Reports Says Facebook is Preparing to Launch A Jobs Service

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Jul 12, 2012

You likely heard by now that according to Dow Jones Newswires, Facebook will be launching its own jobs board as soon as August. 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, “This is definitely a big deal.”

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. None of the companies would publicly comment on the matter.

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. Others are more optimistic.

Lars Schmidt, director of talent acquisition for media non-profit NPR, who called it a big deal, said, “Facebook has the potential to be a huge player in recruiting and employer brand marketing.” “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 Tuesday on the news from Facebook.

Schmidt said that NPR currently uses Work4Labs 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).

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 wrote. “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.

A study by Millennial Branding called Facebook an inadvertent business network. By virtue of the number of co-workers Gen Yers have friended, they’ve established connections that follow them from job to home to new job.

“Their co-workers are their friends. And because people change jobs so often and have so many friends, their friends become co-workers,” said Dan Schwabel, the study author.

Planned all along

Almost from day one, Facebook planned to get into the jobs posting business. A detailed article on Business Insider nearly two years ago included an exchange of emails and instant messages between Mark Zuckerburg and his co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who had set up an independent job board — Joboozle — and ran ads on Facebook itself.

According to the article, Zuckerburg was livid when he found out and wrote this in an email to Saverin:

You developed Joboozle knowing that at some point Facebook would probably want to do something with jobs. This was pretty surprising to us, because you basically made something on the side that will end up competing with Facebook and that’s pretty bad by itself. But putting ads up on Facebook to advertise it, especially for free, is just mean.

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