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It’s Not LinkedIn Who’d Be Burnt By a Facebook Job Board

by
Justin Miller
Jul 27, 2012, 5:23 am ET

Earlier this month, Mashable posted an article reporting the potential launch of an official job board on Facebook. I say “official” because there are already numerous third-party applications in the career space (Branchout, BeKnown) that act as layers over your Facebook profile, but nothing that has been produced by Facebook just yet.

Now that we are fairly confident a Facebook job board is on its way, the question is: Why now, and whom will it affect?

Why Now

IPO woes

You may have noticed that in the past few months the Facebook camp have made numerous announcements regarding new programs it is rolling out. This includes an external ad network, and mobile advertisements. These broadcasts are undoubtedly in connection to Facebook’s May IPO launch that some deemed “underwhelming,” and an attempt to appease shareholders while boosting the company’s potential value. That being said, for a company desperately trying to break into new and profitable territory, the $4.3 billion online recruitment space is not a bad place to start.

Federal obligations

Back in 2011, Facebook and the U.S. Government entered into a partnership to help get America back to work. The social network teamed up with the U.S. Department of Labor in an attempt to decrease the country’s then-9.1% unemployment rate by giving its 900 million members access to tons of free job search advice content produced by the Labor Department. Job search advice is helpful, but if people need jobs they aren’t necessarily always reading blogs because they’re too busy reading job descriptions. This is where it works out beautifully for Facebook – give the country what it needs, build partnerships with the Department of Labor, while simultaneously entering a billion-dollar market that is begging for innovation.

If Facebook were to enter the job board market, it would send ripples throughout the online recruitment market. The Mashable article posted above discusses how it might negatively impact LinkedIn’s momentum into the professional networking space. Although I agree somewhat, I think a Facebook job board would, in reality, affect others much more.

Who’ll Be Affected and How?

Job boards: existing job boards would be the most impacted by a Facebook job site. Sites like Monster and Careerbuilder, once giants in the online job search space, have seen a rapid decline in member activity and profits over the last few years, and a Facebook job board boasting over 900 million users might be the final nail in the coffin. The only way these companies can come out alive is if Facebook enters a partnership in which it aggregates jobs from, say, Monster’s database, thus giving its paying job posters a more open network of job seekers, and viral job sharing.

It’s possible something like this could happen. Sites like Monster and Careerbuilder are notorious for partnering up with other websites in order to offer more exposure for their jobs, and Facebook is going to need a backlog of data to hit the ground running when it actually launches its job board. Even so, we must not forget how Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg typically operate. There is a good chance that down the line Facebook will want to go completely independent and cut out these employment boards — ultimately putting them down for good.

LinkedIn: Believe it or not, I don’t think LinkedIn would get burned too badly in a Facebook job board rollout. Facebook will never be a hub for professional networking, no matter how hard it tries. There is simply too much personal information that people do not want shared in a professional setting to ever threaten LinkedIn’s user base. If LinkedIn was smart, it would partner with Facebook to share its job portals. I suspect that if they don’t merge, there’s a good chance LinkedIn will see a drop-off from companies paying for job postings, but it won’t be anything too crippling.

If Facebook was really smart, it would open up that big blue wallet, purchase LinkedIn, and call it a night. It’s not such a crazy idea. We saw how much Facebook paid for Instagram, and Instagram doesn’t even generate revenue. Can you imagine how much money Facebook would make with the data LinkedIn would provide, let alone the premium accounts and ad network!?

The Staffing Industry: A Facebook job board would be a huge jolt to the staffing industry. There are always those articles saying that “XYZ is the recruiter’s worst nightmare” or “XYZ will end the staffing industry” when in reality all they do is supplement it. Recruiters and staffing companies all post jobs on sites like Monster, Careerbuilder, Indeed, and Craigslist; having a new job board with as many members as Facebook will be just another place to post your jobs, with probably even more success. Facebook will probably let you hyper-target who you want to see your jobs, much like it does with its ad network. For those who haven’t used Facebook ads, Facebook gives you data based on what people fill out in their profiles, which allows you to pinpoint your ideal audience. Any time you post to a job board, the real work involves sifting through the masses of unqualified applications to find the two or three fits. This could all be eradicated through a Facebook job board. Additionally, remember that this is FACEBOOK. Your job postings will have the chance to go viral, and will increase the probability of referrals — a word that we in the staffing industry are very fond of.

Marketing Departments: Facebook brand pages are a must-have for all companies looking to connect with their consumers. When it comes to talent acquisition, most marketers or page managers leverage the “tabs” function as another source to promote their company’s open jobs. The jury is still out on just how effective a jobs tab is on a brand page, but having branded job ads on a central Facebook job board is a huge opportunity for generating new business. Not only can you count on it being a high traffic area, but think back to when you were on your job search and learning about all the companies you’d never heard of before, but now know. Imagine the potential you could now have with a job board of almost a billion members, any of whom could stumble upon a job that links to your brand page. You just earned yourself a “Like” and a potential new customer or client. There could be endless potential for marketing on this new job board. Make sure your marketing team is on it!

Facebook Members: Duh! Having a job board at your fingertips whenever you log into your account is huge. Come home from work after a bad day? Let’s see what opportunities await! See a job that’s perfect for your out-of-work friend? Share it! Hate the long application process for Monster or Indeed? Just click “apply” and it can pull up your information directly compiled from your profile. Most importantly, it will be a free service that can show you thousands of jobs that are targeted specifically for you. In my book, making a typically difficult process a bit easier is always OK.

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.

  1. Chris Russell

    How a FB board would affect the industry really hinges on how they roll it out. They would probably do better by partnering with established players. We actually think there is already a perfectly good way to promote jobs on the number 1 social network.

    http://blog.careercloud.com/post/27904987835/facebook-already-has-a-job-board

  2. Justin Miller

    Thanks Chris. I agree with partnering with established players. As I mentioned in the post, they will almost be forced to partner up in order to hit the ground running, but Zuckerberg likes to own his own content so there’s a good chance at some point he would sever ties. I read your post, it’s true that Facebook ads are a great place to promote a job, that doesnt make it a “Job Board.” A job board implies multiple postings from various companies. If Facebook was smart they would do what LinkedIn does and offer “recommended jobs” in your news feed to get some interest going.

    Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tweetsbyjmiller

  3. Howard Adamsky

    Great article but do we need another job board?

    What will be solved by having one?

    What is the exact and specific value to be provided and what problem will be solved?

    Love to hear some thoughts on this.

  4. Justin Miller

    Do we need one? I don’t see the harm. There are jobs out there, and there are DEFINITELY people who need them, what’s the harm in providing a venue for those jobs that may garner more visibility? Everyone for the most part has a Facebook account (955M accounts as of today), Monster and Careerbuilder can’t say that, LinkedIn can’t say that, Twitter can’t say that.

    The value would be accessibility. Being able to share a job with friends will never be more simple. Instead of you searching for jobs, jobs notifications could be tailored for you based on data you provide in your profile.

    Facebook’s biggest advantage is it’s data. Creating a job board and adding functionality for talent acquisition could be it’s second biggest usage of said data behind it’s ad network.

  5. How Will Facebook’s Job Board Affect the Staffing Industry? - The Official MaxHire Blog - Get Connected : The Official MaxHire Blog – Get Connected

    [...] Read the full post here: It’s Not LinkedIn Who’d Be Burnt By a Facebook Job Board [...]

  6. Geraldine Slevin

    You make some really good points here, Justin–especially about the impact a Facebook job board would have on the staffing industry and on jobseekers. I definitely think that focusing exclusively on what a Facebook job board would do to LinkedIn is a little reductive and your broader perspective on the impact it would have on recruitment is refreshing.

    Thanks!
    Geraldine
    http://www.work4labs.com

  7. Luke Antenialle

    @Justin, why would Facebook partner with a company like Monster rather than Indeed?

  8. Justin Miller

    Geraldine – Thank you, I appreciate that! I feel like every time I read something now a days, it’s about how the next social-recruiting app or website is going to be the one that kills the staffing industry and yet it never happens! Why? Because the staffing industry is smart and finds a way to use the tool to benefit them.

    Luke – Good question, Indeed would make just as much sense, the only reason I think Monster makes a little more sense is because of the PR power Monster has. It’s a well-known brand and has been around for a while, getting them to co-promote the new project would just add that much more attention. Keep in mind, I’m a Marketing guy, I’m always thinking about how we can get more exposure :)

  9. Keith Branson

    @Justin tailoring job notifications to users based on the data in their profile assumes that most people on Facebook include detailed work history and professional experience on their profile.

    Facebook could certainly take steps to encourage users to add this information, but at the moment it’s just not there.

    And maybe it’s just that my friends don’t like me very much, but I don’t see friends sharing job postings with each other as likely user behavior should Facebook make that option available.

  10. Justin Miller

    Keith – That’s true, but keep in mind that Facebook is the king of forcing it’s users to bend. Know that timeline feature you and everyone else has now? That’s because they wanted you to have it. If they want you to fill out that information, please believe they will find a way to get it out of you. I get your point regarding the sharing jobs function, I guess what I would say is let’s find out if and when it goes live, I have a feeling that it will be much more common than we all think. And on your last point, I’m sure your friends like you just fine :)

  11. Luke Antenialle

    @Justin PR power? I think the only recent PR about Monster is about them laying people off and being in decline, no?

    In terms of marketing power to job seekers I think the traffic numbers speak for themselves. More people look for job on Indeed than Monster.

    Also – why would Facebook integration with a job service that has only a fraction of the jobs that are online, vs one that has all of them?

    I’m asking these questions because I think you wrote this article with misinformation.

    Another example: “Hate the long application process for Monster or Indeed? Just click “apply” and it can pull up your information directly compiled from your profile.”

    Indeed offers a long application process? Where? I thought it was just a search engine. Example?

  12. Justin Miller

    Luke – All good arguments, but what you need to take into consideration is that PR in the sense that I’m talking about isn’t necessarily about what you see with press-releases and so on. Monster, despite being on the decline, still pours millions of dollars into advertising, partnerships, and marketing. I don’t have any figures in front of me, but I would bet that Monster spends more on marketing than Indeed does, merely because Monster is it’s own enclosed entity while Indeed is more of a job aggregate. I’m not saying Indeed would be a bad partner, in fact it makes total and complete sense, what I AM saying is, it’s more likely Facebook would partner with Monster.

    I’m also not sure what misinformation you’re referring to, but again Indeed is an aggregator so when you click an ad it often times takes you to an external page where you have to fill out a job application etc. I would imagine a Facebook application never requires you to leave the site (again keep in mind Zuckerberg is always finding ways to make Facebook your only internet necessity) and simply beams the data to the job manager’s portal much like with their display ad dashboard.

  13. Luke Antenialle

    @Justin – Don’t mean to pick on you but…

    “Monster, despite being on the decline, still pours millions of dollars into advertising, partnerships, and marketing.”

    Maybe this is the reason for continued decline?

    “I don’t have any figures in front of me, but I would bet that Monster spends more on marketing than Indeed does, merely because Monster is it’s own enclosed entity while Indeed is more of a job aggregate.”

    What does the model have to do with marketing spend?

    “I’m not saying Indeed would be a bad partner, in fact it makes total and complete sense, what I AM saying is, it’s more likely Facebook would partner with Monster.”

    Simply because Monster has a bigger PR budget? Facebook has more free PR than anyone. They don’t need help from Monster’s dinky budget. If they really considered Monster, they would probably just buy it, keep the sales people, and trash the site.

    “Hate the long application process for Monster or Indeed?” By putting Monster and Indeed in the same sentence this way without any other context, you imply they are the same thing and that there’s a long application process on Indeed, which is misinformation.

  14. Justin Miller

    Luke – You can pick on me all you want. I’m just glad you’re interested in the topic.

    I’m wrapping up for the day so I apologize but I’m just going to fire off my answers to your questions:

    - No, LinkedIn pretty much is the reason Monster is declining, they are just a better more robust model. It’s what people want now. Monster’s marketing is probably one of their strong suits.

    - Simple, Monster’s model allows it to have a more robust cache of services to charge for. Resume viewing licenses, job postings, display ad network, spotlight job postings, enterprise services, semantic search capabilities, etc. Indeed is a job aggregator, they own only a small fraction of the jobs actually posted, this allows them to only really charge for featured jobs. Again, can’t stress this enough, not bashing Indeed.

    -Just like Facebook does with every new project they roll out, they partner with a large brand name company. Monster in all their flaws still has name recognition and is considered the go-to brand when it comes to job boards. Just like Facebook partnered with Wal-Mart for video streaming, and Rovio for games, they will want a big name to attach this initiative to, if they want to partner at all, which they might not.

    -Not sure where you’re getting “misinformation” from. Despite having different models, Indeed and Monster are both job boards. They house different jobs from different specialties from different companies. Nothing about that makes that wrong or misleading. They both have application processes and they both require multiple steps.

    That’s about all I have for today, thanks for everyone who read and shared my article, and thanks to all that commented. Have a great weekend

    Follow me on Twitter: @TweetsByJmiller

  15. Luke Antenialle

    “They both have application processes and they both require multiple steps.”

    Example of this on Indeed please?

  16. Justin Miller

    OK.

    See a job you like on Indeed?

    Click on it> It takes you to the company who posted it’s application page> You then have to (usually) create an account>Upload resume>cover letter.

    Do you work for Indeed?

  17. Luke Antenialle

    Yeah exactly. That isn’t Indeed’s application process. It’s the application process on the ATS. Your sentence makes it sound like Indeed hosts an apply process with multiple steps.

    I don’t work for Indeed.

    Your sentence is just misleading. Monster also links to ATS pages in addition to hosting its own apply pages that do have multiple steps.

    Are you suggesting Facebook would offer employers an alternative – where the job seeker does not apply at the ATS, but rather has their Facebook profile submitted instead?

  18. Justin Miller

    That is the point though. You can’t say Indeed’s process isn’t as inconvenient just because they don’t own the whole process. It’s a job board, one way or another you have to apply. If you find the job through Indeed than it is no more convenient than Monster or any site that offers jobs but an application through multiple steps.

    I am suggesting that a hypothetical Facebook job board just might offer a more streamlined approach. That’s what Facebook does, they find what people want and make it extremely easy to get as much data as they can.

    I feel like this is getting a bit silly now, I’m going to retire for the weekend.

  19. Stephen Harrington

    It will be interesting to see what the actual Facebook offering is and how much it will cost. Many recruiters have been long since been trying to tap into Facebook for recruiting.
    It will also depend on how well recruiters use this. Personally I find that a mix of LinkedIn, Monster and using social media and SEO works well for my requirements.
    We have bene putting a lot of work developing http://allenrecruitmentjobs.ie which links through to a Bullhorn Reach jobs listing to attract more direct applicants.
    Still, if Facebook can being something new into the mix that will help target a specific audience that we require, I will welcome it as another option.

  20. David Carroll

    “Sites like Monster and Careerbuilder, once giants in the online job search space, have seen a rapid decline in member activity and profits over the last few years, and a Facebook job board boasting over 900 million users might be the final nail in the coffin.”

    I’d be very interested in seeing the data that led you to these very bold claims. I think you have carelessly jumped on the bandwagon of erroneously associating the entire ‘job board’ industry with what is happening at Monster.

    Monster is is definitely in a downward spiral. However, Monster’s woes are attributed to poor executive leadership and lack of innovation (pretty important for a technology company), not a shift in how people search for employment opportunities.

    Careerbuilder has been experiencing double digit growth the past few years(even in the current economy) and job postings use is up YOY. Also look at the ascent of aggregators like Indeed and SimplyHired.

    As for Facebook, I’m definitely interested to see how this venture works for them. You seem attribute immediate probability of success simply due to the shear number of users that they have globally, which I think is a mistake. If you understand the job board industry, it’s not about simply throwing out opportunities to a mass of people. It is about TECHNOLOGY, matching individuals seeking opportunity with organizations seeking talent. You don’t simply just throw X and Y into bottle, shake it, then hope it works. There is more technology and data involved than you could possibly imagine. In light of Facebook’s IPO performance and the details that have emerged, I wouldn’t be so confident that they could pull off this endeavor. There is very deep doubt of performance and profitability with their most core offering: marketing.

  21. It’s Not LinkedIn Who’d Be Burnt By a Facebook Job Board | Job Board News

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  22. lucas martinez

    It will be interesting to see how will the Facebook job board work but I believe it will be a failure at the same level as the Facebook email.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook but I don’t believe that Facebook and the job market go hand in hand… (at least for now) All job applications launched on Facebook proves it. None picked up.

    Also the fact that any job aggregator will have way more valuable content than the facebook job board (which will come from partners content) makes me wonder, why would I use facebook to look for jobs instead of an aggregator which has way more content?

    There is something more, on linkedin, everyone writes what they do but on Facebook despite them trying to force you to write what you were doing, still most of users don’t say what they do and this is for a reason… many people don’t want to mix facebook with their work life. Having said that it will be hard for facebook to match people…

    It will be interesting to see the model their adopt, I don’t believe it will be possible to apply with Facebook in a closed environment as big companies don’t want to spend time posting jobs and sourcing for candidates in a new platform. Morever, a “facebook apply button” will take a lot of time and b2b sales effort to be implemented.

  23. Justin Miller

    David – Thanks for your comments. So let me start by eating crow.

    I shouldn’t have lumped CB in with Monster when I said “rapid decline in profits” that truly was a misstep mainly because there’s no way of knowing seeing as how they do not release their quarterly earnings and are now privately owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), Tribune Company, The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT). Obviously Monster’s financials are available and they aren’t pretty so I shouldn’t have lumped the two in together when talking finance.

    However, when it comes to usage, again Monster is self evident but if you look at YOY job postings for CB, although they are still in the green you can see a decline. For example: since December they went from the high teens or low 20% per month to now averaging around 6% new job posts per month which to me is a sign of 2 things: more of a focus elsewhere, and fewer new jobs being created. Maybe I’m wrong, but when doing research for my own companies on where to invest ad-spend, we typically have been less and less interested in the old school job boards and more interested in social and more niche boards. That’s just my opinion, and this was an opinion piece.

  24. Aimee Fahey

    Makes me glad I have been off Facebook for over a year now. I love LinkedIn and have no use for Facebook. I don’t have any desire to invade personal space of my applicants, and have never been a fan about how Facebook claims it’s about networking when it’s just a giant market research firm collecting data about people.

  25. Tim Polley

    One thing you fail to mention is the fact that while facebook’s general user base is growing it’s online ad revenue and user retention numbers are weakening.
    A Facebook job board might work for low requirement, low wage positions but it simply won’t be touched by knowledge workers. Many of them have become bored with facebook and almost all have very little trust in the site. LinkedIn, Indeed, and actual recruiters are a better bet and most know it already.

  26. Howard Adamsky

    @Aimee:

    Your comment interests me on many levels. Off FB for a year is impressive. I remain on for a few friends and others I do not often see but something is terribly wrong with either FB, how it is used or some combo of the two.

    Speaking honestly, I can’t seem to get my head around it but on many levels, FB seems to be a way to get a lot of insane people who are angry about everything from religion to politics to just about everything else to hammer you every single day.

    Don’t get me wrong. Much of it is good and perhaps the answer is to carefully control who you let in but I am inches away from saying goodbye to FB and keeping my real friends.

    Do we need a FB job board? I asked Justin Miller and he told me that it could not hurt. While this answer might be correct on the surface, I suspect in a society that is falling to pieces in a host of different places, can’t hurt is not enough reason. The question to me is not if we need a FB job board but if FB needs us to rake in money after the catastrophic IPO.

    Will recruiting really suffer if there is not FB job board. I think not.

  27. Justin Miller

    Tim – Thanks for letting me know what I failed to mention.

    If you go back and read the article you’ll notice I didn’t fail to make that point. “You may have noticed that in the past few months the Facebook camp have made numerous announcements regarding new programs it is rolling out. This includes an external ad network, and mobile advertisements. These broadcasts are undoubtedly in connection to Facebook’s May IPO launch that some deemed “underwhelming,” and an attempt to appease shareholders while boosting the company’s potential value.” In fact if anything, it helps make MY point that something needs to be done by FB to appease shareholders and raise revenue…what could that be? A job board perhaps?

    Your second comment, I’m not even sure what you’re trying to say. So you’re saying a job board on FB might appeal to low requirement workers? let me ask you, what do you think the discrepancy between low requirement and high requirement workers are in the US right now? I would argue it’s pretty weighted to the side of low requirement workers so wouldn’t that mean a FB Job board would be a good call? Plus no where does this article say a FB job board would harm if not help recruiters?

    Howard – I appreciate the response but I think you’re being a little dramatic when you get into issues of society when we’re just talking about a theoretical job board on a site that has a dedicated user-base already. Keep in mind we aren’t talking about recruiting on Facebook, but simply posting jobs to a dedicated page that probably wouldn’t require any type of socialization aside from maybe a share button. To answer your question, simply put it’s both. Americans need jobs, FB already entered an agreement with the Government to help facilitate getting people back to work, this would help, and yes FB needs to generate revenue, this is capitalism, I would be more upset if they WEREN’T trying to build new services and generating revenue. Also, again, never ONCE said it would harm the staffing industry, in fact I’ve said it could do nothing but help it.

  28. Howard Adamsky

    Hi Justin:

    Perhaps a bit of miscommunication here as I never stated that you believe it would harm the staffing industry.

    See the cut and paste below in quotes from your response to me above?

    “Justin Miller Jul 27, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Do we need one? I don’t see the harm. There are jobs out there, and there are DEFINITELY people who need them, what’s the harm in providing a venue for those jobs that may garner more visibility?”

    My only thought was that a “whats the harm” type of thinking is glib but it is hardly a solid strategy or biz case for a FB job board.

    I sense from your comment that you believe it will help people to get back to work. Sadly, I think not as many people are never going back to work. Never, ever going to happen as the world has shifted. I will not go political on this board as that is not my style but I will make one statement.

    We need many things to happen if we are to get people back to work. A FB job board is last on the list. It will create buzz, make a few hires and circulate endless jobs that people will see in endless other places and not even remember if they applied in the first place. You see opportunity. I see more madness and more confusion.

    I do not believe that a FB board will even scratch the surface of the surface of solving the chronic employment issues this country now faces. Believe me Justin, I would rather be wrong then right here but I just have to call them based upon my beliefs.

  29. Howard Adamsky

    “Sadly, I think not as many people are never going back to work.”

    Sorry, I must stop typing so fast.

    What I meant to say was:

    “I sense from your comment that you believe it will help people to get back to work. Sadly, I think many people are never going back to work. Never, ever going to happen as the world has shifted. I will not go political on this board as that is not my style but I will make one statement.”

  30. Keith Halperin

    @ Howard:
    “FB seems to be a way to get a lot of insane people who are angry about everything from religion to politics to just about everything else to hammer you every single day.” FB? I thought you were talking about ERE? ;)

    @ Everybody:
    It’s not important if there is/isn’t a FB job board or if it does/doesn’t make money. What’s important is the PERCEPTION/HOPE that there is (and that it does), so that the slick hucksters with high-level connections ready to sell the recruiting snake oil or “magic bullet”( to desperate and not-yet insolvent recruiters and their superiors who fail to recognize that in most cases they are futilely “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic” of their companies’ ill-conceived, over-blown, grossly-dysfunctional hiring practices) can continue to make money putting on webinars and conferences telling you how to get it to work.

    Cheers,

    Keith
    keithsrj@sbcglobal.net

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    [...] A lot of folks do; today’s launch, and what I hear are more updates to the page to come, will impact everyone from LinkedIn to staffing companies, to job boards and in-house recruiters. tags: facebook, [...]

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