A Facebook Jobs Board Would Be Big, But Obstacles Remain

Jul 10, 2012
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

You likely heard by now that according to Dow Jones Newswires, Facebook will be launching its own jobs board as soon as August. The effort would be the social network’s first serious exploration of the careers space that many have been predicting for years.

While details about the planned move are sketchy at this point, it is believed that the board would incorporate listings from third-party providers that currently service Facebook-based brand pages.

While this may not be the big, disruptive splash into the employment space that many had hoped for, as one talent acquisition manager told me yesterday, “This is definitely a big deal.”

What Little We Know

The third-party companies involved in the launch are rumored to include names that should be familiar with anyone who has used Facebook for job postings: BranchOut, Jobvite, and Work4Labs. While none of the companies would publicly comment on the matter, past off-the-record conversations have been confident in their relationship with the largest social network and that their future plans were compatible with one another.

What is being suggested is that Facebook will aggregate listings from these third-party applications and perhaps better integrate with Facebook products like Timeline as well as its brand pages. How deep that integration will go is unclear, but my guess would be that such an integration is the key to its success.

If that is all that is planned, that would be a huge disappointment to those who were looking for Facebook to make a big splash in the recruiting industry. Not everyone is disappointed though.

Facebook’s “Big deal” and Its Impact on LinkedIn

“It’s definitely a big deal.”

That’s what Lars Schmidt, director of talent acquisition for media non-profit NPR, said in an interview yesterday afternoon. “Facebook has the potential to be a huge player in recruiting and employer brand marketing,” he said. “However, I still don’t see it as a robust sourcing platform like LinkedIn.”

Indeed, many analysts don’t expect this initial effort to impact LinkedIn. Even so, the shares slid yesterday on the news from Facebook.

Schmidt said that NPR currently uses Work4Labs (one of the rumored partners) to serve jobs to the brand’s fans and it will be expanding its use soon to its largest brand page (though Schmidt clarifies that they will not be auto-posting jobs to the feed).

Can Facebook Overcome Perception Problems?

Not everyone is crazy about the planned jobs board. Joel Cheesman, former SVP at the job board Jobing, said in an e-mail newsletter sent late Monday that the idea was “terrible.” “Big destination sites getting into the classifieds game has a long history of mediocrity,” he says. “Anyone remember Google Base, eBay’s Kijiji (now eBay Classifieds), MySpace Jobs (powered by Simply Hired), or Yahoo! HotJobs (acquired by Monster)?”

Schmidt admits that Facebook is still largely perceived as a place for personal interactions, not necessarily professional networking. “They’ll see the job on Facebook but they’ll still apply through the careers website,” Schmidt says.

Some of that is privacy based (not wanting job seeking activity to show up in their online activities), but that might be changing with younger professionals being more open to connect with co-workers and even supervisors on the social network.

Still, for a couple of my non-recruiting friends, Facebook isn’t even on the radar when it comes to job seeking. “I wouldn’t even think of looking on Facebook for a job,” said one. That’s a perception that Facebook and its partners will have to change.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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