A Facebook Jobs Board Would Be Big, But Obstacles Remain

You likely heard by now that according to Dow Jones Newswires, Facebook will be launching its own jobs board as soon as August. The effort would be the social network’s first serious exploration of the careers space that many have been predicting for years.

While details about the planned move are sketchy at this point, it is believed that the board would incorporate listings from third-party providers that currently service Facebook-based brand pages.

While this may not be the big, disruptive splash into the employment space that many had hoped for, as one talent acquisition manager told me yesterday, “This is definitely a big deal.”

What Little We Know

The third-party companies involved in the launch are rumored to include names that should be familiar with anyone who has used Facebook for job postings: BranchOut, Jobvite, and Work4Labs. While none of the companies would publicly comment on the matter, past off-the-record conversations have been confident in their relationship with the largest social network and that their future plans were compatible with one another.

What is being suggested is that Facebook will aggregate listings from these third-party applications and perhaps better integrate with Facebook products like Timeline as well as its brand pages. How deep that integration will go is unclear, but my guess would be that such an integration is the key to its success.

If that is all that is planned, that would be a huge disappointment to those who were looking for Facebook to make a big splash in the recruiting industry. Not everyone is disappointed though.

Facebook’s “Big deal” and Its Impact on LinkedIn

“It’s definitely a big deal.”

That’s what Lars Schmidt, director of talent acquisition for media non-profit NPR, said in an interview yesterday afternoon. “Facebook has the potential to be a huge player in recruiting and employer brand marketing,” he said. “However, I still don’t see it as a robust sourcing platform like LinkedIn.”

Indeed, many analysts don’t expect this initial effort to impact LinkedIn. Even so, the shares slid yesterday on the news from Facebook.

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Schmidt said that NPR currently uses Work4Labs (one of the rumored partners) to serve jobs to the brand’s fans and it will be expanding its use soon to its largest brand page (though Schmidt clarifies that they will not be auto-posting jobs to the feed).

Can Facebook Overcome Perception Problems?

Not everyone is crazy about the planned jobs board. Joel Cheesman, former SVP at the job board Jobing, said in an e-mail newsletter sent late Monday that the idea was “terrible.” “Big destination sites getting into the classifieds game has a long history of mediocrity,” he says. “Anyone remember Google Base, eBay’s Kijiji (now eBay Classifieds), MySpace Jobs (powered by Simply Hired), or Yahoo! HotJobs (acquired by Monster)?”

Schmidt admits that Facebook is still largely perceived as a place for personal interactions, not necessarily professional networking. “They’ll see the job on Facebook but they’ll still apply through the careers website,” Schmidt says.

Some of that is privacy based (not wanting job seeking activity to show up in their online activities), but that might be changing with younger professionals being more open to connect with co-workers and even supervisors on the social network.

Still, for a couple of my non-recruiting friends, Facebook isn’t even on the radar when it comes to job seeking. “I wouldn’t even think of looking on Facebook for a job,” said one. That’s a perception that Facebook and its partners will have to change.


10 Comments on “A Facebook Jobs Board Would Be Big, But Obstacles Remain

  1. I think more and more people will come around to the idea of posting jobs on Facebook. Already companies like HP, McDonalds, and Starbucks are using job applications on their Facebook pages for potential candidates to apply with. The privacy issue is definitely an area of concern for most, but as long as users know there basic information is being viewed and not their photos, I don’t see why people wouldn’t want to apply with their Facebook.

    I work for Identified where we provide Employer Solutions when it comes to Facebook.
    Check us out at employers.identified.com
    We offer social media management, TalentLink (job posting application) and ProSearch (passive sourcing of candidates up to 2nd connections)

  2. For the thousands of job seekers and companies already using apps like Work4 Labs’ Work for Us every day–and for those who might be hesitant about diving into social recruiting–this is definitely big news. Perceptions of Facebook are changing as well, as job seekers in particular are increasingly aware of how to leverage their social media profiles to connect with potential employers.

    Thanks for the article! And we <3 NPR!


  3. An interesting move by FB, but primarily to generate future value through ad revenue. Some key points about the deal – it’s all about aggregation for broader leverage:
    -Job Aggregation Indeed/SimplyHired style
    -App aggregation and force multiplier, Branchout, Beknown, Jobvite, Work4Labs, etc.
    -FB company career site aggregation, companies creating FB career pages

    The latter is of most significance here and FB is smart to take advantage of it. This plays into employment branding far more than sourcing.

    Should have limited impact to LI, except perhaps in the rumor mill.

  4. I think becoming a job board by using aggregate listings from these third-party applications is a disappointing start for Facebook’s debut into becoming a job board site. Although it has a large members following, I think they will find it harder than they think for members to start looking at them as a professional and/or job seekers resource, since Monster, Indeed and Career Builders are front runners with a solid base already.

    I think is will be a long time before LinkedIn will feel any squeeze from Facebook. LinkedIn has a solid market share among professionals; it didn’t have to overcome a brand of being a “personal interactions” network like Facebook does. Facebook will not only have to convince members that their information is secure but that they can pull off being both a personal interaction site as well as a professional network site. Then people will have to make a decision as to whether they want to make a “professional” facebook profile or clean up their existing “social” one. If they are going to have to make a new one, I would image most would opt to make a professional one on LinkedIn and keep their professional and personal profiles separate.

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