Forget LinkedIn, Here’s Who Facebook Is Really Aiming For

Facebook recently partnered with a slew of job sites and technologies with the goal of getting more job content onto the world’s most popular social network. In front of a roomful of industry veterans at the TAtech conference in Denver last month, the initiative’s project manager, Gaurav Dosi, revealed integrations with ZipRecruiter, Work4, Jobscore, Recruitology, Appcast, and others.

Partners are pleased. “It’s hard to understate the importance of Facebook’s entry into the online jobs market,” said Dan Arkind, CEO and co-founder at Jobscore. “Facebook provides employers almost unfathomable reach and targeting capabilities. It makes sense to help employers reach qualified people where they already spend time with the people they know and trust.”

Employers are pleased. Kinda. “I am impressed and intrigued by the applicants we received in just a matter of days,” said Ray Suri, North American recruitment marketing lead with Intel Corp and Work4 client. “I do think the quality and quantity is there … I am excited to see what hires come of it.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement, huh? Let’s just say it’s still early.

Dosi said 25 percent of its members are looking for a job. That’s a big number, and I’m a little skeptical, but there’s no doubt even a small percentage of almost two billion users is a lot of job seekers. And it’s tough to compete against that kind of scale and a built-in audience. A job board needs a lot of Top Ten search rankings on Google to, oh wait, Google has all those search results now. Never mind.

Fast forward to LinkedIn’s annual conference happening last week. While Facebook is making announcements that equate to more job postings, LinkedIn is talking about economic graphs, recruiting analytics, and insights, AI, and hiring platforms. LinkedIn’s vision puts job postings on the back burner and puts understanding users at the forefront.

“Imagine a world where once you identify your hiring needs, you can start to pinpoint the talent pool available to enable you to fulfill those needs,” said LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, at the event. “Imagine a world where once you identity the right prospect, you’re able to understand how they’re interested in working for your organization.

“Imagine a world where you can measure the effectiveness of your workforce strategy by evaluating talent inflows and outflows relative to your competition. You won’t need to imagine any longer, because the next era of talent is here. The era of Talent Intelligence.”

They’re both playing the employment game, but appear to be on opposing fields. LinkedIn’s deep understanding of work and knowing what employers want is light years ahead of Facebook. While Facebook seems concerned about more content, more page views, and more ad dollars, LinkedIn seems to be figuring out how to take job postings out of the equation altogether.

Which leads to the question: Who is Facebook really in a better position to dethrone? The answer is Craigslist. Laugh if you want, but Craigslist is still a staple in the SMB market in every market that matters in the U.S. However, the SMB market is primed for disruption, and Facebook is just the company to do it.

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The number of small businesses who have a business page on Facebook is significant, and all of them will post jobs if they know it’s an option. And if they get results, they’ll leave Craigslist faster than you can say “Zuckerberg.” And speaking of Zuckerberg, no one else has proven they can thrive without Google like his company has.

Which brings us to the real threat. If anyone is really going to compete with the LinkedIn, Microsoft, Skype trinity, it’s Google. It has the talent, the reach, the brand, and the insatiable appetite to win the battle for enterprise software and not lose another social networking platform war.

The clash of the titans, as I see it today, is shaking out as follows: Facebook will play in the SMB space, while Google and Microsoft/LinkedIn duke it out for enterprise supremacy. Names like CareerBuilder, Indeed, and Glassdoor fight over the remains.

Joel Cheesman

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to Jobing.com. He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.