Why Facebook Will Destroy LinkedIn

The Wall Street Journal recently published a story by Joe Light that highlighted certain employers, such as Waste Management, finding more recruitment success on Facebook than on LinkedIn.

“Facebook hires account for less than 1% of the total hires companies are making,” Light noted, quoting Jobs2Web’s recent analysis. “But if current growth trends continue, Facebook could rival traditional job boards in 2012.”

But it isn’t just the job boards that should be worried. Facebook will destroy LinkedIn, too. Here’s why:

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  • LinkedIn has 120 million members; Facebook has 750 million. Employers understand the concept of fishing where the fish are.
  • The perception that Facebook is made up of flaky teenagers while LinkedIn includes only business professionals is wrong. The two sites’ average ages are just two years apart (38 for Facebook, 40 for LinkedIn). So there are plenty of 30-somethings on Facebook with years of work experience who are considering a career change.
  • LinkedIn is under attack by a major job board. In June, Monster launched BeKnown, an application that turns Facebook into a recruiting platform. It has 760,000 active monthly users after just two months. Instead of joining forces with LinkedIn, Monster chose to bypass the professional site and ally itself with Facebook.
  • LinkedIn is also drawing fire from a startup. BranchOut, founded by former SuperFan CEO Rick Marini, is a similar application with 2.7 million monthly users. Like BeKnown, BranchOut overlays employer information on top of the Facebook interface while shielding personal data (like embarrassing photos) from recruiters’ eyes. The success of these apps shows that millions of job seekers don’t want to leave their favorite website when looking for work.
  • LinkedIn can’t compete with Facebook’s social marketing. A major part of job searching involves personal references and word of mouth. Facebook is designed for just such interactions, as its “Recommended Pages” on a user’s home page shows. Instead of “Three friends like Pepsi,” users might soon see “Three friends applied to work at PepsiCo.” This sort of peer-to-peer marketing, effective in virtually every other field, will be impossible to duplicate on LinkedIn.

Facebook has more people, spending more time on the site, using innovative technology and getting personal referrals. LinkedIn has only its reputation and clean—bordering on empty—interface. I predict 2011 will be a tough year for the professional networking site. 2012 will be brutal. And, sometime in 2013, Facebook will finally destroy LinkedIn.

Jody Ordioni is the author of “The Talent Brand.” In her role as Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Brandemix, she leads the firm in creating brand-aligned talent communications that connect employees to cultures, companies, and business goals. She engages with HR professionals and corporate teams on how to build and promote talent brands, and implement best-practice talent acquisition and engagement strategies across all media and platforms. She has been named a "recruitment thought leader to follow" and her mission is to integrate marketing, human resources, internal communications, and social media to foster a seamless brand experience through the employee lifecycle.


78 Comments on “Why Facebook Will Destroy LinkedIn

  1. I disagree – we hear over and over again that business professionals find the need to silo their personal and professional relationships. (I know I feel that way!) They are turned off by recruiters approaching them on Facebook – the place they have designated for their personal relationships. I think the real game changer will be Google+ that has the functionality to silo these relationships on the same platform through the use of circles. Whether or not Google+ will actually take off though – that’s another matter.

  2. As a seasoned and mature recruiting professional that has used every form of online recruiting tools, there is no substitute for the old fashioned process. i.e. pick up the phone, ask for a meeting and discuss the opportunity.
    The web is for gathering information, not recruiting.

  3. Interesting perspective and you bring up some great points on emerging competition. LinkedIn is not standing still and will continue to innovate (diversify). There are thousands of companies (and individuals) that have invested in LinkedIn Corporate Recruiter licenses. If you look at the momentum (revenue growth) of LinkedIn and how both companies have co-existed over the years… I think it is over stated that Facebook will destroy LinkedIn in 2013. The real challenge for both companies is monetizing their membership while respecting their privacy.

  4. From a recruiting perspective I think the number of members on FB could be seen as inflated. Here’s an actual example: a family of 5 is on FB, mom and dad each have a page, but they also have a page created for each child whose ages range from 3 – 7 years old. That’s 5 members for FB. On LinkedIn only the dad has an account – 1 member for LinkedIn.

    I also agree with Sarah that many like to silo their personal and professional lives. Without knowing much about BeKnown or Google+ which may indeed change the recruiting landscape in the near future, I wouldn’t count out LinkedIn. Personally, I prefer to only focus on the professional aspects of a candidate. LinkedIn does a very good job of providing a professional summary of a candidate’s work experience, companies worked for and industry experience.

  5. I disagree, too, but for different reasons. It may well be that Facebook will be the 800 pound gorilla of recruitment. It may be that Facebook will have commercial success in recruitment. But that doesn’t make it better or even good.

    The only way to get improvement in recruitment is to use what we know, to use science. (That statement is so obvious as to be embarrassing, but it’s also not widely known. Ironic.) Facebook doesn’t. Nor does BranchOut or BeKnown. We can get the right people in the right jobs and while the internet and social media help access people they do not contribute to getting the right answer. Quite the contrary. Use science – use assessments, do it in the privacy that this requires and match people to the performance drivers for jobs. THAT is the right way to improve hiring. Not cruising or surfing (how serious do those sound?) in social media.

  6. Whether it’s through Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google +, etc., recruiter’s can now see more about candidates than ever before.

    I’m most interested to see what the next step in social recruiting will be.

  7. Good article… We believe Google+ will destroy Facebook, after all Google owns Youtube. Linkedin is and always will be better for recruiting…. Why? its a business network… Facebook/Google+ are “social” networks… People don’t go there to get pitched, whereas they do directly/indirectly on Linkedin. Branchout (app via facebook) is only as good as the content added to platform, and until facebook/google+ entice people to add “buzz words” to their profiles, it is not “searchable”, from our perspective… best to ALL!

  8. Great article! Linked In seems to have gone stagnant. Not much different than when I started using it (one of the first million users) while Facebook has launched multiple innovations aimed at recruiting since it came onto the scene. IHMO, Facebook is the hungry up and comer, while LinkedIn has gone soft and comfortable. that is why it will be crushed.

    As far as the comments about “old fashioned recruiting”…gimme a break! Fist you need research and lists (which all these sites provide) THEN you can bang the phone. They work together, as always!

  9. NO!! FB is not Linkedin’s real competitor, BranchOut or BeKnown are. If Linkedin realizes this too and they launch an app on FB, Linkedin will wipe out BranchOut, BeKnown and other Linkedin clones…..

  10. Great points, Jody. LinkedIn does offer a strong suite of recruiter solutions which will continue to improve. But, any recruiting team that is not at least considering Facebook as part of their overall recruitment marketing strategy is falling behind. Clients are asking about Facebook everyday and we spend a good deal of time educating them on an overall strategy.

  11. It’s great to see this debate. A lot of good points all around.

    I do question Brian’s claim that Facebook is only a social network and “people don’t go there to get pitched.” Why, then, do people “like” the Facebook pages for brands, companies, movies, TV shows, and sports teams? They receive content and offers in return, but surely they know they’ve just signed up to be marketed to. They’re actively signing up for that privilege, in fact.

    If all these companies and brands are already on Facebook, not to mention the advertisers, then why do people find it such a great leap that employers will stake a claim there? It seems alien to us now, but my company is always looking ahead. Like Scott said, LinkedIn believes it’s indestructible and doesn’t seem to want to innovate, which I think will prove fatal.

    I’m reminded of Blockbuster, which once dominated home video and now struggles with irrelevancy. In, say, 1998, did anyone at Blockbuster see Netflix coming? Why not?

  12. How to get buzz? Make a wild statement backed up with a few plausible possibilities…looks like that’s what we have here. Good job Jody in getting buzz – but I doubt that the $8-9B nest egg that LI is figuring out how to make use of will be overcome by FB apps anytime soon…as Rob Bialk and others have pointed out, LI has a huge number of corp. recruiting clients (almost 3K at end of 2010) and a ridiculous number of these are the largest U.S. companies.

    Certainly shear numbers position FB as a big future competitor – but there is a whole lot still to play out there. As the WMI person stated only 1% of hires comes from FB – can’t see how this will suddenly change to 20-25% in a year or so…and as mentioned by others – you have neglected to mention Google + in your predictions – who with the deepest poskets of them all ($40B in revenue) could be the real “elephant the room.” No question that the recruitment marketplace has decisions to make and these more than likely won’t be made in a year or so.

    You also didn’t mention Community based solutions of which many are predicting will be the holy grail of corp. recruiting as the marketplace evolves… Which ever emerges its still very, very early in how this will all pan out – but good for you for firing up the “what if” machine!

  13. Where have you read that LinkedIn thinks it is indestructible? LinkedIn has recently launched some interesting enhancements. I think Facebook is a great social application for wedding pictures, fraternity meetings and connectivity for fun. For serious business I use LinkedIn. I see Facebook as a consumer or “friend-to-friend” tool. LinkedIn is a serious business tool that has more business information. Facebook for show and LinkedIn for dough!

  14. While I agree with the supporting points, I completely disagree with your conclusion (and hyped up headline). By your rationale, McDonald’s will crush all steak houses around the globe in a few years. That simply is not going to happen.

    The demise of LinkedIn has been predicted every year since its inception. Facebook has been predicted to become huge in recruitment for many years.

    Will the online recruiting market change? Yes, over some years, sure. Will it be as simple as Facebook destroying LinkedIn. Absolutely not.

  15. How about this Rob…Facebook is the Living/Family Room, Linked In is the Office/Den and Google+ is the addition waiting for permit approval from the Zoning Office…(for now!)

  16. Just to be clear, I’m not predicting that Facebook, as it is now, will compete with or replace LinkedIn.

    However, applications like BeKnown and BranchOut are virtually turning Facebook INTO LinkedIn, and thus users will eventually have no need to leave the former for the latter.

    I urge everyone who has doubts to install BeKnown, BranchOut, or a similar job search app onto their Facebook page, even temporarily. When I did, the apps immediately created networks for me based on my friends’ connections, just like LinkedIn. I was able to ask my friends to introduce me to these connections, just like Linked In. I was able to search for and apply to jobs, just like LinkedIn.

    LinkedIn isn’t behind any of these innovations. They’re not taking part in them or reaping any of the benefits. They’re letting rivals (Monster) and start-ups (BranchOut) duplicate or even improve their functionality on the world’s second-most popular website, while they do nothing. If no one sees that as dangerous to LinkedIn, they’re more optimistic than I am.

  17. KC I like your analogy.

    Jody you may be right and time will tell.

    Jody you are in the biz. I am impressed you are on your game. But I think the average person is weary of another application like LinkedIn or Monster.

    My three degrees on LinkedIn is approaching 11 million which is a time investment that me and many similar users would not want to walk away from…

    Plus their search capabilities are the best available. Plus if I wanted to be seen I know the majority of all recruiters live in LinkedIn. Are all of these new tools OFCCP compliant?

  18. No matter…all these sites serve as resources for recruitment and referrals for many (ie. research, candidate identification, name generation etc).

    But, I feel also that it depends at what level you are recruiting for (individual contributor vs middle or senior management). Many senior-level managers and executives (whom I recruit) reveal little about themselves (if at all) on Facebook, let alone on LinkedIn.

    Good research and phone sourcing/recruitment skills (the “old-fashioned” method) is the easiest, fastest and most effective for me.

    To each it’s own! And Happy Hunting!

    Judy Kerns
    Executive Sourcing Group

  19. Jody,

    I hear what you say, and think you have a really interesting point. However, for BeKnown and BranchOut to work, people are forced to mix personal and professional lives. Many people will not want to turn their colleagues into FB “friends”. So while the effect you describe may happen to some level, I, for one, have a much different circle of connections on LI than FB. I suspect that is the case for the majority of users who are on both platforms.


  20. Jody’s associate Jason Ginsburg will appear on the Recruiting Animal Show Aug 17 at noon EDT to discuss this important issue.

    Click here.

    I asked #BranchOut to come on and its Twitter reps were interested but the marketing manager refused. He sent me some promo lit and closed by saying he’d like to meet me at ERE. Cool.

  21. Great comments… It is clear from the comments who the marketers (lead generation) and sales (closers) folks are!!!

    Question to community:

    If you did CRITICAL retained/contingent search for one of your clients, what site would you go to first Facebook or Linkedin?

    If you are a Corporate Recruiter and did a CRITICAL search would you go to Linkedin or Facebook first?

    Best to all…

  22. I’ve been watching LinkedIn’s status as go-to sourcing tool slowly erode for years. Whether it’s taken down by Facebook, Google+, or something else, LinkedIn’s days of dominance are numbered. For stockholders, they do need to make some move to build on their valuable goodwill. But even if they don’t, they will be around past 2013.

  23. What’s interesting is that two major points haven’t been mentioned about Linkedin that Facebook isn’t currently able to touch. One is the Linkedin Groups. I’m able to instantly tap into a group of my peers without trying to connect with every one of them. For Facebook, you’d have to search out and individually connect with each person. No thanks. I don’t have time for that. Second is the integration of industry and economic news within your profile. Again, I don’t have time to page through hundreds of rss feeds to gather relevant news. Linkedin has completely integrated news that is simple, accessible, and, more importantly, sharable with either your Linkedin network and/or groups. I use Facebook once or twice a week. I use Linkedin daily. Why? It’s a better professional resource – not just for recruiting, but for my career in general. Facebook’s got no leg up, as long as Linkedin keeps its head on straight.

  24. Outstanding debate and great insights. I also disagree with the conclusion that FB will trump LI in 2 year’s time. I liken this to a baseball team that on paper, seems to have everything they need to win the world series – talent, leadership, experience – but at game time, regardless of how things look on paper – 750m vs 120m users, $8b valuation vs. $50b,etc – it all comes down to behavior. The players have to “behave” in the right way to win the world series. In my view, I don’t see the users of LI changing their behavior in such a way that will combine their personal and professional networks. We’re already hearing about FB losing profiles in the US due to over-saturation, lack of privacy and online fatigue, but I have yet to hear about people leaving LI because they are tired of making professional connections and learning about companies. In my view, there is the need for both – a “personal” online network to talk about kids, share pics, etc. and a “professional” network that is all about career management & professional development. Netflix crushed Blockbuster because they found a faster and more convenient way to deliver a product – I don’t think anyone would say FB is a faster or more convenient way to find a job or enhance business development.

  25. I don’t know whether Facebook will destroy LinkedIn in recruitment. In my own field – PR & marketing – it’s pretty clear that LinkedIn lacks a clear vision of how to tackle brands and companies.

    Facebook has finally seen the light by allowing brands rather than people to communicate directly with stakeholder (‘post as a page’). Facebook pages offer a great way to make brands and companies come alive with content in a continuous stream. On LinkedIn, not so much. Brands or companies can’t post in groups, for one thing. The system of Q&A and Groups (now ‘Open Groups’) is a complete shambles. The company ‘product information’ offers no value at all: most companies and brands already have a website, and LinkedIn offers no compelling reason to copy paste all my content into the ‘product’ pages.

    Taken together, the LinkedIn strategy for anything other than resumé building seems very incoherent, and they need to get that straightened out, or someone – probably Facebook – will eat their lunch.

    More here: http://www.finn.be/blogs/why-linkedin-and-facebook-try-fail-bring-value-b2b-brands

  26. I disagree with this article. “More fish” is not necessarily a good thing. I’d rather fish from a smaller pond with better fish. Facebook and LinkedIn serve two different purposes: people need to separate their personal from their professional social networking. I like the idea of going to a separate site to share pictures and keep up with my friends, and a separate site to post my job qualification and join professional networking groups. I don’t like the idea of having one website try to do everything. There should be some separation.

  27. My problem with Jody’s assumption is the lack of professional data that exists on Facebook. People usually don’t post their resume to their FB page whereas when you sign up for LinkedIn, you are required to build out your profile to include things like work history, skill sets and buzz words. From a search standpoint, LinkedIn absolutely destroys FB. With that said, any good recruiter is going to leverage all of the tools in their bag, not just one. I see LinkedIn, FB, Twitter, Google+, job boards and ATS’ as pieces of an organization’s overall recruiting strategy. Someone made an excellent point about Google+ and circles which allow you to filter out what and who you share with. As a technical recruiter I’ve already found G+ to be a useful tool. I would consider all of the members to be early adopters and many of them are pretty technical folks. There are tons of developers and IT professionals already using Google+. Also, Jody makes no distinction between LinkedIn and the LinkedIn recruiter tool which in my opinion is the most powerful recruiting tool out there.

  28. Also, I’d love to know what percentage of Facebook’s 750 million users are under 21 vs. the percentage of LinkedIn users under 21. In my 8 years of recruiting I have never had an opening that could be filled by someone under 21. Just saying

  29. I agree with your take on Facebook, Kristien. My firm, BRANDEMiX, is first and foremost an employer branding agency, and we believe Facebook has a better vision of how to serve brands and companies, by allowing them to interact with users seamlessly.

    Facebook allows smaller companies to inexpensively launch and promote an authentic employer value proposition. LinkedIn has recently added tools but they come at a hefty cost — $10,000 for one of the packages.

    I know that a strong employer brand leads to recruiting results. And, right now, Facebook is far more kind to brands.

  30. Judy and Kristien both raise excellent points: the recruiting potential of Facebook is especially apparent in the rapid growth of B2B and other non-consumer facing companies on Facebook. A company with a strong brand, particularly those in retail, media, etc will never have a problem attracting fans and thus candidates through their Facebook Page.

    However, many financial/professional services, staffing, pharmaceutical, and staffing firms (which don’t have as well known of a brand as, say, Hard Rock Cafe or L’Oreal) are getting excellent results by posting their jobs on Facebook. Additionally, we’re not just talking about success with millennials, but with more experienced and specific positions as well.

    Our company Work4 Labs (www.work4labs.com) develops that software that many of these companies to use to post and advertise their jobs on Facebook. Below are just a few examples of non-consumer facing companies that have done particularly well with our app. Facebook is already a very strong sourcing channel for B2C and B2B companies, and Facebook will only become a more valuable recruiting channel over time.


  31. I am surprised that this is even an issue with recruiters. BOTH are sources of names – that is all. And there are no sites that carry ALL the working professionals in any given field. It suprises me that many corporate and company recruiters believe that these sites will create hires, they are only lists, you need to connect personally with them to get a hiring process started. None of these sites will make a hire for you, you have to get involved, you have to communicate. No one gets hired from their profile page or without an interview and that process will never change nor should it (even though qualified candidates do get rejected by “the system” they will never get hired by it). In 34 years of recruiting I have never heard of someone getting a job offer without speaking with or meeting a hiring manager in the process. So you still have to “get on the phone” to get the process started. I have an internal database of over 40,000 engineers, my researcher did a data check against linkedin and ONLY 20% of those she checked had a profile. Not sure about Facebook but that is not a “professional site”, that could change over time, but what everyone fails to realize is that many of the best in the business don’t have the time OR the inclination to “put themselves out there”. Want to check the reality – ask your own employees – the “best” in your organization if they have a profile on either and how much time they spend updating it. You may be suprised at the results, exspecially if you think that these are the “be all/end all” to your recruiting challenges.

    as always, Happy Hunting


  32. To say that FB will grow to rival job board hires by 2013 (J2W Report) is not saying a whole heck of a lot as Job Boards only deliver a 4-6% hire rate for ads placed. Sure going from 1% to 4% is a big increase – but it’s still a small number…

    There are a few different things at play in this thread – some are talking about FB possibilities for employment marketing and others are talking about FB Hires Made and Recruiting. There is no question that different Social Networks do things better than others. LI is focused on business interactions (mostly for recruiting). Facebook is mostly for social interactions (gaming, etc.) – but with 500 million U.S. users or so have found they can also effectively provide business interactions (mostly marketing at this stage). The number of FB Monthly Average Users (MAU) for the recruiting apps in use compared to LI is minuscule 3MM v. 50MM+. It remains to be seen if the level of recruitment engagement on FB expands to compete with LI – and if more hires are made than using traditional Job Boards. If FB can bridge the gap between socializing and doing business with their huge user community, they can certainly give LI a run for their money.

    The real company to watch in all this is Monster who may have a real brand identity problem on their hands if Beknown becomes the FB “go to” vehicle used to compete with LI – their Job Board business could wane and they could be gobbled up by Zuckerberg and company at some future point. Of course, Branchout may have something to say about that!

  33. As for strict Recruiting in Social Networks, I disagree with Jim to a degree. With public LI Groups and FB business pages (and groups) there is no doubt that these tend to be more geared to people that are looking for a discount, a bit of entertainment or a job. Its tough to engage in these settings – although it is done, its not the best venue for hiring. On the other hand, I can easily see with Advanced Engagement techniques that there can be a day where ALL pre-hire activity is conducted in a company specific Talent Community. In this setting, hiring people can conduct assessment “events” that take 1/2 the time of phone screens and provide 100% better understanding of those they’re assessing using an event. It’s pretty simple to see how a hiring manager or recruiter would build functional “short lists” of people they like. With the membership in these communities kept motivated, this can provide a recurring pool of candidates to dip into when hiring is needed.

    The fun thing about this prediction is that its not a prediction at all – as it is happening as we speak (Tribepad, Upwardly Me, etc. and others…).

  34. Good points, K.C. Some people seem to think that nothing will change — Facebook will be for socializing and LinkedIn will be for professional networking, forever. But when is the internet not changing? Ask AOL or MySpace. Or ask Twitter, which no one saw coming and is now a dominating force on the internet.

    I’m looking at trends and indicators and studies that show that LinkedIn is headed for trouble. Facebook, Monster, and startups are starting to fill the cracks in its interface.

    I’m not saying that I can predict the future. But I CAN predict that the future won’t look like the present.

  35. Totally agree – I posted this thought on Twitter in a popular Tweetchat session and it got a ton of responses (RT’s).

    It is early days in #SocialRecruiting – the final chapter will not be written by FB OR LI…

    Just some food for thought!

  36. I’ve tried to use Branch Out. It’s junk. It’s ineffective. The way it looks now, LinkedIn has nothing to worry about. From a user perspective, LinkedIn’s interface is much better than Branch Out. It is difficult to find what you’re looking for. When you’re in Branch Out, there’s a huge ad at the top so you have to scroll down to see your profile. I think it will be years before Facebook gets close to what LinkedIn is doing.

  37. Note to Jim Sullivan… I agree with all of your comments. Except to say your inventory of Engineers is richer than LinkedIn. LinkedIn has millions of engineers in their membership. I would be surprised if they did not have many times more than what you have. You probably do not have a premium license? What type of engineer do you specialize in…?

  38. RE: Robert B – I didn’t say that my inventory is richer than LI just that not ALL the talent is there – or anywhere else for that matter. I have spoken with many engineers, managers and related professionals that don’t want to be “out there”. And my small study was just that, a small study that proved to me that getting connected “in the networks” is still only a small part of the world we recruiters need to connect with to get the job done.

    To rely exclusively on any of the “networks” is to still miss much of the talent pool, and very often some of the best and brightest, who can’t be bothered with it or don’t want to be “out there”.

    All of the “tools” and ideas to make it easier to find talent are great. Hey, I started in the business when the fax machine did not exist, embraced computerized database technology in 1978, entered the world of the internet in the early 1990’s, and have used most tools that have come along that will help me in my recruiting efforts and will embrace new ones as they come along. BUT they are just tools, in order to hire the best you still need to turn over and look under the first layer, and the second and the third. That is why niche agencies will continue to provide a valuable service, because that is where we spend our time – peeling back the layers to find the gold in the ore.

    A questions for all the in house human resource team members and managers: Do you WANT all your best talent “out there” for others to find? Will that make your job easier or harder? Will that improve your company or create gaps in your succession planning?

    And always remember we are dealing with PEOPLE and whatever you expect they will do just the opposite more frequently than not.

    Again, as Always,
    Happy Hunting!


  39. Jim, you asked a question for all the in house human resource team members and managers “out there”:

    “Do you WANT all your best talent “out there” for others to find? Will that make your job easier or harder? Will that improve your company or create gaps in your succession planning?”

    I’m amazed nobody has thought to ask this question before.
    Such common sense is rare.

    By the way, I’m encountering more and more reluctance in the workforce (doing profiling work) to “participate” in social media.
    But there are those who say I have an agenda to say this.
    So be it.
    It deserves to be said.

    “Privacy is the new luxury.” <-I said it first.

  40. It’s clear LinkedIn will not be dead by 2013. No matter what, the last LinkedIn login is still many years in the future (probably made by our machine overlords).

    I think Julie Pentis hit the essential core of the question:

    Since Facebook and LinkedIn currently serve two different purposes, DO people need to separate their personal from their professional social networking ?

    Jody (original poster) totally disagrees:

    “Some people seem to think that nothing will change — Facebook will be for socializing and LinkedIn will be for professional networking, forever. But when is the internet not changing? Ask AOL or MySpace”

    For my part, I don’t think social is in the DNA of LinkedIn (or they could have BEEN Facebook), and you can’t seperate business from social once you are making any real money. I think it’s a technical and cultural challenge for Facebook to solve, which they may or may not- leadership can come from any direction. Impossible to place a date on it, but Jody’s thesis is probably correct.

    While likely correct, it’s also not likely that important how Facebook and LinkedIn fare as business to the shape of the future.

    Thinking beyond that narrow question, it’s inevitable that more and more people will present themselves to the world as multimedia productions of the enterprise which is their lives, and ratings will work as they always have: dollars, viewers, followers, eyeballs, and attention will be the coin of the realm for some, while production values and art will be for others. Products and services that enable that evolution will thrive, and recruiting, or the act of hooking up people and opportunity, will be more and more central to everything.

    Werd !

  41. RE: Maureen – Thank you for the kudos!

    And I too have talked to many that refuse to be part of ANY network. I have heard things like – “I don’t want to be found”… “I don’t have the time or inclination to do that” … “I joined years ago but have never been back” and similar responses.

    I really like your quote: “Privacy is the new luxury.”

    Many have already made the decision to remain anonymous! Good for them. Some of the ones touting some of these systems may not realize that many people see them as a step in the direction of “Big Brother” of Orwell’s 1984.

    Happy Hunting

  42. LinkedIn’s new, fully revamped iPhone app is full of innovation and should be checked out by all recruiters with iPhones. LinkedIn will clearly continue their leadership as the professional networking platform for at least 5 years.

    BranchOut has many detractors still because it does not yet have critical mass and is available only within the McDonald’s Playground of social networking.

    BeKnown is way behind BranchOut, is a blatant copycat with an inferior user experience, and is hampered by being affiliated with Monster, which has lagged for years in both the job posting and the social networking spaces.

    Yes, recruiters need to keep an eye out on all these tools. Yes, the Internet and mobile technology and social networking will continue to evolve. Yes, one day LinkedIn will fall.

    But there are no clear indicators that Facebook is definitively on track to “destroy” LinkedIn within the next two years or even the next 5 years.

    By the way, personal privacy as a valuable asset was extensively discussed in “The 500 Year Delta: What Happens After What Comes Next” by Jim Taylor and Watts Wacker back in 1998.

  43. Is the Internet’s inherent ability to catalog all online activity going back to the stone age (1995 give or take) causing people to not participate in the Social Web? Is it really driving people underground, to disconnect or “unplug?” Maybe a few, but as demonstrated by the million people a day that sign up for Google+ or the person that joins LinkedIn every second – sounds like they are in the very small minority!

    It is inherent in the human psyche to be part of a Community going back to the first real Cave people who formed social communities for comfort and survival… Technology has enabled our “wired” world to create communities so simply that there are communities from the most obscure to the ridiculous. To say that people bailing from online Communities is increasing is just plain not true. Sure, there are gobs of people not on LinkedIn or Facebook that we want to connect with for our jobs – but ask Maureen if they aren’t found elsewhere online…mostly they are! There are about 140 million U.S. workers and LinkedIn has about a third of them. On Facebook, its a bit more difficult to figure out since they have many people aged under 21 and at least a few hundred million from outside the U.S. – they also have several million that are retired from the workforce so it gets a bit harder to discern – but suffice to say that they don’t have the “other” 2/3 in their midst.

    Privacy may be the new luxury – but I can attest that I only employ one dedicated sourcer today when 6-7 years ago we had a team of them. Lets face it – the task today in recruiting is not finding “who,” its getting the “who” to respond and get energized about the business you run or the job you need someone to do!

  44. I completely disagree with this article, and agree with the larger number of comments. While facebook has the numbers, I too separate my professional from personal persona & profiles. In fact due to several positions I have held and the work I was doing, I ended up with 4 different Facebook accounts. These 4 accounts were 1 legitimate account with the other 3 serving as fragmented facebook profiles.

    I would never seek to promote myself or my business through Facebook since I am not in the advertising/marketing department. I have little faith that facebook is just another “current” myspace clone from years ago. Because of this I would never look to leverage Facebook or its audience for my professional self.

    <3 LinkedIn. I would also disagree that LinkedIn has a limited or non-existent interface since they have made numerous improvements over the years. LinkedIn is not focusing their attention to grab the next hip and cool widgets or exposed APIs. They have always and continue to stay true to their mission of keeping professionals connected and permitting meaningful networking through the social media platform. You don't see any time invested at LinkedIn to try and extend their systems to "gaming" such as Farmville, etc.

    This is why the LinkedIn brand is so much stronger than facebook in my opinion. Its the no nonse or spam place that professionals go to connect and network. Thats what I expect from them and thats precisely what they deliver.

  45. I would like to bring to the notice the platform used for sharing this article and numbers
    LinkedIn 420
    tweet: 336
    FB 233
    Most people reading this article chose the above platform because of certain reasons.
    However you are talking about 2012. Situation might change by then and the numbers might be much larger for FB.

  46. Great catch Badri! I guess the proof is in the pudding. If FB was really poised to take over LI in 2012, we would already see these results heavily skewed towards FB sharing. It’s just not the case. LinkedIn FTW

  47. Completely disagree with this view, for a number of reasons, some that have already been aired. FB is social, Linkedin is business. I started using Branchout but to be honest can’t see it gaining the penetration.

    Also for it to work people have to be more open about their employment on FB whereas on LI it is ALL about employment. A lot of people (in the UK anyway) keep their social life away from their work life so why merge the two and do people want to be notified of jobs all the time if they are playing Farmville?

    I do however think that both sites could be affected by Google+ when that gets going. It has the potential to combine, with simplicity, both business and social activities in one fell swoop but again early days.

    What this all says is that no social media (or business networking) site should take its dominance for granted (remember MySpace?) and that hyperbole about the demise of this or that site should be avoided!

  48. I agree with Sarah. How many people when they first signed up for Facebook, did so, because they were looking for a new job? Not many I suspect. When you posted all those pictures of your kids splashing in the pool, was it because you hopped some Recruiter would be looking and call you? I certainly don’t think so.

    When you sign up for LinkedIN, right then, your profile has options for things like: interested in “career opportunities”. You know what the site is about right from the get go.

    Recruiting off of Facebook crosses the line between personal and professional and attempts to mask personal information are weak.

    Instead of trying to put lipstick on a pig, what we need is more sites in the similar vain of LinkedIN – something that doesn’t tease us to get us to all sign up – and then clamps down on what we can see/do in an effort to get us to buy outrageously expensive “packages” for this and “packages” for that.


  49. We block facebook, but not LinkedIn. LinkedIn works for us now due in large part to the professional image of the platform. facebook remains a social distraction and security liability as we see it.

  50. I’m enjoying how recruiters are getting themselves in a collective lather over someone’s opinion about social media. It appears that all my friends here are lying in wait just to get someone in a “GOTCHA!” moment (as in where people are “discussing” this article).

    But then again Jody started it by writing that “…the two sites’ average ages are just two years apart (38 for Facebook, 40 for LinkedIn)” – which conjures up the adage, “There are 3 types of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Average age +/-??? Any modes? Median? Sorry, not a great use of descriptive statistics.

    All arguments aside, the initial premise of each tools is very different and this premise has driven the growth of each tool. Frankly, the difference in number of users is irrelevant to me; FB has my niece, nephew, and hundreds of my hedonistic lifeguard friends on it…IN does not. While the potential exists for FB to become a powerful platform for job search and recruiting, it’s not there in its current incarnation. IN is already there.

    Frankly, the discussion of which one is better makes me chuckle. Consider that the premise behind most recruiters saying one is better than the other is that they want to find that one catch-all tool for all their recruiting needs.

    Get it? Most recruiters would be happy if all they had to do was log in to one tool and use it as their primary, secondary, tertiary, etc. recruiting tool. Is this how the best recruiters find the best talent?

  51. Jody, I think you made some good points that might have been missed in the exaggerated use of the word “destroy”, but hey, it increased your readership! I won’t rehash what’s already been said, but I do want to point out that LinkedIn serves many other purposes besides recruiting and job seeking. It’s a professional networking tool primarily and a job hunting/recruiting tool secondarily, but us recruiters sometimes have a myopic view of it. It’s also a fantastic tool to support sales/business development. If you consider the relational data that LinkedIn has, much of which Facebook does not have, that alone secures their future. They just need to be smart about developing premium products and services aren’t just geared towards recruiting, which is where they seem to have spent most of their product dev time thus far.

  52. Late with my comments but this is somewhat similar to what I’ve been saying for a while now. But let me make clear that I don’t think that Linkedin will disappear and it certainly won’t be in 2013. Linkedin certainly is used for more things than just recruitment.

    The reasons that I think that FB has the potential to become a very serious competitor for LI are:

    1) people in the 15-20 year age group are on FB
    2) They have never heard of LI
    3) FB is their playground and in the DNA. There will be more and more services through FB so what else do they need?
    4) They are perhaps not concerned about this separation of private and professional life.
    5) More and more companies are having fan pages on FB
    6) They will learn how to protect themselves and their embarrassing pictures
    7) Their colleagues of the same age will be on FB as well and that is where they connect.

    Summarizing, you have everything on FB, companies (and their employees) are there and you can communicate with them. They will show jobs and you can see all of with without given away any personal information. Why would they want to create a new account, build up everything from scratch? We need to go where the future candidates are, they don’t necessarily come to the site that we now all love so much.

  53. WANTED: a reasonably-priced tool where recruiters can immediately access complete contact information and directly reach unlimited numbers of potential candidates without interference.
    (Don’t say: Google, Bing, etc.)


  54. Facebook will never even come close to rubbing shoulders with LinkedIn when it comes to matching employers with job seekers. Facebook has (and always will be) a SOCIAL networking site, while LinkedIn has (and always will be) a PROFESSIONAL networking site. Regardless of membership numbers, average member age, and all other demographics, there’s a distinct difference between professional and social networking. Moreover, career-minded people will always silo their professional and social relationships, and it’s highly unlikely that there will ever be any bleedover (at least not enough to “destroy” LinkedIn). I’m not saying Facebook isn’t a good alternative for some, and it can be useful particularly for entry-level job seekers. However, LinkedIn is continuing to innovate and revolutionize the job search and the candidate experience, and with the strategic partnerships and new products they are developing, along with 2 new members per second (members who use LinkedIn for professional networking only), there’s no way anyone can match what they are doing.

  55. Right on Jason. Foolish claim that FB can “destroy” Linked In. For the reasons you cite, namely that career minded people silo their professional and social relationships, there are thus completely separate agendas for why one would use Linked In vs. FB for a job search or to enhance your career focus / opportunities and “contacts”.

    The only area in which FB might drive some recruiting / job posting volume would be for entry level college grads and/or those whose very livelihood is media driven or heavily involved in social networking.

    FB is all about your daughter’s graduation pictures, our trip to Rome last year, the cool groups I belong to, my funky friends, who will you vote for in 2012?, anybody dealing with parent that has dementia?, and assorted uses for spending gobs of time developing a truly “social” network.

    Whereas, as several here have alluded to, Linked In will continue to be the premium vehicle for optimizing your job search and leveraging your professional life. It’s never claimed a niche for sharing a universe of your social excitements.

    Especially people in mid to senior level career will not find that next rung up on the ladder on FB. The author posits that because there’s an inordinate amount of younger demographic job-searching that somehow gives FB a major edge. Well, that’s seriously discounting the fastest growing segment of the population (here in US) which is 55 and older last time I checked.

    Anyway, a rather ridiculous hypothesis; FB and Linked In have two entirely separate modus operandis. Little to be confused about.Linked In will welcome FB’s job posting foray.

  56. I am pretty sure Facebook will not destroy LinkedIn. As others have eluded to, they are two totally different demographics. I read your other article, and the other huge misconception is that Facebook actually have 750 million active, engaged users. I’d say 50% at best is a good number given all of the people who have multiple profiles, people who still set up businesses as profiles, and all of the overseas scam artists who are selling “likes” from hundreds of face profiles they have created (and this is well documented).

    That being said, it’s a good more for Facebook to give people a reason to stay engaged given that the recent changes have made business pages less visible and have limited the amount of communications users have with their friends.

    Lastly, and most importantly, people for the most part go to LinkedIn for professional networking and jobs and go to Facebook to interact with people they know casually. Yes, business takes place via Facebook, but it is still not it’s highest and best use.

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