Tag Archives: BranchOut

Is Facebook About to Offer Free Job Listings?

I recently predicted that Facebook will eventually destroy LinkedIn. Today, that prediction came closer to reality as the world’s largest social network announced a partnership with national employment services and the US Department of Labor. According to Facebook’s official statement, the Social Jobs Partnership goal will be “to facilitate employment for America’s jobless through the use of social networks.”

Facebook has launched a page, facebook.com/socialjobs, which features resources and information for job seekers from the coalition’s other partners: The National Association of Colleges and Employers, the DirectEmployers Association, and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, along with the Labor Department. Facebook plans to create public service announcements to promote its services in the ten states with the highest unemployment rates, which, according to CNN Money, are Michigan, Rhode Island, California, South Carolina, Oregon, Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia, Alaska, and Florida.


Included in Facebook’s list of initiatives is this intriguing item: “The partnership will explore and develop systems for delivering job postings virally through Facebook at no charge.” Does that mean Facebook will officially enter the job-search market? If so, well, Mashable’s Sarah Kessler put it bluntly: “A job board that lives on Facebook could put the social network in direct competition with sites like LinkedIn and Monster.com.”

LinkedIn already faces challenges from Monster-owned BeKnown and the startup BranchOut, which have launched recruiting applications for Facebook. If Facebook itself gets into the game, it may make LinkedIn irrelevant even before my 2013 prediction.

And that’s just the start of the dominos falling. Monster would find itself in a particularly strange position as its host starts directly competing against it. Monster may drop its Facebook application and return to its own site – but if that strategy was working, why did it approach Facebook at all? Craigslist would also stand to suffer if Facebook allows free job listings, because the social network could offer more focused targeting than Craigslist’s city sections do. BranchOut, with no corporate “parent,” may simply disappear.

When Mashable’s Kessler pressed Facebook on this important matter, a spokesman told her, “We’re going to invest in research in new technologies that will deliver jobs virally at no charge and expand opportunities for people to create social job searching experiences online.”

That one sentence may alter the future of four different corporations and the entire online recruiting world. You know where I stand; what’s your prediction?

Facebook vs. LinkedIn: Round 2

I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to my prediction that Facebook will destroy LinkedIn. The debate has continued on the article’s comments page, on Twitter, and on the Recruiting Animal radio show.

Image courtesy of Gino21410

I’d like to address some of the many good points made on both sides of the issue.

In the comments at ERE.net, Martin Snyder wrote “For my part, I don’t think social is in the DNA of LinkedIn (or they could have BEEN Facebook)” and concludes that “Products and services that enable that evolution will thrive, and recruiting, or the act of hooking up people and opportunity, will be more and more central to everything.”

I agree. Facebook combines social interactions, openness to third-party apps, and brand engagement to create a very compelling environment for recruiters. LinkedIn has many of the same capabilities, but little apparent willingness to innovate.

Which leads me to my next point. Andy Headworth of Sirona Consulting, who calls my post “utter rubbish,” pointed out that “BeKnown didn’t choose to bypass LinkedIn; it had its API access revoked by LinkedIn because they were trying to use the valuable LinkedIn data to populate the BeKnown personal profiles via Facebook.”

So LinkedIn wasn’t just bypassed by Monster, it actively chased Monster away? That’s a  perfect example of LinkedIn’s lack of vision. That decision to cede an innovation to not just one but two rivals may go down in corporate history alongside Borders’ decision in 2001 to let Amazon handle the store’s online book business. Ten years later, who came out on top?

Even recruiters who don’t agree with my prediction that LinkedIn will be irrelevant by the end of 2013 still see that the professional site is in trouble.

In an article titled “Why Facebook Will Not Destroy LinkedIn,” LatinOcean founder Jorge Albinagorta wrote, “I am not saying it will never happen; rather I am arguing that the social links – which can nurture professional links (e.g. I want to work at Adidas ‘cause I love the brand, and my cousin tells me training for salespeople is great) – are at this stage a huge haystack to look for needles.” He goes on to add, “I am looking forward to seeing a network, environment, app, etc. giving LinkedIn a run for its money.”

On the lively and entertaining Recruiting Animal show, I was challenged about numbers. “Animal” suggested that many of Facebook’s 750 million users weren’t of working age or lived outside the US. Let’s take a closer look.

According to CheckFacebook.com, a daily tracker for the social network, 153 million users are in the United States. LinkedIn states that 60 million of its members are US residents. So Facebook provides an American audience more than two and half times as large as LinkedIn.

According to the Pew Research Center, more than 24 million American Facebook users are between the ages of 18-22, the demographic either thinking about internships or summer jobs, or about to enter the workforce. The same study says 3.6 million American LinkedIn users are between the ages of 18-22. Facebook wins by a margin of more than six to one.

Factor in the National Association of Colleges and Employers survey of  20,000 graduating seniors. Ninety-one percent had Facebook pages; only 32% had LinkedIn pages. How will LinkedIn capture that other 59% as they enter the job market? What is LinkedIn doing to appeal to them? If they do nothing, won’t those grads just stay on Facebook and conduct their job searches from there?

Image courtesy of Kazukiokumura

As bleak a picture as I’ve painted, however, many think LinkedIn still has a chance. Fellow ERE.net blogger Ernest Feiteira wrote that “[Facebook] is not LinkedIn’s real competitor. BranchOut or BeKnown are. If LinkedIn realizes this too and they launch an app on FB, LinkedIn will wipe out BranchOut, BeKnown and other LinkedIn clones.”

Is LinkedIn up to the challenge? Will Facebook let its opportunity slip away? Can Google+ change the game? The conversation continues.

Why Facebook Will Destroy LinkedIn

This week, the Wall Street Journal published a story by Joe Light that highlighted certain employers, such as Waste Management, finding more recruitment success on Facebook than on LinkedIn.

“Facebook hires account for less than 1% of the total hires companies are making,” Light noted, quoting Jobs2Web’s recent analysis. “But if current growth trends continue, Facebook could rival traditional job boards in 2012.”

But it isn’t just the job boards that should be worried; Facebook will destroy LinkedIn, too. Here’s why:

  • LinkedIn has 120 million members; Facebook has 750 million. Employers understand the concept of fishing where the fish are.
  • The perception that Facebook is made up of flaky teenagers while LinkedIn includes only business professionals is wrong; the two sites’ average ages are just two years apart (38 for Facebook, 40 for LinkedIn). So there are plenty of 30-somethings on Facebook with years of work experience who are considering a career change.
  • LinkedIn is under attack by a major job board. In June, Monster launched BeKnown, an application that turns Facebook into a recruiting platform. It has 760,000 active monthly users after just two months. Instead of joining forces with LinkedIn, Monster chose to bypass the professional site and ally itself with Facebook.

  • LinkedIn is also drawing fire from a startup. BranchOut, founded by former SuperFan CEO Rick Marini, is a similar application with 2.7 million monthly users. Like BeKnown, BranchOut overlays employer information on top of the Facebook interface while shielding personal data (like embarrassing photos) from recruiters’ eyes. The success of these apps shows that millions of job seekers don’t want to leave their favorite website when looking for work.
  • LinkedIn can’t compete with Facebook’s social marketing. A major part of job searching involves personal references and word of mouth. Facebook is designed for just such interactions, as its “Recommended Pages” on a user’s home page shows. Instead of “Three friends like Pepsi,” users might soon see “Three friends applied to work at PepsiCo.” This sort of peer-to-peer marketing, effective in virtually every other field, will be impossible to duplicate on LinkedIn.

Facebook has more people, spending more time on the site, using innovative technology and getting personal referrals. LinkedIn has only its reputation and clean—bordering on empty—interface. I predict 2011 will be a tough year for the professional networking site. 2012 will be brutal. And, sometime in 2013, Facebook will finally destroy LinkedIn.