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Tried the Social Jobs App? Share Your Experiences

by
Stéphane Le Viet
Jan 25, 2013, 5:03 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-01-21 at 9.24.24 PMWith all of the concern about the recession and the current unemployment rate, it’s easy to overlook the fact that as of October there were 3.7 million unfilled jobs in the U.S. Alone, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those of you working in the HR industry probably already know how close to home this number hits — and how difficult it is to close the gap between the number of open positions and the qualified candidates needed to fill them.

That said — and I may be biased, since my company, Work4 Labs, and I have a stake in the continued success of social recruiting technology — I truly believe we are at a really exciting juncture in the history of the recruiting industry. We not only have professional networks in place to connect active job seekers with specialized positions, but we also — for the first time — have the buy-in from active and passive talent on personal networks such as Facebook.

Facebook’s interface has helped facilitate a shift in the user experience, especially when it comes to sharing personal information with companies and brands. Call it a lucky result of the implementation of Facebook’s Timeline, the simplicity of single-sign-on and one-click sharing features, the push by marketing agencies to maximize employer branding through Timeline for Business, or what you will.

And now you have a new tool to add to your recruiting arsenal.

Beginning this past summer, you may have heard rumors of the formation of a partnership in the interest of creating a job board on Facebook. Indeed, the Social Jobs Partnership, a “coalition of employment service non-profits, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the world’s largest network (namely Facebook),” was formed in the same month as the U.S. Bureau of Labor released the statistics on unfilled jobs. And one of this partnership’s initiatives was to create a job board app for Facebook, which launched in November. (You can learn more about all of the SJP’s initiatives on the SJP Facebook page.)

At the time of the launch, the Social Jobs App, a job board that uses the power of Facebook’s network, featured 1.7 million listings, creating a central location for recruiters to share jobs with the Facebook’s 1 billion user community. The app allows job seekers to use Facebook to search for jobs by industry, location, and skills, making the job search process easier and more accessible.

I often hear concerns from bloggers and industry professionals who think the job board is an attempt to turn Facebook into a professional networking platform or somehow compete with the likes of LinkedIn. It’s not — and I think it is helpful to look at it this way:

The rollout of Timeline for Business was not intended to turn Facebook into a brand advertising network; rather, it allowed companies to leverage the power of personal connections to increase brand awareness. In the same vein, the rollout of the Social Jobs App is not intended to turn Facebook into a professional network; rather, it allows employers to leverage the power of personal connections to streamline hiring and increase job visibility.

In other words, the app is a place for both passive and active candidates to find out how they can work with the companies they already “like.”

I also understand that some companies and HR departments have been slow to adopt the app (and Facebook as a recruiting platform in general) due to concerns about its efficacy. To many companies, “Facebook” as an entity still conjures up the image of a truly social – -i.e. not professional — platform. But for many of Facebook’s users, that context has already begun to change.

Today we “friend” our coworkers and complete our Timelines with our work and educational history. Often, we “like” companies in our preferred industries, we engage with the brands we follow, and we already share jobs with our friends through status updates when our companies are looking for good qualified candidates.

By the same token, looking for a job is a very personal endeavor. You chat with your friends and family about it. You ask for advice from the people you trust, and you search for companies into whose cultures you fit. Many of those conversations and much of that research already happens on Facebook.

No, the network is not exclusively professional; however it’s clearly ripe for professional use.

While many may agree with me on the above point, they still argue that the app itself lacks value or application. They ask, is it useful? Does it work? Will anyone know where to go to see my jobs?

It is useful, and it does work. Just look at the companies like Hard Rock and L’Oreal who are already seeing great candidate engagement and return on their efforts. But as for whether or not candidates will know how to find you, that is, as with any recruiting solution, in part up to you.

Being “found” on the Social Jobs App may not yet be a reality for many companies out there; this is not a matter of poor execution of the app, but rather the unfortunate fact of implementing any new technology before widespread industry adoption: the marketplace is fertile, but the HR industry simply has not adopted the tools to harvest it.

However, once you invest in those tools — to connect your ATS, to target candidates through ads and Sponsored Stories, to build your brand and drive engagement, to track your analytics and make improvements — you will be able to turn the app into a thriving hub for your social recruiting strategy. As it stands, the app exists, the tools are out there, and there are 1 billion potential candidates who are just waiting to be found.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts and your experiences with the Social Jobs App. If you’ve used it, what has your experience been? And if you’ve held off from using it, what has been your limiting factor(s)? I look forward to hearing your replies.

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. Jerome DIDAT

    Cher Stéphane,

    I fully agree with your “call to use” Facebook as a major recruiting place.

    By the way, SJP is a quite disappointing tool for candidates : I only typed “Marketing” as keyword in the job search engine, no location, and … only got 10 to 495 jobs matching depending on job site (you are the “495 jobs matching” site : congratulations).
    Why so few results while any source (ie Monster, Branchout, etc) individually gives much more (1000 times more) ?

    About HR people slow to adopt SJP : I do think they get the value of developping Facebook as a new sourcing tool. But SJP looks really like Google Offers. Remember when google tried to integrate vertical markets like job postings ? Never succeeded. Why ? HR people do not want to become marketers buying CPC, managing CTR, etc.

    We are working on a new tool that could be “HR compatible” on Facebook, and be a perfect complement to your solution. Why don’t we meet ?

    Jérôme

  2. Chris Hoyt

    I’m sorry, Stephanie – but I couldn’t disagree with you more in regards to your statement:

    “Being “found” on the Social Jobs App may not yet be a reality for many companies out there; this is not a matter of poor execution of the app, but rather the unfortunate fact of implementing any new technology before widespread industry adoption”

    This just simply isn’t true at all.
    In fact, I’d go so far as to bet that the lack of it’s adoption has MUCH more to do with (if not completely related to) the lack of the apps functionality than the HR community’s reservations around social recruiting.

    Use the app in partnership with a company that by the definition of the announced partnerships should have jobs present. REALLY USE THE APPLICATION and compare what is presented versus what should be expected – from a quality, quantity and UX standpoint.

    Unfortunately, I think you’ll see that it’s still far from ready for prime-time even since it’s (Nov?) launch.

    This challenge is one that cannot be blamed on HR’s historic resistance to change or fear of “compliance” concerns.

  3. Chris Hoyt

    Apologies for the typo, Stephane. My auto-correct changed your name in the initial address.

  4. Stephane Le Viet

    Hi Chris,

    I agree with you regarding the quality of the Social Jobs App itself, and the product improvements that are required to make it a real valuable solution for recruiters. My statement relates to the fact that there are very few examples out there of brand new sourcing technologies that get embraced and that work right away. It’s a typical marketplace dilemna where candidates need to be attracted before a product can be adopted by recruiters, and vice versa. In the case of Facebook, the widespread adoption will come as soon as all users know that they can use the platform to explore job opportunities.

    I’m a firm – albeit biased – believer that Facebook as a platform is going to massively disrupt online recruiting. Facebook made a small step in this direction with the Social Jobs App, and a much bigger step with the announcement of Graph Search last week. I’m convinced that 2013 will see Facebook emerge as a major recruiting channel, and I look forward to keep chatting/debating about the topic.

    Cheers,

    Stephane

  5. Chris Hoyt

    Respectfully, I’m not sure I’m buying your argument, Stephane. In your article you clearly put the of the lack of use on HR and users versus the incredibly flawed application itself – where I believe it squarely sits.

    I’m confident that had the app been launched and actually perform as expected that we’d have seen a significantly different promotion and adoption rate. Unfortunately it’s now going to have to climb an uphill battle (if they even move forward) to win back any credibility it thought it would receive. Additionally, I believe they can expect adoption and popularity to be at least 2x harder to achieve if it occurs at all.

    Work4Labs is a great product (disclaimer: I’ve launched the Enterprise version on one of my PepsiCo pages) and I’m positive that you would never have let it go to market in the state which SJA was released. I’m sure you can imagine how much harder it would have been to get companies and users on board if you had.

    We’ll agree that 2013 will be an interesting year for Facebook and recruiting. The future is uncertain as to whether the Social Jobs App will be something that gets taken seriously or serves as a reminder to what half-baked delivery can do for reputation and adoption rates.
    Either way, the SJA team needs to take ownership for this failure thus far. After all, I can’t design and attempt to sell a sports car without an engine or wheels and successfully blame the shoppers for it’s failure.

  6. Lance Haun

    I don’t think my concern is at all about turning Facebook into a network along the likes of LinkedIn. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at how robust the new Facebook graph search really is and how well it could compete with LinkedIn assuming that people start putting more work-related data into the system.

    My main concern is that the social jobs app, as it exists today, is a non-starter. It’s not just the fact that it was poorly implemented and should’ve never seen the light of day, it’s also the fact that it has very little visibility on Facebook. If Facebook wanted to get this in front of their millions of US users, they would. They have chosen not to and I don’t blame them.

    If Facebook wanted to create their own job board or aggregator (without doing it themselves), they should’ve partnered with (or even acquired) a company and focused on deep, meaningful integration into the Facebook experience.

    The app will continue to lack traction until the plug is pulled or the app is re-imagined and integrated deeply, the same way photos, events, games and (now) search is into its system. I think assigning blame to outdated attitudes about using Facebook for professional purposes isn’t fair. If Facebook wants to get serious about it, they’ll get it in front of users, get the app right and integrate it more fully. Then we’ll see if those attitudes hold true.

  7. Chris Hoyt

    Well said, Lance.

  8. Keith Halperin

    Folks, IMHO the problem is no longer finding and contacting the people you want, it’s the problem of getting the people you want to listen to what you have to say. None of these new tools will solve THAT problem…..

    -kh

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