Tag Archives: Recruiting Animal

Facebook vs. LinkedIn: A Look Back

About a year ago, I wrote about Facebook overtaking and eventually replacing LinkedIn. Since both social networks have been in the news recently, I thought now would be a good time to look back on that prediction — and how the social media recruiting landscape has changed since then.

In the past few weeks, LinkedIn has announced a doubling of revenueacquired SlideShare, and crossed the 100-million-user mark. Facebook, meanwhile, had its much-anticipated IPO, which fell far short of optimistic expectations.

image from pammarketingnut.com

When I wrote the famous blog post back in August, Google+ wasn’t a factor, and no one had heard of Pinterest. But now both sites are being used by big names, from Michael Kors to BWM to Fresh and Easy, for recruiting and employer branding. This means that LinkedIn is facing competition — but not necessarily from Facebook.

In my original article, I pointed to LinkedIn’s lack of innovation, calling their clean layout “bordering on empty.” But now the site offers dozens of premium packages for recruiters, agencies, and organizations, and has launched a special initiative to reach out to nonprofits. The acquisition of SlideShare, which businesses (including mine) use all the time to share presentations, has shown that LinkedIn is indeed innovating. At the same time, BranchOut and BeKnown, the two Facebook apps competing with LinkedIn, have grown more slowly than predicted.

image from Global Knowledge Blog

So will Facebook still destroy LinkedIn? Examine the evidence and decide for yourself:

The blog that started it all: Why Facebook Will Destroy LinkedIn.

I revisited the topic a week later, aggregating all the responses from other blogs.

The Recruiting Animal put Jason Ginsburg, our Director of Interactive Branding, through his usual interrogation.

And before I forget — thanks to Joe Light for writing the original Wall Street Journal article that showed some companies were finding more success recruiting on Facebook than on LinkedIn. Will other companies follow? Stay tuned…

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.