SourceCon. As a lifelong student in the recruitment industry, Shannon is passionate about improving it. Shannon has a diverse background in training, sourcing, international recruitment, full desk recruiting, coaching, and journalism. Shannon got her start in the recruitment industry at Vanderbilt University and later worked as a Senior Recruiter for Internal Data Resources and Community Health Systems, Social Media Recruitment Ambassador for T-Mobile USA, Director of Recruiting for Moxy, Trainer with AIRS, and last as a Manager of Global Sourcing and Training for ManpowerGroup Solutions RPO.

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