The Failure of Facebook Jobs Proves Again That Eyeballs Alone Aren’t Enough

With job advertising, it’s almost always been one of two approaches: Build your job-advertising destination or go put your job ads in front of a ready audience. Newspapers have been doing the latter for decades and even tried to build their own destination with the purchase of CareerBuilder in 2000. 

Generally, though, most jobs are hosted on websites where their sole purpose is to deliver jobs, or are at least primary destinations for job-seekers. While sites like Indeed, The Muse, and Glassdoor easily fit that bill, we could even controversially add LinkedIn, which appears to still derive at least a plurality of its revenue from talent solutions. LinkedIn’s diversification into learning, as well as trying to create a more social network to drive sales, and marketing spend will likely change that in the coming years. 

Of course, LinkedIn isn’t the only social-media site looking to trade dollars for eyeballs.

Facebook’s Jobs Rollercoaster

Meta’s Facebook seemed like a ripe target for job advertising. With literally billions of users, it seemed like a sure thing when they relaunched a true “jobs for Facebook” product in 2017, quickly expanding to 40 countries in 2018. 

That’s right. Relaunched. 

Five years earlier in 2012, Facebook launched a job board and I wrote about it back then. The media went crazy about the revolution it was going to usher in with job-seeking. They were wrong. It was a dud out of the gate, and it eventually shut down. 

A few years later with the return of jobs, similar headlines reappeared about Facebook threatening LinkedIn. This second attempt was admittedly much better. The functionality was built in-house instead of via partnerships with companies like Monster and the DirectEmployers Association. Dedicated search and application functionality led to a better experience for everyone. But it wasn’t enough to keep it going.

While Facebook specifically said they are keeping jobs functionality in the U.S. and Canada, they are taking away some functionality universally:

  • The Facebook Jobs browser will no longer be available, and Facebook Jobs will no longer be available on the Facebook Lite application or Facebook mobile site for either employers or job-seekers.
  • The ability to distribute free jobs via a partner integration with the Facebook Jobs API will no longer be available.
  • Existing Facebook groups with Jobs as the group type will be changed to General, and the Jobs group type will no longer be available.

Companies in the U.S. and Canada will be able to post jobs on their page and manage applications. They can boost them as they would any other post, but their discoverability is more limited now. 

At some point, it seems likely that even that functionality will go away. 

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Be Weary of the Next Jobs for [Insert Social Network]

Even with nearly 3 billion users, it’s clear that most people weren’t going to Facebook to find their next job. And while Facebook collects a trove of data about their users, it’s not necessarily the right data to help make a serendipitous connection to a Facebook member’s next career. 

With an algorithm and business model that is predicated on keeping people locked into a newsfeed and engaging with the content they want to see, it’s clear that jobs were a dog. If the choice is showing a possible job or something a friend liked, Facebook collected enough data over the past four years to figure out that a job was never going to work. The death of dedicated job-search functionality punctuates the reality of users not having limitless attention, too. 

Social networks like TikTok are starting to dip their toes into the job waters, and my guess is that any social network is going to look at the current labor environment and see ways to separate budget dollars from talent acquisition departments.

There may be flashes in the pan, but long-term, these social networks will see the same fate as Facebook when it comes to being an ad hoc job board. 

Having a massive audience is good. Having an audience that is thinking about their career instead of funny videos is better. 

Your budget is already going to be stretched thin if you are hiring people this year. Make it count.

Lance Haun is the practice director of strategy and insights for The Starr Conspiracy, where he focuses on researching and writing about work technology. He is also a former editor for ERE Media, broadly covering the world of human resources, recruiting, and sourcing. 
 
He has been featured as a work expert in publications like the Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, MSNBC, Fast Company, and other HR and business websites.
 
He's based in his Vancouver, Wash., home office with his wife and adorable daughter. You can reach him by email or find him off-topic on Twitter.

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