After much anticipation about a mystery announcement, Facebook unveiled Graph Search Beta last month. In a nutshell, Graph Search is different from a standard search engine like Google because results are specific to content shared on Facebook. (Note: If you’re panicking about your privacy at this point, there is no need to fear – Facebook has made it clear that the search function still respect the privacy of the audience.) You can read all of the details in Facebook’s Newsroom.

According to Facebook’s press release, the first version is focusing on the following four areas: people, photos, places and interests. Naturally, our team was inclined to examine how this new feature could both empower and endanger recruiting professionals.

For starters, it’s important to note that not everyone has Graph Search. This feature is being rolled out slowly so Facebook can continue to improve and develop the search functionality. To get on the waitlist, you need to visit Once it’s rolled out to your account, you’ll get a prompt to activate the feature. Upon switching to Graph Search, the previous view of the top left of your page will change from this…

Facebook traditional header

To this:

Facebook new header

Now, instead of typing in the white search field, you click or begin typing in the area that displays “Search for people, places and things.” When you click that area, a default list of suggested searches will appear:

Facebook new Graph Search view

We started by clicking on the “Music my friends like.” The results show the musician/band, as well as which of our friends like the results. You also have the option to refine the search on the right side of the page.

Facebook new Graph Search for Music my friends like

Might come in handy if you need gift ideas! From here, we wanted to see what would happen if we had an open requisition for a software developer and wanted to find candidates through Facebook. We’ve blocked out some of the information to respect everyone’s privacy, but as you can see, over 1,000 people are returned in our search. It appears most, but not all, of the search results have at least one mutual friend, and show his or her name.

Facebook new Graph Search for candidates

Now, we can search for candidates that may be tied to my network on Facebook and even narrow results to school, employer, current city, degree and more. The “more” is where we have concern. In addition to the risk of searching for candidates by protected classes such as age and gender, the “see more” option includes fields for religious views and political views.

This could prove an interesting new way to find candidates without having to fork over money for a license to access advanced search on Facebook. It may also show as our social graphs, personal networks and other connections are used to enhance search functionality and discovery of new things, that there are always legal and ethical responsibilities that come with the innovation.

Have you used Graph Search? Are you concerned or excited about the possibilities?

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