Among the players already in the ring are BranchOut, the first to build a business networking presence on Facebook, Monster’s BeKnown, and LinkedIn, the reining leader. (Facebook had its own big news Wednesday, filing for its much anticipated IPO.)
Like BranchOut and BeKnown, Glassdoor leverages a user’s Facebook data to find connections at companies in which they have an interest. These can then help provide a direct line to the recruiter or hiring manager. It works simply by using your Facebook login.
Setting Glassdoor apart is the wealth of information it has collected about tens of thousands of companies that’s hard or even impossible to find anywhere else. From its beginning as a place where workers could review their company (or former company) with sometimes no-holds-barred bluntness, Glassdoor has broadened its scope, providing just the kind of information job seekers want: job listings, salaries, interview questions, company background, those unvarnished opinions — both pro and con — and now, who among a person’s Facebook connections has an in.
Branded “Inside Connections,” the new service adds networking to the Glassdoor features, making the site, as Tim Besse, co-founder and vice president of product and marketing, said, “The most complete listing of information about jobs.”
It’s that completeness, Besse argues, that gives Glassdoor the advantage over all other careers networking sites, including, he insists, LinkedIn. “The two most trusted ways to find out about a company,” says Besse, “People you know and, two, people who worked there.”
LinkedIn has both, but if you aren’t connected to one of them, that won’t be much help. At Glassdoor you could always see what people had to say about an employer. Now, you can also see who among your connections works there.
“We have all the tools,” Besse adds.
LinkedIn’s advantage is the completeness of its user profiles. Because it is oriented toward careers and business networking, LinkedIn users tend to be thorough in posting their professional information and prompt in keeping it current.
Facebook users tend to provide only limited employment information. While data is hard to come by, Glassdoor says a survey it commissioned shows 65-70 percent of Facebook users have entered at least some employment data. However, Besse points out that Facebook’s Timeline will prompt ever larger numbers of people to complete their profiles and provide more details.
(Timeline was announced at Facebook’s f8 conference in the fall. Its rollout has been slow, but its anticipated impacts are large and have been discussed in detail by marketers, researchers, and others.)
A post on the Harvard Business Review site about the impact of Timeline on careers notes, “If you were holding onto the idea that Facebook could be your personal haven while you build your professional profile on LinkedIn, it’s time to let that fantasy go. The Timeline offers an opportunity for you to tell the story of your career in a uniquely compelling way, so you need to consciously tackle the challenge of building a propersonal profile that will position you appropriately in the eyes of employers, clients, or colleagues.”
If Facebook users do as the writer suggests, then sites like Glassdoor stand to benefit and it won’t matter that LinkedIn has locked out BeKnown, BranchOut, and others, refusing to share its data.
Besse, in that case, could realize his goal: “I am out there to build the world’s largest and most trusted” career site.