What Organizations Can Learn from Facebook's Recruiting Tactics


Facebook just topped Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards as the best place to work in the United States for the third time. This begs the question, how does an organization with more than 23,000 employees and 48 offices around the world manage to recruit and keep top talent satisfied year after year? 

Facebook employees are often placed in roles that play to their strengths and employees are challenged every day to do their best work. This motivation, combined with Facebook’s mission to make the world more “open and connected,” are key factors that enable the organization to attract and retain the world’s top talent.     

Facebook puts a significant amount of time and effort into its recruitment process, and it has clearly paid off. For well-established organizations looking for innovative ways to take their hiring efforts to the next level, here are a few of Facebook’s hiring tactics to use as inspiration to recruit and keep exceptional talent.


“Fit” Matters Most


Facebook prides itself on being a “strengths-based” organization, helping employees pinpoint and expand their talents, rather than focusing on their weaknesses. As a result, the main goal of the interview process at Facebook is to identify a candidate’s strengths and whether or not the person can apply those strengths to the job.  

Facebook applicants also do not need to demonstrate a formal education to land a job. “It would be weird for us to require a college degree (see Zuck). If you can build awesome stuff and have big impact, that’s all we’re really looking for,” Facebook engineer Will Barnett said in a Reddit AMA.

Facebook is known for using Internet-based technical contests as well as hackathons to discover and recruit hidden talent from around the world. Facebook is able to find innovative talent based on a participant’s’ achievements during a contest or hackathon, rather than their background, education, gender, or location.

Nowadays, it’s important for businesses to have flexible but specific standards when it comes to hiring. Many more people are opting for online courses, bootcamps, and other training programs over traditional four-year degrees to develop their skillsets. Consider how your business can attract more applicants that have the right skills for your business – and a passion for making things happen – rather than basing your hiring decisions heavily on formal education requirements.


Upgrade Your Onboarding Process


Facebook encourages new hires to decide which team or project they would like to join by putting them through a six-week boot camp to learn about the various departments and work on real projects. During this time, new hires have full access to Facebook’s technology, a mentor to help answer any questions, and at the end of the six-week program, they are asked: “Which team and project within Facebook would you like to join?”

When most organizations hire a new employee, they rarely allow that employee to decide which team or project he or she would like to work on. Facebook’s flexible onboarding process provides new employees with that choice, and this can be a powerful recruitment tactic. If your business is segmented into teams and works on multiple projects at a time, consider how you can allow new hires to spend time working with different teams and projects before finalizing their place in your organization. New employees will then also have a good understanding of how your organization works as a whole.


Consider Acqui-hiring


Acqui-hiring, a combination of the words “acquire” and “hire,” is the practice of acquiring an organization for the sole purpose of recruiting the talented team, rather than gaining access to the product or service the organization provides.

Acqui-hiring is one of Facebook’s signature recruitment tactics. This tactic helps the organization quickly and seamlessly bring in entire technology teams that already work well together, and avoid wasting time building a new team from scratch.

Although acqui-hiring is a very common practice for technology companies, it can also be used in any industry where there is a great deal of competition for talent. If done correctly, acqui-hiring can immediately provide a productivity boost for your organization. Of course, acqui-hiring is not an easy or cheap option. For businesses that wish to receive all of the same benefits as an acqui-hire, without the expense or aggression, Executive Recruiter David Perry suggests using the “lift-out” model. A ‘lift-out’ involves the recruitment of an intact team, rather than acquiring the entire organization.


Brand Your CEO


In addition to being the CEO, Mark Zuckerberg also acts as Facebook’s “Chief Recruiter” by visiting a number of college campuses each year in order to speak publicly about the organization’s mission and attract talented students to apply. In fact, according to LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Mark Zuckerberg spends up to 50% of his time recruiting talent.

Employer branding,” which denotes an organization’s reputation as an employer, as opposed to its more general corporate brand reputation, is nothing new. However, using it as a strategic recruitment tactic is on the rise as the war for talent heats up. Mark Zuckerberg has achieved celebrity status and aided Facebook’s ranking as the “best place to work in America” by branding himself as the face of the organization and its number one promoter.

Today, people are much more likely to trust what a organization’s leaders and employees are saying about it over any recruitment advertisements that the organization uses. However, hiring-focused executives are still rare, which means there are significant opportunities for your CEO to step up to the plate. Attending events and being open to speaking with potential recruits both online and offline will help lead the best talent to your business, instead of to your competition.

In addition to the recruitment tactics mentioned above, Facebook is also well-known for providing exceptional perks and pay to its employees. When combined, all of these benefits have undoubtedly led Facebook to become one of the most successful recruiters and powerful organizations of all time. By taking these hiring tactics into account, you can build a powerful workforce for your organization, too.

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