Shannon Smedstad | ,| By
It’s the end of an era. Well, for my work-related Facebook account at least.
In 2008, my former company (a large, well known auto insurer) was in the early stages of developing its HR social media policy and presence. As we mapped out our strategy, we determined that any corporate recruiter interested in using Facebook — to recruit and serve as a talent ambassador — would create a separate work-related profile.
A few simple guidelines.
Before launching our Facebook initiative, HR worked closely with Legal to create social recruiting guidelines, which included some common sense reminders. There was also an overarching rule of thumb: don’t post anything that could be deemed controversial.
From there, more than 15 recruiters (me included) established new profiles in the spirit of representing our company in a talent acquisition capacity. Every week we shared job openings and glimpses inside our company, and each month we tracked and measured our performance.
One person, two accounts.
Having two Facebook accounts was easy … sort of like managing two email addresses. One for work and the other for home. Separate streams, each with a different audience, content and purpose. This approach made sense for several reasons:
It was obvious to job seekers who to connect with from the company.
When sourcing candidates, it was clear that we were legitimate company representatives.
- When engaging our university contacts, it was evident who we were and who we represented.
My corporate credit card was tied to my work account, from which I managed the company’s employer branded Facebook page and pay per click campaigns.
We could cross-promote our recruiters’ profiles from the corporate career site and other branded social channels.
During virtual career fairs that we hosted on Facebook, job seekers could easily and quickly friend and chat with designated recruiters.
While some industry peers disagreed with this approach, it worked for us. For me. My “personal” Facebook profile was on lock down, and used exclusively to stay in touch with 100 or so friends and family. The other account was public and comprised of roughly 600 friends. From that work profile, I connected with anyone and everyone, and proudly shared company and career-related content. My cover photo was even employer-branded and I included “-Company Recruiting” as part of my name to differentiate the two profiles.
Via that work account, crazy happened. And not just to me, but to others on my team as well. Random people asking for random things. Inappropriate photo tags. Creepy messages. Rarely did I post about my personal life from the work account.
During the six years that I maintained two accounts, I was grateful that “stuff” was not associated with my personal profile and that I didn’t have to tend to it during non-work hours. [You can read more on Fistful of Talent about my so-called double life on Facebook.]
My approach to Facebook is changing.
In late May, I accepted a position with a new organization. This meant that I would need to delete my work profile, transition some of my work contacts to friends and acquaintances, and downsize my Facebook presence to one account. “I figured something was up when I got the new friend request,” wrote a colleague when I sent him a request to connect from my personal account.
So far, I have noticed five major changes as a result of my new approach; I am:
Letting acquaintances in more,
No longer “open connecting”,
Seeing more updates from my HR-world than lifelong friends,
Posting less photos of my family, and
More mindful of what I share and with whom.
Of these, the biggest changes have been the transition to connecting with colleagues and offering deeper insights into my personal life. Currently, I am up to 300 friends and have added an option to “follow” me for public updates. All in all, this was a relatively easy change to make, but still one that is taking some getting used to.
One or two, is more better?
As I think about starting my new position, I’ve begun to think about how to best help my new company build its social recruiting strategy. Certainly, Facebook will be a part of the conversation and this question keeps coming to mind: Would I continue to recommend two separate accounts for corporate recruiters? It’s an interesting debate.
What would you do? How are you currently managing your corporate Facebook recruiting presence? Are you a recruiter with two accounts?