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The hidden plus side of Facebook groups - How Indegene attracts talent from Social Media

26 MAR 2019

When Bengaluru-based Vishwadeep Gautam joined industry-specific Facebook groups, he was not specifically looking for a job. “My primary goal was to find people from my industry to exchange ideas with," says the 25-year-old data analyst. What attracted him to Facebook groups was that it gave him freedom to choose groups specific to his area of interest—data analysis. “The groups were a gold mine of current trends so I could update myself, learn more and understand what kind of development I can expect in the future in my field of work," he says.

An additional opportunity that the groups offered was job postings. On one of the groups Gautam was part of, Indegene, a healthcare tech company based in Bengaluru, posted a job requirement for a data analyst. He already knew about the company since it had been active on the groups he was in. “I saw it, found it interesting, and applied,” says Gautam.

With 2.27 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the largest social network on the planet. LinkedIn, the straightforward professional networking site, has 260 million active users in comparison.

“Attracting talent from social media is an integral part of our recruitment strategy,” says Bina Patil, vice president (human resources) at Indegene, the company that hired Gautam. Patil and her team are present and constantly on the lookout on all company social media platforms- LinkedIn, Facebook, GitHub, even WhatsApp.

Forums for niche hires

Each has its own benefit. While LinkedIn helps companies recruit IT and technology people, Facebook is useful when it comes to recruiting what Patil calls “niche hiring”. Facebook groups, communities and forums are established communities of professionals of a specific subgroup. Groups bring together specialized personnel of core technical roles like data science, data analytics, data engineers, augmented reality or non-technical professions like dieticians, nutritionists, nurses, optometrists, etc. Patil cites another example: 25-year-old Raziuddin M.A. was hired by Indegene as a field counsellor from a Facebook group of healthcare professionals. For Raziuddin, who is based out of Hyderabad, Facebook has evolved from a personal to a professional platform. “With groups, Facebook has changed from being just a social platform for personal chatting to a platform which can help build my professional networks, and find me new jobs,” he says.

Solid networks

No one understands the importance of groups better than photographer and cinematographer Supraket Meshram, who is part of more than 100 groups on Facebook. Of these, approximately 20-30 groups are places where he seeks work or a lead that converts into a project. The balance 70% are groups which are equipment specific-the Sony A7R III user group, Godox users, MagMod users, Moza Air, etc. “The equipment specific groups help me not only learn new tricks, but are a fantastic place to network with the community,” says the 31-year-old. Meshram parallels Facebook groups to a community town hall. “People come in to discuss common agendas, seek out information, and network.” It's also the best place for small businesses to find projects, vendors or leads, he adds.

Perhaps that's one of the reasons the social media platform launched Facebook Jobs earlier in 2018, aimed at people who run small establishments, like say a restaurant or a small business, and don't consider LinkedIn when looking for prospective employees.

Custom-made for small companies

Rashmi Shetty, co-founder of a Mumbai-based PR company Storytellers 101 Communications, is someone who relies on Facebook groups whenever she needs an employee. She would usually head to specialized groups in PR and media, like Media Movements, which she knows are a gold mine of prospective employees. “I'm on these groups for at least two-three hours every week, scouting for the right talent as it is essential for our line of work,” says Shetty, adding that it's essential for companies to be present on specific groups as that's where the best talent is. That's how PR consultant Harpreet Singh Jaggi got hired by Shetty's company. “Facebook groups offer real time job openings, not dated ones,” says 27-year-old Jaggi. The rest, she adds, is the same—you have to apply, ace the interviews to get hired.

Attract passive candidates

According to a survey conducted by Career Builder and released in June 2017, 70% of employers use social media to screen potential hires. While it has become the norm for hiring managers to whet social media accounts of the person they're going to hire, Facebook groups offer another opportunity. Jaggi feels it's important for the employers to be active on these groups too as prospective employees like her are constantly on the lookout for something new.

“A lot of passive candidates have come through these channels to us,” agrees Patil about Indegene, adding that 65-70% of the people who apply through Facebook groups and other social media already know about the company and the work it does in their field. Patil is convinced that a strong presence on these groups is advantageous for a company too, as it gives them a competitive advantage, and helps them reach a wider range of audience. Most importantly, unexplored channels make companies generate good traction for new and niche skill hiring.

It's a win-win situation for both the company and the employee. On the one hand prospective employees find job postings from companies they admire, on the other hand companies can find talent that might be dormant, or quietly on the lookout-hires who haven't reached the career portals yet.

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