It all started with a report in the Dow Jones Newswire, as well as other sources like The Wall Street Jornal. Such places had provided scattered speculations about how the social networking behemoth that is Facebook could be starting an online job board.
Facebook and the Department of Labor
While it looks like Facebook had been meeting with organizations like the U.S. Department of Labor in October (Dow Jones) – a move that makes strong suggestion about Facebook’s job market plans – they aren’t making any confirmations at all.
In the Dow Jones article, Facebook was quick to insist that they will not comment on anything that is mere rumor or speculation, so it has been difficult for people to get the exact scoop on what is happening.
What is known can be attributed to the meeting with the Department of Labor last year, in which Facebook wanted to provide job posting information to users via the site at no cost. This is all part of the “Social Jobs Partnership” plan, and it could be assessed that the job board is what could be arising out of such meetings.
On top of the governmental meetings, job posting sites such as Jobvite, BranchOut and Work 4 Labs are all participating in the effort put forth by Facebook, but once again, just how much is going into this is unknown. Joseph Walker, the reporter who wrote the Dow Jones Newswire article did get a quote from an anonymous source in which it was stated that it has been a gradual effort on the part of Facebook to get the board into action.
Any Chance Against LinkedIn?
Until actual results start to get shown, the main discussion that has the social networking community engaged is how this potential job board is going to compete with the widely-used vocational community, LinkedIn. Opinions on this seem to be differing all across the internet, but a common consensus is that LinkedIn probably does not have a reason to be worried.
Josh Bersin, a contributor for Forbes.com made the strong point that audiences for Facebook and LinkedIn are very different. People who are focused on developing their careers, or trying to find one, would more than likely stick to LinkedIn due to the type of community that exists on there already. A site that is utilized for professional networking and development is strictly going to be used for that, which the users of Facebook would probably continue to use it for basic social health.
Another point that has been made is how LinkedIn has already established themselves as the leading recruiting and professional online brand, which a website even as powerful as Facebook might have a hard time measuring up to.
That is not to say that in the event of the Facebook job board takes off that it won’t be used at all, but there is question into what it could deliver. LinkedIn is successful in providing data, company pages and clean resumes. They have also been around long enough to have optimized on new tools and strategies. These developments, such as LinkedIn Recruiter, have been developed based off of the well-learned history of the site, and remains one of their most prized features.
Privacy Issues of the Past.
There is of course the tendency for users to want to keep their social and professional lives separate to consider as well – a point made recently by Doug Anmuth of JP Morgan. Given the turbulent relationship Facebook has had with recruiters this year in regards to privacy rights may also be a source of trepidation for its users. This distinction that users want to make between their professional and social lives will certainly be a big player in deciding just how successful the Facebook job board is going to be.
Professionals and job seekers should keep an open ear for when (or if) Facebook makes a more official announcement of what is going on in regards to the ambiguous project. Until then, we can only compare the effectiveness of Facebook compared to LinkedIn.