How Facebook Is Recruiting Exceptional Talent Today

04/07/2016 04:33 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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Facebook, the largest social network with 1.55 billion monthly active users, is consistently one of the top employers in America. Don't you wonder how a company with nearly 13,000 employees and 49 offices around the world manage to lure top talent year after year? Let's examine Facebook's magnetic appeal and see how we can all learn from it to recruit exceptional talent.

Facebook Recruitment Relies on Fit, Unique Tactics, and the Ability to Change

Fit comes first at Facebook; if you don't share common values that drive the rest of the team, it probably won't work out. "We want to make sure that we approach recruiting in the same way that we approach the design of the product and the services that we deliver to the world," said Miranda Kalinow-ski, Facebook's head of global recruiting, in an interview with in an interview with Business Insider. "And that's with the focus on connection. We want to connect to our candidates in the recruiting or inter-viewing process pretty deeply." This means everyone from engineers to accountants should be driven to make an impact that will help connect the more than 5 billion people who aren't using Facebook yet.

But the fit is just the beginning: Talent, diversity, and a strategic screening process are also critical. Re-cruiting company Recruiting company ERE dissected some of Facebook's recruiting methods and identi-fied the most important aspects of their HR philosophy.

  • Facebook sees employees as vital corporate assets. The company understands the value of its workers; they put a dollar value on employee assets to make calculated risks with recruiting and retention practices. Recognizing the actual value of employees makes it easier to prioritize their growth and success, instead of keeping a narrow focus on the end product.

The company commits serious time and effort to the recruitment process. It has some of the most unusual and innovative approaches to attracting new staff. Facebook:

  • Acquires businesses for their human capital. Some companies buy small enterprises for their customer base or product; Facebook pays close attention to existing talent within the firm. This lets them acquire an entire team that already works well together instead of piecing together something new.

  • Has flexible but specific acceptance standards. Applicants don't need to demonstrate formal education to get a job, but they do need to have the skills, commitment, and drive to make things happen. Evan Priestley didn't finish high school, but he landed a job with Facebook by devising an innovative solution to a Facebook puzzler posted to Red-dit.
  • Uses internal resources to attract recruits. CEO Mark Zuckerberg acts as the chief re-cruiter, speaking in schools and other public forums to get attention and raise Face-book's profile. The company also puts a high value on employee referrals, using "Ninja Hunts" to identify engineers who would fit well.
  • Stages onboarding as a six-week boot camp. It may seem intense, but boot camp lets recruits get their feet wet before they settle into a particular department or specialization. At the end of the six weeks, each person identifies the team and project they'd like to join. This flexible onboarding process helps every new employee move into an area where they're most likely to thrive.
  • Provides employees with exceptional HR benefits and perks. Facebook is well known for its out-standing benefits, including free, high-quality food and unlimited sick days. Happy hours and other campus perks encourage communication and collaboration. Employees socialize and work in the same environment--a mix carefully calculated to inspire new and innovative ideas.
  • Embraces constant change.. The tech industry changes rapidly, and Facebook understands that to stay relevant; it needs to be ready. The company values people who take risks; rather than worry about mistakes, it's more afraid to miss an opportunity.
  • Recruit Exceptional Talent in 2016

    You can use Facebook's recruiting wizardry as inspiration to make meaningful changes; to improve em-ployee engagement and satisfaction as well as your ability to meet strategic business goals. How? Try this:

    1. Think of recruitment as akin to product marketing. Smashfly, a recruitment marketing platform vendor, is built around a concept it calls "recruitment marketing"--the idea that finding the right candidate is a very similar process to acquiring ideal customers. If you market your compa-ny to the talent you want, using the same channels they use, you can more effectively reach and attract the right people. Use brand advocates as part of your efforts; they're an effective way to leverage employee networks, humanize your brand, and provide insight into company culture. Recruitment marketing doesn't replace recruiting; it enhances the process.

  • Be creative but true to your company's core. Facebook understands the core traits and values that drive its success, but every company is different. In Australia, Ikea included hidden career instructions inside product packaging. Google used a mysterious billboard to bring intrigued en-gineers to their door. If it engages candidates and aligns with your recruitment goals, it can help improve talent acquisition.
  • Never stop looking. Some businesses pick up the pace of recruitment as a reaction to business needs or employee turnover. But this is another way recruitment is like product marketing: If you only make an effort when you need quick results, you're too late. Always be on the lookout for qualified candidates, and nurture a recruitment strategy that maintains a constant drip of ac-tivity and engagement.
  • Facebook wins at employee recruiting. Companies can't all be like Facebook--and don't need to be. Look for recruiting ideas that make sense within your organizational framework, and don't be afraid to learn from a few mistakes along the way.

    Smashfly is a TalentCulture client but the views expressed in this post are my own.