, , ,

Recruitment 411: Tips for playing in the Facebook Sandbox

Sometimes people can be downright mean. In 2011, it’s no longer shocking to visit online forums or websites and see a post from someone that is directed at another user and is not only negative, but aggressively nasty.

Unfortunately, that’s the world in which we surf.

The IRS Recruitment Office is keenly aware that many people see social media as a virtual veil they can pull over their identities. It’s a fact that we cannot ignore.

To combat this, we’ve come up with a pretty simple strategy to keep our Facebook wall free of friction toward other users and our employees.

We’ve found that it is imperative to manage expectations. By posting a list of dos and don’ts, visitors to our page know exactly what to expect when they post a comment.

Since day one, we’ve had a message on the info section of our page stating that we will answer questions at least once a week. Naturally, we usually answer questions much more frequently than that – but we take the approach of under-promising and over-delivering. This also saves us face when our other assignments simply do not afford us a great deal of time to answer every inquiry.

We also have a note that states anyone who posts private information – such as an e-mail address or phone number – will have their post removed. The last thing we want is for a fan’s privacy to be compromised after posting on our wall.

Additionally, we let everyone know that we remove posts unrelated to IRS recruitment. This keeps our wall free of spam. An important note about this – just because you remove a spam-type link from your wall, doesn’t mean it’s gone for good. You’ll also need to remove spam posts with links from the ‘links’ section of your page. Just click on ‘links’ under your profile picture and you will see a list of every link that has appeared on your page.

Finally, this brings us back to the meanies. We’ve only had a few people who have posted something outlandishly negative to other users on our wall. There are two of us who regularly monitor the wall, so they weren’t posted very long. We removed them without hesitation, as we created an environment where that kind of posting is simply not tolerated.

Our info statement also says: “We remove… posts that are disrespectful to other users. There are many online forums which allow people to be negative and nasty – the IRS Recruitment Facebook wall is not one of them”

What about your organization – what strategies do you use to manage your Facebook presence?

Recruitment 411 is the official blog of the IRS Recruitment Office.

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Jon Stabbe

Julie – As always, I learn something new everytime I read your blogs. Valuable information. Thanks so much!


Chris IRS Recruiter

Yes, I did see Jeffrey’s discussion – I agree it was good. There are two of us on staff who monitor and manage the Facebook page.

Jeffrey Levy

Julie: we just had someone post 13 times in 12 minutes. What would you do if someone did that? Assume the posts are on the topic of IRS recruitment. In this case, our page is about EPA and the environment, and all his posts were on those topics.

Had we allowed him to post so his stuff was visible alongside our posts, he would’ve totally dominated our page.

Chris IRS Recruiter

Good question Jeffery. If we had a frequent poster like you mention we would do a couple of things. First we would send that person a private Facebook message saying, we see you have a lot of questions about IRS recruitment and offer to put them in touch with a recruiter.

Secondly, we would respond publicly to one of their post and say something like, I’ve sent you a private Facebook message. Thank you for your enthusiastic interest in the IRS. However, we want this page to be a discussion forum for everyone so I’m going to remove your other post.

Jeffrey Levy

Interesting approach. It won’t always be questions. Is the stated purpose of your FB page solely for people to ask questions? Have you clearly defined that, as well as under what circumstances you would remove posts? Have you published your approach so your fans know it? If so, then you’re in great shape!

Our purpose isn’t solely to invite people to ask questions; they’re welcome to express opinions, too. And this guy didn’t have a single question; he just wanted to express his opinions. All relevant to the environment, none violating our comment policy.

I know these seem like challenging questions. I intend them to be supportive and friendly, not in-your-face.

Of course, my fondest wish for you is that you never face that situation and for your fans to use these opportunities as we intend. But people look for whatever window possible to forward their own interests.