Facebook is a great place to connect with friends (or to procrastinate when you really need to be working on a project), but it can also be a great source for your next job search.
A recent survey of generation Z and millennial students by Adecco Staffing USA found that social media plays a large role in assessing potential employers. While most people think of LinkedIn as the primary social platform for job seekers, Facebook was the most popular because it offers information that will help you find a company that’s the right fit for you, says Amy Glaser, senior vice president, Adecco Staffing USA.
"Sixty-one percent of respondents said that Facebook is the most-used social media platform when researching the culture of potential employers, followed by Glassdoor and Instagram," she says.
You can learn a great deal about a company’s values from their social media presence, more so than from their website, says Kyshira Moffett, assistant director of the career center at the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. "Facebook is one of the best kept secrets for the job search," she says.
When looking at a company’s page, experts say there are four things that should have your attention:
Look at photographs to see if they include coworkers working together on unique initiatives, spending time with one another outside the office or traveling to fun destinations, says Glaser. "If so, this could indicate a healthy, welcoming work environment," she says.
Photos can also provide a real vision into whether the company culture is more formal or casual, adds Joe Weinlick, senior vice president at the online career network Beyond.
"This can help with a very tactical consideration—how to dress at the job interview," he says. "If you see photos of people dressed in suits, you'd better do the same for your interview. If the norm is jeans and T-shirts, you still want to dress nicely, but don't overdo it."
Also look to see the kinds of events the company hosts, suggests Weinlick. "Is the company party a formal affair at a five-star restaurant, or shots and beers in the office game room?" he asks. "Picture yourself in any photos or videos. Do you see yourself joining in, or standing on the outskirts watching? You want to work for the company where you want to join in."
Pay attention to the content the company shares as well. "Facebook can be a great tool for determining whether or not you would have opportunities to work on projects and initiatives that interest you at a particular company," says Glaser.
Content can also help you prep for the hiring process, says Moffett. "This proves invaluable for not only interview prep, but also for your resume and pitch as well," she says. For example, if the company is community driven, include volunteer experience on your resume and speak to their commitment to a certain cause when you pitch your interest in the organization, she suggests.
Job seekers should be using Facebook to evaluate a company’s mission focus, says Kent Burns, founder of Simply Driven Executive Search, an executive recruiting firm. "How apparent is the company’s mission from their posts?" he asks. "How well does the company communicate why they do what they do, and does that resonate with you? The important question is, ‘What kind of story is this company telling that makes it clear I belong there?’"
Does the company receive regular, positive comments and interactions on their posts? Does it engage with followers by liking and responding to comments? And how does it reply to negative comments? This could give you a clue to the culture of the company, says Glaser.
"While a company’s tone on Facebook isn’t necessarily indicative of the company’s culture, if a company places emphasis on having a friendly external-facing presence, chances are, they prioritize having a welcoming internal presence, as well," she says.