How the New Facebook Graph Could Benefit Recruiters

I was on the waiting list for the new Facebook Graph Search feature. This week, the Beta version went live on my profile and I am trying really hard to figure it out. At first glance, it doesn’t seem to be conducive to actually searching the expansive online world of Facebook. Though the more I play around with it, the more I see potential. If you haven’t acquired Graph and want to see what it’s all about … you can try it out here.


Nothing has changed to the news feed that I can tell. What’s new is at the very top. There is no longer a distinctive, white search field, and the friend request, message and notification icons are now located on the right by the settings’ gear icon. In place of the search field are a blue bar, white Facebook icon and the familiar words: Search for people, places and things.

When you click within the words, there is a laundry list of options: My friends, Photos of my friends, Games my friends play, Restaurants nearby, Photos I have liked, Groups my friends are in, Music my friends like, Apps my friends use, Places my friends have been to, Movies my friends like and Current cities of my friends. While I love many of my friends, I know enough about them already. It seems that Graph is designed to search more specifically amid your current base of Facebook friends. Though upon digging deeper, I discover that you can access friends of friends.


It’s not uncommon for recruiters to source from specific colleges and universities. One of the searches that it pretty easy to run is “Friends of my Friends who go to [school].” For me, this search resulted in more than 1,000 people at Penn State University. From there, you can refine the search by degree, graduation year, hometown, current city, employer and other options. You can clearly see the friends you have in common, and easily add new friends and send messages. As companies gear up their college recruiting efforts, Facebook may become a preferred way to connect with students prior to events and build candidate pipelines.


I conducted a few searches based upon the pre-filled Facebook options that ended in undesirable results (Penn State University + interest in Java = Band member who plays at a coffee house). So, I wanted to start a brand new search. In order to clear out your most recent search, you can either hit the “Home” link at the top right or click the white Facebook icon at the top left.


Basically, I am writing this post as I walk through and learn about the new Facebook Graph. And, I think I just found how it will be most beneficial to recruiters! Within the top blue bar, next to the white Facebook icon, you can type anything that you want and Facebook will retrieve results.

My search for “Developers” landed more than 1,000 results that I can refine based upon employer location, current city and more. Rather quickly, you can scan the Facebook user’s name, title, school and location, and follow and/or contact them. (This must be the creepy factor of the new facebook graph other blogs are writing about.)


As a former recruiter, I can see the potential … and the potential misuse … of the Facebook Graph. It seems very easy (too easy?) for recruiters to solicit people they’ve never met and have no connection to. If you decide to use this new tool in your recruiting, my advice is to never spam users with canned messages, but to take a highly-personalized approach and be very deliberate in who you contact.

Share your thoughts.

Have you checked out the new Facebook Graph? How do you think it will change recruiting? Please share your thoughts below.

Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad has nearly 20 years of recruitment, employer branding, and communications experience. Currently, she serves as the Principal Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo. Previously, she held employer branding and recruiting leadership roles at CEB and GEICO. She’s a work at home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, running, leading a Girl Scout troop, and her morning coffee. You can connect with Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Reader Interactions


  1. Veronica Segovia says

    Great post! Thank you so much for sharing your inside knowledge on the Graph Search beta version. As you know, I wrote a post about the hopes I have for it to benefit recruiting and job hunting. I am still waiting for it to roll out on my profile, so your post is incredibly helpful. I will definitely share it with the Vocus Careers audience. Thanks, Jessica!

    • Shannon Smedstad says

      Thanks, Veronica, for reading and taking the time to comment on my post. I appreciate it! — Shannon Smedstad

  2. eljay says

    Informative post. I was looking to learn more about facebook graphic search for recruiting and stumbled on this blogpost. Thanks for sharing this article.

    • Shannon Smedstad says

      Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. I think we’ll continue to see more information about Graph and its impact on recruiting as it rolls out to more people and we start to see “super users.” – Shannon



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