The Facebook Job Board Debate 15 Comments


The topic of Facebook launching a job board this summer has received a lot of attention the past couple of weeks.  From stating a Facebook job board could kill LinkedIn’s momentum – to quoting 92% of recruiters are using social media to recruit talent.

Have recruiters hired people through Facebook or have job seekers found a job through Facebook? Sure. The irony is all of the experts I’ve seen commentary from stating this is a great idea also said the last 10 attempts at social recruiting would change the world.

Before jumping on the “Facebook job board” bandwagon, consider the following:

Job Postings On Facebook
You can continue to point to example after example of where recruiting on Facebook has had little impact on social recruiting.  So what about “job postings”? Facebook already launched job postings, with little impact. Remember? It was called the  social jobs partnership. Facebook, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), DirectEmployers Association (DE), and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) created the the aggregation page in 2011 – all in an effort to put people back to work. How’d that work out?

For the most part BranchOut led the pack in pioneering the professional network concept on Facebook.  A few months ago they received an additional $25 million in funding and launched a mobile app.  As a result, usage went way up.  Fast forward to today – AppData shows a massive decline in both monthly users (from 4.8 million to 2.3 million) and weekly users (800,000 to 430,000).

A couple of weeks ago BeKnown celebrated its’ 1 year anniversary.  Do you think there was cake and champagne to celebrate? Just 2 months ago ERE had an article announcing Monster was adding social connections to their job postings. In the article, Tom Chevalier, Monster’s director of product management was quoted with BeKnown’s “growth trajectory will be pretty dramatic” as a result of the social connections addition. John Zappe, the author of the article shared, “Because joining the BeKnown network from Monster takes hardly any effort, he’s probably right”. So what are the results? According to AppData, it shows that the app averages between 60,000 – 80,000 weekly users.  Coming from a site that has millions of Resume’s and users, this doesn’t seem dramatic.

Social Recruiting Is A Big Deal
92% of Recruiters use social networking to recruit and hire talent? Yes, they do.. If you consider LinkedIn a social network and not a professional network. In a webinar poll I recently conducted 64% of attendees stated they had not hired 1 person from Facebook. A majority of recruiting leaders I’ve spoken with attribute 1%-3% of their hires from Facebook, according to source tracking data.


Another point of view
Joel Cheesman recently published his views on an article titled “Facebook Shouldn’t Launch a Job Site (But Probably Will)”.  In the article, Cheesman went on record stating that this is a terrible idea, regardless of what form it could take. He elaborated sharing that big destination sites getting into the classifieds game has a long history of mediocrity. Cheesman also pointed to the bevy of job search apps that are more-or-less ghost towns or have since been buried, including ones by, Simply Hired and CareerBuilder.

Company Pages
What about the tens of thousands of Company pages that have been created on Facebook, all aggregated with job postings?

You have to consider those looking for a job (a job posting), compared to those you can target, source, and recruit.  What percentage of Facebook users have complete professional profile information with company name, job titles, or professional accomplishments?

Aggregating jobs from third party sources or launching a job board on Facebook will have little impact on social recruiting – just as it has up until now and it won’t kill LinkedIn’s momentum. Companies and recruiters can continue talking about social recruiting to sound current and innovative, or they can focus on the real issues that exist.


About Jason Buss

Talent HQ’s creator and editor is Recruiting & Diversity Leader, Jason Buss. Talent HQ is a premier online news and information channel for the Recruiting and Human Resources community.

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  • Posted on: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
  • This Post Has 15 Comments

    1. Chris Parker says:

      I personally think that If Facebook does launch this that users will have to change everything on their Facebook page. This will cross the line on professional and personal. I play a lot of the Zynga games on Facebook and If I were to attach myself to a job board where recruiters will be searching I would have a better chance of becoming president of the world than having a job offer from a recruiter. Employers today are already looking for reasons not to hire someone and social networking is becoming one of their searching grounds. If Facebook does launch this program I would love to see it where they completely block any employer from seeing your Facebook page at all. Employers do not need to see my Sim’s Social or Mafia Wars levels. There is no need to blur the lines from Personal and Professional.

    2. Dave says:

      BranchOut claimed 25 million users, is down to less than 3 million (according to AppData), is shedding users at an incredible rate, and that’s all you have to write?

      On the flip side (so to speak), you wrote an article in which you claimed BeKnown was the top recruiting failure of 2011, and for a reference, you quoted yourself. Between that and this, It really seems like you have a bone to pick with BeKnown, and/or Monster.


    3. Alconcalcia says:

      To me it’s just another generic board that will take ads from all and sundry and clog up and confuse the online airwaves and jobsekers even more with loads more poor content. There are plenty of places to look for jobs already in existence. Sounds very much like Facebook isn’t bringing something new to the party, simply the same old bottle of tired recruitment house wine that many candidates are already fed up with.

    4. The 2011 social jobs partnership between Facebook, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), DirectEmployers Association (DEA), and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) is still in the planning stage.

      I received an update on it within the last week and it appears they’re still months away from launching anything so it is a little premature to write it off as a failure. I don’t understand why something apparently so important is probably going to take a year but perhaps they’ve had to hit the pause button because NACE’s job board (NACELink) is powered by Simplicity and Simplicity had their offices raided by the FBI for allegedly hacking into the computer systems of one of their competitors. It seems to me that the DOL and perhaps the other organizations would have decided it best to hit the pause button on this until the FBI/Simplicity issue is resolved.

    5. Ed says:

      I will not associate myself with a Facebook-affiliated job board. I use my LinkedIn account for job searching and professional activities. Facebook is kept for social stuff, the kind of things one would not discuss in front of a boss or potential employer.

    6. Jason Buss says:

      Steve, thanks for the updates.

    7. Facebook has the members and activity to be a fantastic recruiting site. But the odds are heavily stacked against this. As some have noted, the data fields on Facebook are just not set up to prepare and display a professional profile. The data fields are great for posting pictures from ones back yard. A Recruiter needs to be able to find a candidate by XX miles from Zip code XXXXX, or by country name, by Job Title (current and/or previous) , by Language, by keyword and so on. That is what social networking is about.

      Putting up just a Job Board for candidates to respond to is a dead duck. Recruiters want access to passive candidates, not active candidates. Job boards are passe.

    8. Jason Buss says:

      Dave, I don’t have a “bone to pick” with BeKnown or Monster. I did call it the biggest recruiting fail of 2011 – because it was launched in 2011. BranchOut was around before then.

      I wrote BeWare of BeKnown the day it was launched and a year later agree with what I wrote. I’ve have been writing on this topic for nearly 4 years, and have had the same views, regardless of the vendor or product.

    9. Laura Sehres says:

      In my opinion, Facebook is trying to be too many things for too many people. Basic marketing (and common sense) teaches that branching out too much causes one to be spread too thin. Additionally, while the younger generation may be growing up publicizing just about everything going on in their lives and therefore won’t mind blending their professional image with their personal one, the bulk of the population still prefers to keep the two images separate. I believe this will be a large hindrance to a Facebook job board.

      (This comment is my opinion and does not represent the opinion of the company for which I work.)

    10. Jason Buss says:

      Carrie, thanks for your comments. You make some valid points given your views.

      It’s Facebook, it’s not going to stop unemployment or put people back to work any different that any other job board, aggregator, job fair, or skilled recruiter could. We disagree, and should leave it at that.

    11. Alconcalcia says:

      I made this comment before somewhere else, but it still applies, namely I’ve been of the opinion for ages now that Facebook is a rubbish vehicle for recruitment. I don’t care that it has 900m members – China as a population of 1,338,299,512 that doesn’t mean I should look in China for my ideal candidate. It’s all about motives for being on there and what people want to get out of it. I don’t buy into the belief that anything other than a very small percentage of career minded business professionals want, or even expect to be recruited via Facebook. I even doubt that a lot of them have a particularly active Facebook account. And those that do may well not have filled in every field in their profile to give you a clear indication of what they do for a living. Nor do they want some random stranger barging in on the middle of a private chat with a friend.

      There are so many much better, tried, trusted and more targeted options where people are there for a purpose and one purpose only – to find a job. Facebook should be seen for what it is – a place where people can keep family and friends informed about whats going on, post pictures of children and pets and randomly like soft drinks, a chocolate bar or some other product advertiser who maybe has a competition on the go. It is not, nor ever will be a reliable, tried and trusted and universal recruitment vehicle. indeed, in my view it will be flailing within the next few years just like Myspace before it as it continues to struggle for ways to monetise itself to the extent that any organisation with 900m members should.

      Advertisers are leaving it in droves and its share price is fragile – it’s frankly destined to be yesterday’s news. Over and above the possibility that Facebook might be good for filling low level jobs in bulk, i.e. shelf fillers for a store opening, if you want a job that is pitched a bit higher than that, forget Facebook and go to niche job boards and media or employer driven career portals of which there are plenty – plus, they’re only inhabited by like minded jobseekers, not grannies, children or rednecks sitting at their PC in their underpants pretending to be 12.

      So now you know ;-0

    12. Jason, come on… you and Cheesman both are quick to condemn before you check your facts, and quite frankly – I’m disappointed. This IS a continuation of the Social Jobs Partnership…. if you think about bringing that many organizations together to try and better our industry – by partnering with the DOL – you can’t expect that its going to happen FAST.

      We are so conditioned to the age of microwave thinking via social that we expect everything done right now. If they are taking their time to do it right vs. doing it fast and doing it wrong (to your point about BeKnown)… which do you want?

      One of my favorite sayings in life has always been, “if you don’t have the time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?” really applies in business, and particular, in situations like this.

      The fact that everyone keeps calling this a job board without taking the time to vet what “this” truly is blows my mind a bit.

      Before we are quick to condemn this as just another job board or just another big business partnering with a job board, let’s ask our selves the question, “Is there a benefit of collaboration between all of the above organizations to centralize resources for job seekers? …but using Facebook to facilitate?”

      Personally, I think centralizing even a small portion of the millions of different directions and options job seekers have to choose from is a good thing… and doing it via the one place that we know so many of those people are via FB isn’t a bad move either.

      Check this article out for more information as well:

      **Full Disclosure, AT&T is a member company of Direct Employers, of which I’m a board member and a full supporter of this initiative – but this is a reflection of my personal opinion on the subject. We also partner with NASWA and NACE and I’m EXCITED to see the possibilities with these org’s successfully partnering with the DOL and potentially seeing some forward momentum in trying to do the right thing by job seekers while also shedding some light to the DOL that we are legitimately trying to comply with all of the laws (that don’t always work well together), do right by job seekers, and if it’s no cost to us to participate and we can get in front of more qualified job seekers as a result, then yes, I’m all in.

    13. Laurie says:

      The Cheesman reference cracks me up. Finally! Someone asked an expert for an opinion from 2009!

      I kid. I kid.

      Facebook’s aesthetic is built on the premise that ads aren’t cool. And jobs are one big ad. So if they do one thing, I hope they bring that design/hacker perspective to the world of job listings.

      They probably won’t.

    14. Mona Temchin says:

      I agree that Facebook launching a job site isn’t a good idea. I use Facebook for personal stuff (games, etc.), as another poster mentioned. I use LinkedIn for professional stuff (job searches), etc. I won’t do any job searching on Facebook. Aren’t we allowed to draw the line between personal and professional any more? Companies already do enough intrusive stuff (endless background checks, etc.) Where does the incursion into one’s private life stop?

    15. Dan Sullivan says:

      Pity that Monster failed so badly with Beknown. Their DAU is down to around 10,000 which is as low as most App ratings website will record. Any lower and they’d be able to crawl under a pregnant ant. I get the feeling Monster missed the social media boat when it set sail a few years ago and didn’t consider LinkedIn or FB or Twitter a threat to recruitment. Management failed miserably.

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