CXO

Facebook testing a jobs feature, set to compete with LinkedIn, Indeed

Facebook is exploring a feature to allow companies to create job postings and receive applications. Here's what it could mean for job seekers, recruiters, and the competition.

Job seekers may soon have another platform for their search: Facebook recently announced that it was testing a feature that would allow companies to post jobs directly on the social media site, offering competition for job sites such as LinkedIn and Indeed.

"Based on behavior we've seen on Facebook, where many small businesses post about their job openings on their Page, we're running a test for Page admins to create job postings and receive applications from candidates," a Facebook spokesperson told TechRepublic. The company declined to offer any other information.

The move marks another foray for Facebook in engaging users in aspects of life beyond connecting with others. In October, the social media giant launched Marketplace, a page to buy and sell items with people in your community. Around the same time, it also announced the release of Workplace, a communications and collaboration platform for professionals.

SEE: The 10 most popular tech companies for job seekers

For job seekers, Facebook has a competitive advantage against LinkedIn when it comes to user bases: Some 1.79 billion people have Facebook accounts, compared to just 467 million people with LinkedIn accounts. Most of LinkedIn's revenue comes from charging corporate recruiters to connect with job candidates.

"This is part of the Facebook world domination plan," said Shama Hyder, CEO of Marketing Zen. Hyder said it seems that the company is trying to move into the same space as the Chinese website WeChat, which is less like a social network and more like a complete internet on its own. On that platform, people can send money, get directions, and keep up with friends.

"Facebook wants to be the one stop shop for people online," Hyder said. "This is great news for job seekers, especially in the tech field, because if the old adage is true—that friends and your network is what gets you your next job—that just got a whole lot easier."

Facebook also knows it has lost some younger users to Snapchat, Hyder said, and executives want to continue to entrench it as a mega giant—not a company that fades with time.

Some recruiters said they don't expect a Facebook jobs feature to impact the field. "LinkedIn is pretty much the 'go-to' social media site for business networking and jobs, while Facebook is mainly for friends and social," said Jennifer Yeko, founder of Ninja Recruiting. "I don't think it will be a game changer at all."

However, tech jobs are more difficult to fill than others—if tech applicants are more likely to apply to a tech job opening through Facebook over LinkedIn, that could make a difference in that field specifically, she said.

Most recruiting teams today don't need a higher volume of candidates, but rather, higher quality candidates, according to Leela Srinivasan, former LinkedIn employee and current CMO of Lever.

Research from Lever, released last month, found that only one in 152 people who apply for a job via a career site or job board is hired, compared to one in 72 proactively sourced passive candidates, and one in 16 employee referrals.

"Simply put, if Facebook is successful in helping companies connect with higher quality applicants—not just more candidates—that are a better match for the role at hand, there's potential for them to add a lot of value to jobseekers and companies alike," Srinivasan said.

Facebook's latest venture into recruitment could bring positive effects to all three parties in the job search, according to Perry Oostdam, cofounder and CEO of Recruitee. Job seekers, especially millennials who already use Facebook daily, will appreciate the ability to apply seamlessly in one online experience.

Further, "in this job seekers' market, employers find it harder and harder to make their vacancies reach the potential candidates," Oostdam said. "With Facebook joining the party, it automatically becomes the biggest online talent pool ever. This is of extreme interest to employers whose job posting options won't limit to job boards and LinkedIn anymore."

Competitors like LinkedIn will need to innovate, Oostdam said. "LinkedIn has become the go-to place for employers to post jobs. It might have been resting on its laurels, but now it's time to wake up and innovate," Oostdam said. "Facebook is a serious threat—it possesses the largest social network with the most active users after all. This competition will benefit job seekers and employers alike—job postings will be more accessible and inclusive."

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Facebook recently said that it is testing a feature that would allow companies to post jobs directly on the social media site and take applications from candidates.
  2. The social media giant's move into the job board space could mean trouble for competitor LinkedIn, which has 467 million members compared to Facebook's 1.79 billion members.
  3. Some recruiters say they believe Facebook's potential new features could be a boon to job seekers and recruiters, while others doubt that it will have a major impact on the space.

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About Alison DeNisco

Alison DeNisco is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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