Back in April we published a post in which we suggested that Facebook could soon be looking to directly compete with LinkedIn by utilizing their vast knowledge graph to power a new career intelligence and recruitment system. At the time that was largely based on supposition - Facebook's research team had conducted two studies which both pointed to them using the Facebook graph for career insights, one looking at who's more beneficial in helping you find a job (a close friend or an acquaintance), and another which looked at how jobs run in families (whether people's choice of profession is influenced by what their parents or siblings do).
The question we posed was why Facebook would be looking at this, which then lead to the possibility that maybe Facebook was considering using their network to build a job-seeking and career insight platform, which, if they did, could pose a significant threat to LinkedIn.
As it turns out, we were onto something - this week, Facebook has confirmed that they, in fact, looking to add a new 'Jobs' tab to Pages, starting with a test group.
(Image via TechCrunch)
As reported by TechCrunch, (and first spotted by Matt Navarra from The Next Web) the new jobs listings will appear on a separate 'Jobs' tab on your Page, where visitors will be able to browse openings and apply on platform. Once they do, the fields of the job application form will be auto-populated with their listed Facebook profile data, streamlining the process. Submitted applications will come through as a message to the Page - it's a simple, straight-forward workflow which, according to Facebook, aligns with how small businesses, in particular, are already using their Facebook Pages to advertise open positions.
But here's where Facebook could really win out.
Again, as per TechCrunch:
"Businesses will also be able to pay to show their News Feed job postings to more people, directly competing with some of LinkedIn's ad offerings. Facebook's opportunity here combines its ubiquitous reach, personal data and engagement."
This is where Facebook trumps all other platforms - The Social Network has more user data than anyone else, more personal insights and informational reference points than any other company in history. Of course, LinkedIn should, theoretically, still be better placed on this - while LinkedIn has only a fraction of Facebook's audience (467 million versus 1.79 billion), LinkedIn's dataset is all professional and career info. Through LinkedIn's data resources, they can track people's education history, hiring trends, how long people stay in each position, etc. This puts LinkedIn in the perfect position to provide more in-depth career insights, and likely, recommend better job matches - for example, LinkedIn already has systems in place which enable businesses to find the ideal candidate for their open job spots by matching potential hires against the skills and experiences of their current top employees.
In future, LinkedIn will be looking to capitalize on this dataset in order to create more intelligent machine learning workflows that help recruiters find more suitable candidates, and help candidates make better career choices. But this, also, could be where Facebook might be able to gain an edge - the platform's audience size and reach, combined with their advanced work on machine learning and network engineering, gives them more capacity than anyone else to dominate on this front, if they so choose.
As highlighted in the aforementioned Facebook research papers, Facebook's already testing how they can match personality traits and behaviors to career insights. Add to this the fact that studies have already proven that Facebook data can pretty much reveal everything about who you are and what you're interested in, based on your Like profile alone, and you can imagine that Facebook could, theoretically, use those same insights to locate the people best suited to any open position you post - you list the details and requirements and Facebook analyzes the information and shows your job listing to best-match candidates on the network, based on any number of qualifiers they could apply to improve and refine their targeting.
Considering Facebook's data, and the fact that it's the most used social platform in the world, there could come a time where recruitment via Facebook makes absolute perfect sense.
And then, of course, there's Workplace, Facebook's professional services offering, which was officially launched just last month.
Now it becomes even more interesting - while Facebook and Workplace are, for all intents and purposes, separate entities, there will always be the opportunity for crossover between the two as they're fundamentally linked systems. Now, with Workplace as your in-house operational platform, you can post jobs within that workflow and advertise them on Facebook, targeted directly towards the people best suited for your role/s. You could even use your existing employees as templates, enabling you to find candidates that match those same profile characteristics and traits, ensuring they're a perfect fit for your organization.
It's not at this level yet, there'd still be a long way to go before Facebook became the key platform for job listings. But it could. The framework is there, the data, the scale.
The suggestion that Facebook could be coming for LinkedIn next is not as far off as it may, initially, have seemed.