SimplyHired.com, a job search site that aggregates job board postings and makes them searchable via one interface, is launching a new feature: Facebook integration. With the added opt-in functionality, you can see if any of your Facebook friends work at a particular company and you can pull a list of all the companies where your friends are employed.
And no, the headline is not as misleading as you think - engineers from Facebook actually helped SimplyHired build this feature in the hopes that it will showcase the power of the social network's new Open Graph platform and the usefulness it can provide when properly implemented.
Opt-in Personalization to See Where Facebook Friends Work
On the updated SimplyHired.com, you can log in with Facebook for a new twist on job discovery that offers a more personalized view of the job marketplace. In addition to searching by work titles, keywords, location and other such filters, you can now search for jobs at the companies where your friends work, too. Once you opt-in to this feature, you'll see a Facebook box popup at the top of a search results page after performing any search on the site. From here, you're one click away from exploring the various companies where your friends work and the possible job opportunities there.
Also, when performing a narrower search, like one by company name for example, you're shown which of your friends also work at that same company.
As anyone facing today's tough job market knows, getting a job isn't as easy as responding to a newspaper ad anymore. Every advantage you have comes into play, and none is more powerful than a personal referral. With SimplyHired's new feature, you can maximize the opportunities for that "foot in the door" connection by discovering, with ease, who works where. There's even a feature for sending a private Facebook message to your friend after you find a job you're interested in.
And for those performing job searches on the sly, SimplyHired assures that nothing is ever posted to your Facebook Wall and News Feed.
What About LinkedIn?
SimplyHired is partnered with LinkedIn and similar on-site integration is already available via that professional network. The company sees the new Facebook integration as complementary to LinkedIn, noting only that younger job seekers (like those fresh out of college, for example) are more likely to be on Facebook while older job seekers may be on both LinkedIn and Facebook or just LinkedIn.
That may be true, but Facebook connects you with the people in your life you're actually close to - your good friends and family: the very people who are willing to do you a favor in a time of need. This was the promise of LinkedIn, too, and while some still use it that way, many have been attempting to game its system instead.
As anyone who regularly uses the LinkedIn network knows, a good many of your connection requests are from people who you've never met. These are LinkedIn's own version of spammers - those trying to get around the network's limitations that force you to pay for credits for connections to people you don't know. Why not just friend everyone?, these people think, then it's free.
The "friend everyone" model eventually failed on MySpace, and it's doomed on LinkedIn too. Do your connections actually know the people they say they're connected to? So often, these days, the answer is "no." People looking for a personal recommendation are more likely to find success among their real friends, like those on their Facebook network.
A Great Example of Facebook's Open Graph in Action
There has been a lot of talk about Facebook privacy issues lately, after the launch of updated privacy controls, which pushed people towards more open settings, and Facebook's new Open Graph, a platform with tools for developers and publishers. One of the more startling initiatives, which caught the eye of regulators and U.S. senators alike, is the "instant personalization" program that immediately adds a social element to a website without your prior authorization. Because the program is opt-out not opt-in, many have felt this is a violation of privacy.
But while instant personalization is still experimental and could eventually be shut down, similar personalization is already possible by simply allowing a site permission to access your data and the public data belonging to your friends.
In SimplyHired's case, the integration of the two services, job seeking and social networking, is a promising example of the possibilities which Facebook's Open Graph can offer.
SimplyHired's new Facebook integration is live now in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia and India.