Articles by Dow Jones (which initially reported Facebook’s plans to launch a jobs board), Forbes and other outlets went as far as to suggest that Facebook’s proposal – which has not been confirmed by the company – could slow LinkedIn’s momentum. That brought an immediate backlash from hiring managers and employment experts interviewed by ReadWriteWeb.
“Honestly, this looks like a failed project prior to launch,” said Jordan Hudgens, a software engineer with MCW Services. “Employees keep their Facebook and LinkedIn accounts separate for the same reason why you don’t go out for drinks with your boss after work. Users join social networking and business networking sites for two very distinct reasons, and they’re going to want to keep them separate.”
The new site would reportedly aggregate third-party job listings and make them searchable by users. The site could presumably use its vast trove of user data to target ads. It was unclear if the new service would work with or compete against existing third-party job search apps that have been developed for Facebook.
“The Facebook feature is said to consolidate existing third-party applications [like BranchOut], which requires someone to fill in information first,” said DigitalMedia strategist Ari Herzog. “I’ve played with that particular app, and only a handful of my Facebook friends have inputted their information.”
If Facebook is trying to compete with LinkedIn, Herzog said, he does not expect them to catch up anytime soon; LinkedIn has a built-in advantage, and the data is much easier to search by recruiters and job hunters.
The Ongoing Hunt for Revenue
Since its lackluster public offering in May, Facebook has been churning out a steady stream of products, upgrades and enhancements. The jobs board idea struck several company observers as the latest in that series of attempts to prove it has a sustainable revenue model.
“It doesn’t feel like a big effort that they’ve worked on for a long time,” one person with knowledge of the new jobs effort told Dow Jones. “It feels lightweight.” The person speculated that the effort was meant to drive user engagement on the site.
Any such move will ultimately drive that user engagement, but could also pull Facebook further away from its initial model of being a hub for online social engagement.
“Facebook is used to dealing with advertisers, but recruiters draw from a different budget, have different goals and measurements, and have different expectations of the services they purchase,” said Ian Greenleigh, content and social strategy manager at the social analytics tracking company Bazaarvoice. “Unless Facebook builds an internal organization of veterans of the recruiting services industry, they will not succeed. Knowing your customer wins every time.”
“As a public company, right now Facebook is now forced to look into every potential revenue stream available to please investors,” Hudgens added. “This is great example of why Zuckerberg didn’t want to take the company public in the first place.”