The Wall Street Journal was the first to report that Facebook has plans to launch an online job board as early as August. Facebook won’t confirm the plan, so details are scarce.
While this is big news–if it’s true–it’s unclear what the implications are. Sources say this “doesn't yet signal that Facebook is making a full-blown entry into the job-recruiting market,” but nonetheless assert that this threatens professional networking sites like LinkedIn. Industry pundits are already weighing in:
1. Anthony Ha of TechCrunch says ‘Don’t Get Too Excited.’
Ha’s post rings with skepticism about the significance of the announcement. He speculates that this could simply be a part of Facebook’s Social Jobs partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor. As he writes, “One of the partnership’s plans was to ‘explore and develop systems where new job postings can be delivered virally through the Facebook site at no charge.’”
Another interesting thing he points out:
“One of the quoted sources describes it as ‘lightweight’ and says, ‘It doesn’t feel like a big effort that they’ve worked on for a long time.’”
Factor in the sources' claims that Facebook doesn’t initially plan to monetize its job board and didn’t develop it internally, and Ha's right that the job board might amount to nothing more than “a cool-sounding feature.”
His conclusion: “Could Facebook become a more serious player in recruiting? Sure, anything is possible. But there’s nothing here to make me think it’s more likely.”
2. ‘Facebook Jobs Would Be Big, Obstacles Remain,’ says Lance Haun.
Like Ha, Haun is skeptical of how serious Facebook is about joining the job board fray. Still, he believes this is significant news.
“While this may not be the big, disruptive splash into the employment space that many had hoped for, as one talent acquisition manager told me yesterday, ‘This is definitely a big deal,’” says Haun.
The opportunity for Facebook, as Haun sees it, is in the company’s ability to integrate a job board with its Timeline and Pages products. But even with that integration, will Facebook ever become a major sourcing platform? Huan quotes Lars Schmidt, Director of Talent Acquisition at NPR:
“Facebook has the potential to be a huge player in recruiting and employer brand marketing. However, I still don’t see it as a robust sourcing platform like LinkedIn.”
3. Forbes Contributor Erika Morphy says ‘LinkedIn Could Get a Boost.’
Morphy argues that people go to Facebook for social networking, and LinkedIn for professional networking. If they suddenly see jobs they’re interested in coming across their Facebook feed, they’ll be more likely to hop onto LinkedIn and strengthen associated connections there.
“People will go to a site that is serious and known for its job networking bona fides,” says Morphy, “especially for something as serious and integral as employment.”
LinkedIn shares took a slight hit following publication of the article. And Topeka Capital Markets’s Victor Anthony said that recent polls indicate Morphy is correct, “suggesting to us that LinkedIn could remain insulated near-term by actions by Facebook in this area.”
The ultimate question is whether Facebook will succeed where other job sites have failed. In an e-mail newsletter sent late Monday, Joel Cheesman, former SVP at the job board Jobing, asked, “Anyone remember Google Base, eBay’s Kijiji, MySpace Jobs, or Yahoo! HotJobs?”
What do you think? Will Facebook ever become a formidable competitor to major job sites or to LinkedIn? Will a viable monetization strategy emerge? If you were Facebook, what would you do?
Thumbnail created by Thos Ballantyne.