Facebook Enters the Job Space

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It’s official: Facebook is entering the job search space. It’s a interesting move since it is such a huge network (1.18 billion daily users dwarfing LinkedIn’s 467 million total users). Last month, TechCrunch has reported that Facebook has begun testing a new “job” tab allowing page admins to create job postings and receive applications from candidates. Here are my predictions.

Effortless job discovery

Facebook has become omnipotent in the lives of many. That very fact makes it plausible one will receive job suggestions through a mechanism similar to ads. As you browse your timeline and other sections of the network, job postings are highlighted one way or another (based on your profile information, usage and other factors). Obviously this wouldn’t prevent you from performing a search query or browse company pages to find postings.

A wide array of job posting types

Demographics of Facebook users cover a large array of different age groups. See the following numbers in regards to the US market (as of April 2015):

  • 82 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds online use Facebook
  • 79 percent of 30 to 49-year-olds online use Facebook
  • 56 percent of online users ages 65 and up use Facebook

In comparison, LinkedIn is the only major social media network for which usage rates are higher among 30- to 49-year-olds than among 18- to 29-year-olds. Furthermore, roughly half of internet users who graduated with a 4 year degree (and above) are on the site. Such reflects the primary target of the platform (mid/senior white collar professionals).

Potentially such would allow Facebook to cater to all types of job seekers: freelancers, service workers, young grads, experienced professionals and the list goes on (resulting in a quite lucrative situation).

Great reach for recruiters

The other side of the coin: recruiters have a gigantic database to find candidates, even ones with very specific skills sets. The selection process would not be solely based on one’s professional experience and attributes, but also on personal preferences such as movies you liked in the past couple of years, number of friends or any other information you’re willing to share. That’s a lot of data to play with to find highly qualified prospects with the right personality for your corporate culture.

Privacy concerns

As you might have guessed, the main obstacle here is privacy. More specifically: how do you utilize the obvious benefits of a huge people database while preserving the users’ right to confidentiality and privacy? This could be achieved through several ways:

  • Segregating regular user accounts from “job seekers” accounts (potentially minimizing the benefit mentioned above).
  • Using only existing users accounts yet masking some personal information (based on the user’s location or residency).

Regardless of the above, users could become weary of this dual personal/professional intent and decide it is best to completely separate the two activities. From a consumer behavior point of view, this makes a lot of sense however the convenience factor could definitely play in Facebook’s favor.

2017 is going to be an interesting year for the job search space with the addition of Facebook. However the social network is facing an uphill battle against a dominant LinkedIn, regulators, as well as its own user base (which it will have to convince).

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

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