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Is Facebook About to Offer Free Job Listings?

by Oct 20, 2011, 4:24 pm ET

I recently predicted that Facebook will eventually destroy LinkedIn. Today, that prediction came closer to reality as the world’s largest social network announced a partnership with national employment services and the U.S. Department of Labor. According to Facebook’s official statement, the Social Jobs Partnership goal will be “to facilitate employment for America’s jobless through the use of social networks.”

Facebook has launched a page, facebook.com/socialjobs, which features resources and information for job seekers from the coalition’s other partners: The National Association of Colleges and Employers, the DirectEmployers Association, and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, along with the Labor Department. Facebook plans to create public service announcements to promote its services in the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates, which, according to CNN Money, are Michigan, Rhode Island, California, South Carolina, Oregon, Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia, Alaska, and Florida. Included in Facebook’s list of initiatives is this intriguing item:

“The partnership will explore and develop systems for delivering job postings virally through Facebook at no charge.” Does that mean Facebook will officially enter the job-search market? If so, well, Mashable’s Sarah Kessler put it bluntly: “A job board that lives on Facebook could put the social network in direct competition with sites like LinkedIn and Monster.com.”LinkedIn already faces challenges from Monster-owned BeKnown and the startup BranchOut, which have launched recruiting applications for Facebook. If Facebook itself gets into the game, it may make LinkedIn irrelevant even before my 2013 prediction.

That’s just the start of the dominos falling. Monster would find itself in a particularly strange position as its host starts directly competing against it. Monster may drop its Facebook application and return to its own site; but, if that strategy was working, why did it approach Facebook at all? Craigslist would also stand to suffer if Facebook allows free job listings, because the social network could offer more focused targeting than Craigslist’s city sections do. BranchOut, with no corporate “parent,” may simply disappear.

When Mashable’s Kessler pressed Facebook on this important matter, a spokesman told her, “We’re going to invest in research in new technologies that will deliver jobs virally at no charge and expand opportunities for people to create social job searching experiences online.”

That one sentence may alter the future of four different corporations and the entire online recruiting world. You know where I stand; what’s your prediction?

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

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  • Jakolien Sok

    Hi Jody,

    “We’re going to invest in research in new technologies that will deliver jobs virally at no charge and expand opportunities for people to create social job searching experiences online.”

    talk about exciting quotes :) wh00t!

    I am also a strong believer in the force that is Facebook and have been predicting the strong rise of Facebook in the recruitment bizz for at least 2 years now.

    So I completely share ur view and am very curious to see all the developments next year!

    Ciao from Amsterdam, NL
    @Jakolien

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  • Keith Halperin

    To hell with my prediction-let’s see what these folks say:(I do say that the Great Recession for Unemployment is over when there are three straight months of 7.0% or lower unemployment. Any guees when that will be?)

    Recent Economic Forecasts last updated 2011/10/18 http://myweb.rollins.edu/wseyfried/forecast.htm

    Wells Fargo Securities Economic Forecast (latest monthly forecast, Oct 2011; latest forecast, Oct 14-latest weekly analysis): economic growth = 2% in Q3, 1.6% in Q4, 1.4% in 2012Q1; 1.7% in 2011, 1.6% in 2012 and 1.7% in 2013; core PCE inflation = 1.5% in 2011, 1.7% in 2012 and 1.6% in 2013; CPI inflation = 3.2% in 2011, 2.2% in 2012 and 2% in 2013; unemployment rate rises to 9.4% in 2012Q2, 9.4% by end of 2012 and 9% by the end of 2013

    Economic forecasting survey, Oct 2011 (WSJ): economic growth = 2.1% in Q3, 2% in Q4, 1.5% in 2011, 2.3% in 2012; unemployment at 9.1% at end of 2011, 8.7% at end of 2012; inflation = 3.1% in 2011, 2.2% in 2012

    Univ. of Michigan Economic Forecast (executive summary – Sep 20, 2011): economic growth = 1.7% in second half of 2011 (1.6% for all of 2011), 2.3% in 2012 and 2.9% in 2013; core inflation (CPI) = 1.7% in 2011 (overall inflation =3.2%), 1.9% in 2012 (overall inflation = 2.3%) and 1.6% in 2013; unemployment rate rises to 9.2% by early 2012, averaging 9.1% for all of 2012 before declining to 8.5% by end of 2013

    IMF (September; see p75/pdf page 5): US economic growth = 1.5% in 2011, 1.8% in 2012; unemployment rate averages 9.1% in 2011, 9% in 2012; inflation = 3% in 2011, 1.2% in 2012

    CBO (September update; for Aug forecast, click here): economic growth = 1.5% in 2011, 2.5% in 2012; unemployment close to 9% thru end of 2012; from Aug forecast – core PCE inflation = 1.3% in 2011 and 1.4% in 2012; growth in potential GDP = 2.3% from 2011-2016 and 2.4% from 2017-2021; natural rate of unemployment = 5.2 to 5.3% (don’t reach that rate until 2016)

    NABE September survey (Sep12-Yahoo Finance): economic growth = 1.7% for all of 2011, 2.3% in 2012; unemployment rate = 9% at end of 2011, 8.5% at end of 2012

    Bloomberg (Sep 2011): economic growth = 1.6% in 2011, 2.2% in 2012

    OECD Assessment and Forecast (Sep 2011): economic growth = 1.1% in 2011Q3, 0.4% in 2011Q4

    OMB (Sep 2011 – see pdf page13-14): The OMB includes 2 sets of forecasts – one was its original midterm review forecast made in June, the other is an alternative forecast reflecting information available through late August (alternative forecast is on pages 13-14; June forecast is on page 9) economic growth (4th quarter 2010 to 4th quarter 2011) = 1.6% in 2011, 2.9% in 2012, 3.8% in 2013 and 4% in 2014; unemployment averages 9.1% in 2011, 9% in 2012; end of year based on June forecast = 8.6% in 2011, 8.2% in 2012; inflation = 2.8% in 2011, 1.9% in 2012; natural rate of unemployment = 5.2%, growth in potential GDP = 2.5% (economy returns to potential at the end of 2017); see pdf page 12 for comparison with other forecasts

    More downward revisions to economic forecasts (Aug 19, 2011): Goldman Sachs – economic growth = 1% in Q3, 1.5% in Q4; JPMorgan – economic growth = 1% in Q4 and 0.5% in 2012Q1; Citi – economic growth = 1.6% in 2011, 2.1% in 2012; Wells Fargo – 1.6% in 2011, 1.1% in 2012 (details above)

    Quarterly economic survey (USA Today – Aug 2011): economic growth = 2.5% in 2012; unemployment = 8.8% in mid-2012

    Survey of Professional Forecasters (latest survey Aug 2011): economic growth=2.2% in Q3, 2.6% in Q4, 2.6% in 2012, 2.9% in 2013, 3.1% in 2014; core inflation (PCE)=1.7% in 2011 and 1.6% in 2012 (overall PCE inflation=2.5% in 2011, 1.8% in 2012); unemployment rate=9% in 2011Q4, 8.6% in 2012Q3; average unemployment rate = 8.6% in 2012, 8.1% in 2013, natural rate of unemployment= 6%

    Survey of Primary Dealers (Reuters/CNBC): economic growth = 1.8% in 2011; unemployment = 8.9% at end of 2011, 8.5% at end of 2012

    CNN-Money (July 2011): economic growth = 2% in Q2, 2.6% for all of 2011, 3% in 2012; unemployment = 8.7% at end of 2011, 8.1% at end of 2012, inflation = 3.2% in 2011, 2.5% in 2012

    Fed Forecast as of June 2011: economic growth = 2.7-2.9% in 2011, 3.3-3.7% in 2012, 3.5%-4.2% in 2013; long-run economic growth = 2.5-2.8% (note: these are from 4th quarter to 4th quarter); unemployment rate = 8.6-8.9% in 2011, 7.8-8.2% in 2012 and 7-7.5% in 2013 (estimates are for 4th quarter of the respective year); natural rate of unemployment = 5.2 to 5.6% (range = 5 to 6%); inflation as measured by core PCE index of 1.5 to 1.8% in 2011, 1.4 to 2% in 2012 and 1.4-2% in 2013

    Livingston Survey (latest survey – June 2011): economic growth = 2.2% in first half of 2011 and 3.2% in second half of 2011, 3% in first half of 2012; unemployment rate = 8.9% in June 2011 and 8.6% in Dec 2011, 8.3% in June 2012; inflation (CPI) = 3.1% for 2011 and 2.2% for 2012; long-term economic growth = 2.7%, inflation averages 2.4% over the next decade

  • Bill Gallop

    FB is a friends and family social network. I have never seen a resume or a job history posted on FB. I have never hired a senior level candidate from FB.

    Linked In on the other hand is primarily a business networking tool. This design makes it very useful in Recruiting and Business Development. I have in fact hired many people from LI.

    As long as this is the primary perception of both websites and neither starts charging for its basic service it is highly unlikely this will occur.

  • http://www.hudson.com Nele Verschueren

    I agree with Bill Gallop and would like to ad that we, europeans, tend to separate much more our personal and professional activities (both off- and online) in comparison to americans.
    So I don’t believe FB will replace Linked-in for business or recruitment matters.

  • Martin Snyder

    LinkedIn could have BEEN Facebook, but they have big blindspots that are in effect ..call it a certain kind of greed or lack of faith in (of all things) the power of network effects. The way they jack around with their API access is a sign of that, but so is the airy dismissal of FB as a real threat.

    LinkedIn has been a key threat on our map for years, esp. last few weeks by really going into the pipeline and CRM functions. They need time and focus to improve their offering- so anything that slows and distracts them is sweet news to my ears, but ain’t no way they are going all the way away for a looong time.

    OTH,they also grasp at ownership of all the data, and they don’t like to share value chains, which is not the obvious recipe to get over the top into everyday life like FB or Amazon, and it WILL keep firms needing private data warehouses.

    On the other hand, FB and all those heavy hitters getting together are getting closer to the idea that what America needs is more recruiting- more ongoing sizing up of people and opportunity- and that’s superb for the nation and the community on this site.

    I take this as great news.

  • Martin Snyder

    Oh yea, Keith, while slowness is likely, we dont even know if we are in a deflation or inflation regime. If Milk and Gas go up a few bucks, it feels like inflation, but if your house drops $100K, that’s a lotta gas…. plus demographic and economic trends mean everyone is gigging it, which means a lot more recruiting.

    Martin “I coulda been a policy wonk” Snyder

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  • http://www.brandemix.com Jody Ordioni

    “I have never seen a resume or a job history posted on FB.”

    BranchOut has almost three million members. BeKnown is closing in on one million. So resumes and job histories are already posted on Facebook; I think you’ll see them soon, particularly if you use these free services for recruiting or for expanding your own network.

    “I have never hired a senior level candidate from FB.”

    The Social Jobs Partnership is aimed at young, hourly, and/or non-managerial positions, estimated to be about 90% of the global workforce. I’m sure Facebook would be happy to let LinkedIn keep the other 10%.

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  • Keith Halperin

    What frustrates me as a recruiter with these two is the inability to immediately and directly connect with the vast majority of the potential candidates. I don’t want to “build relationships” over time with people- I want to have viable candidates interviewing with my hiring managers
    NOW!

    Cheers,

    Keith Halperin

  • http://www.volt.com/social Michael V

    The brightest engineers in the world will figure out how to address the personal/work split people prefer on social networks. Facebook needs to fill in the employment related gaps in your social graph.

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  • http://www.matchpointcareers.com Paul Basile

    Personally, I don’t care. If Facebook destroys LinkedIn or not, how does it improve the appalling performance of recruiting? Different channels for access to people doesn’t improve, one bit, the ability or inability of hirers to pick the right people. The more channels to candidates the better, I think and my guess is most will agree. Go ahead Facebook, join the fray. But until we start using facts and proven science to pick the right people, the social announcements (always with !!’s) wont’ move the needle.

  • Francene Taylor

    The Social Jobs Partnership isn’t just for “young, hourly or non managerial” roles. It’s for all levels of positions. Talent needs to know what companies have jobs and employers need to reach talent directly, efficiently and where they are…and increasingly, they’re on Facebook. In my opinion, LinkedIn is a place I can go to find talent, and the new Social Jobs Partnership will be a place where talent can find me.

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  • Keith Halperin

    @ Paul” Well said.

    -kh

  • http://www.recruitinginferno.com Steve Levy

    All social media channels have one thing in common – when the analysts get hold of them, these channels all of a sudden begin to alienate their best customers.

    Jody…one acronym to keep in mind: GIGO – garbage in, garbage out.

    Just as people are running away from LinkedIn because they’re tiring of being contacted by crappy recruiters, so will they run away from FB when the vultures are given an easy way to may contact.

    Then the next greatest thing will come along and Jody will write another article about it and Dan Schawbel will write 14 blog posts about it…

  • Ken Schmitt

    Another great addition to this very interesting conversation. I am a big believer in LinkedIn and here in SoCal, there is a distinct difference between social networking on the personal side through Facebook, and social networking for professional and job search purposes. I foresee a future where the traditional job boards are in the minority, with LinkedIn leading the way on the professional side and Facebook continuing to be the 800lb gorilla on the personal side.
    However, while Facebook may be a good place to recruit 20somethings, I don’t see a company turning to Facebook to source their next CFO, VP Marketing or Chief Compliance Officer.
    Ken Schmitt
    President, TurningPoint Executive Search
    http://www.turningpointsearch.net

  • David Twiss

    I had to stop reading @ the Dept. of Labor reference. To use an antiquated govt. dept. that has a huge failure rate and can not enforce labor laws (like ensuring pvt.companies pay employees – I was told “not all laws are enforceable”) is a simple setup for failure. Besides, there are pages that can. E administered,as I administer a professional fb page, David R Twiss Jr, and rec. inquiries often, in addition to job postings. BTW I have never found a job through the Dept of Labor and I spent hundreds of hours there. Ga Dept of Labor did ask I participate in a program that allows companies to rehire previous employees while not paying them, unemployment compensation is their pay. Go ahead fb and align yourself with faulty forces, your wave will crash eventually so u might as well go ahead and swim with the sharks.

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  • Cheryl Noga

    I still believe there will be a place for LinkedIn. Many people (myself included), keep facebook for their personal life and LinkedIn for their professional life. It has a bigger chance of killing paid job boards like monster! Professional networking will still happen on LinkedIn. To be found by employers on Facebook, you’d have to alter security settings (depends on what changes FB makes during this new venture). I would have to actually put in my work history, etc which I never really did on FB. LinkedIn has all that info…

  • http://careers.roche.com Ted Meulenkamp

    I already commented on your other blog post and I’ll say it again. FB will be a huge competitor and most likely be the dominant recruitment force an a few years time.

    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.

    When the time comes that this generation starts looking for a job they will first check out what is on Facebook. As we recruiters will post jobs on FB (free job postings on a site with 850 million profiles? come on we would be all over it) what reason will people have to go to LI (and let’s be clear I really like LI).

    The recruiters go where to talent is and the future talent is already on FB, not on LI.

  • http://www.options9.com Joanne Webb

    @Ted – well said. Everything you said is spot on about the upcoming generation!

  • Cheryl Noga

    @Ted – You bring up an interesting distinction. I would agree with you 100% about future talent. They are growing up in a world where FB is the norm. Recruiters will certainly flock to FB more as it is increasingly being utilized for professional reasons (we wouldn’t be good recruiters if we didn’t). FB can easily outshine LinkedIn for our future talent pool. I think it will take longer for FB to overtake LI for recruiters searching for more experienced candidates. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out for sure!

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