Facebook Might Be Working On A Job Board, But DonÔÇÖt Get Too Excited

facebook social jobs partnership

Stop the presses! Facebook and LinkedIn are about to become archrivals in the recruiting market! At least, thatÔÇÖs the implication of a Wall Street Journal article, which reports that Facebook plans to launch a job posting board later this summer.

ItÔÇÖs a nice scoop if true (the Journal cites ÔÇ£people familiar with the matterÔÇØ), but reading the story is a strange experience. Basically, it starts out by explaining why the job board isnÔÇÖt a big deal. Then, having established that it isnÔÇÖt a big deal, the story talks about what a big deal it is.

The board will reportedly aggregate job listings from third-party services like BranchOut, Jobvite, and Work4 Labs, making them searchable for Facebook users. One of the quoted sources describes it as ÔÇ£lightweightÔÇØ and says, ÔÇ£It doesnÔÇÖt feel like a big effort that theyÔÇÖve worked on for a long time.ÔÇØ Someone also says Facebook didnÔÇÖt build the site itself, and instead got a third-party developer to do it. The Journal reports that Facebook doesnÔÇÖt plan to monetize the service initially, and says itÔÇÖs ÔÇ£unclearÔÇØ whether the company will do so in the future.

Apparently, the job board might be an extension of the Social Jobs Partnership that Facebook announced with the US Department of Labor last fall. In fact, if you read the program announcement, one of the partnershipÔÇÖs plans was to ÔÇ£explore and develop systems where new job postings can be delivered virally through the Facebook site at no charge.ÔÇØ

A Facebook spokesperson, meanwhile, sent me the obligatory statement: ÔÇ£We donÔÇÖt comment on rumor or speculation.ÔÇØ

Add that all up, and what do you get? A cool-sounding feature, possibly part of an existing partnership, but not a major new direction or revenue source for the company. So  why talk about how it could be more of a threat to other professional networking sites such as LinkedIn? Or the stuff about the evolution of recruiting and the size of online recruiting industry? All of this speculation comes with caveat of, If Facebook decides to get serious about this   but the story doesnt offer any real evidence that thats going to happen.

Again, Im not trying to take away from the Journals scoop. Its just that parts of the article are  puzzling. And as someone whos had his own moments of pressure (from myself or from my editors) to make news seem like a bigger deal than it is, Im seeing some familiar signs. With all the ifs, shoulds, and coulds it almost feels like the Journal had a dramatic story in their head about Facebook vs. LinkedIn. When it turned out to be less of a page turner than expected, they werent quite willing to let it go. (Im also not opposed to blue-sky speculation  speculation is fun!  but a little dodgier when mixed in with real reporting.)

Put another away: Could Facebook become a more serious player in recruiting? Sure, anything is possible. But thereÔÇÖs nothing here to make me think itÔÇÖs more likely.

Facebook is the worldÔÇÖs largest social network, with over 845 million monthly active users.

Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin to help build Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks.

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