There has been a flurry of uninformed comment in the past 24 hours on Facebook’s new venture into the job advertising sector.  Like Google, people have spoken of the prospect of this colossal worldwide organisation getting into recruitment with a mixture of fear and loathing.  Facebook has over 1billion members worldwide, 800 million of which they claim to be active accounts.  Apparently 30% of the European population are Facebook users.

Now usage may vary from person to person, but it’s fair to say that most individuals keep their most personal social media outpourings away from LinkedIn, and know that Twitter is a very public forum.  Facebook is therefore closest to who people really are.  In that light, the very personal and necessarily discreet nature of the jobseeking process should be a natural fit, so long as you could keep your searches and applications hush hush. Given this, Facebook has the potential to build a very clever recruitment service indeed.

So let’s look at what has actually been announced. Facebook has built a job advert aggregator app, just like 1Job did 4 years ago.  Knowing that a new job search engine with no inventory wouldn’t look good, and bearing in mind FB has established partnerships with Beknown (Monster), Branchout, Jobvite, Work4Labs and US.Jobs, step one has been to deliver a job search engine.  There aren’t any clever bells and whistles, not even to the extent that Beknown and Branchout already offer, by adding a separate connections layer for each user to keep distinct from their existing FB network.  You can’t even search through all the providers at the same time.  Enter key words, location (USA only at the moment), category and select a Job Partner, to get your search results.  This way, you won’t see 2 versions of the same job alongside each other from different FB partners. Select an interesting job, and then “Click to view on Monster”, which takes you out of Facebook. You can’t apply from Facebook, never mind save jobs, set up job alerts, see who in your network works at that company, or view the employer’s Facebook page.  In other words, it’s a dumb application, without any social media functionality.  Just a basic job aggregator, that can be knocked up with existing API’s.  In fact, I’d venture to say that it doesn’t work nearly as well as UKJobBook, set up by Elkie Holland, using JobsiteWhite.

So is this a real anti-climax then? Yes, but I believe it’s only the first step on a roadmap to the clever service we all expected from Facebook.  Just like Indeed and LinkedIn metamorphosed into real world job boards, so will Facebook. I expect the day will come soon, when due to demand, FB will allow employers to buy job adverts directly.  This will build their own inventory of job ads, and lessen reliance on the original partners.  With that, as a result of public and advertiser demand, will come that juicy functionality that really leverages all that Facebook Big Data.  Some might say that, so long as FB makes money from these partners, it would be crazy to ditch them.  Why would FB want to run a Job Board after all?  Shareholders and profit, is my answer.

The Bottom Line

Q: Is Facebook Jobs a threat to traditional job boards?

A: Yes, and they (existing partners) shouldn’t help FB get it launched with their inventory.

Q: Is FB jobs a threat to Linkedin and Indeed?

A: Absolutely, but not immediately – give it 12 months.


PS. I see @alexpaterson has nabbed the @facebookjobs twitter account.

Other sources: 

Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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