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

Jul 27, 2012
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

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 part of a series called Opinion.
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