Facebook Jobs, Should LinkedIn be worried?

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Facebook Jobs, Should LinkedIn be worried?

I recently read that the introduction of Facebook’s jobs could kill LinkedIn momentum. The introduction of Facebook Jobs in the coming month(s) will probably come as little surprise to those who have been closely watching developments on Facebook. Facebook made its profiles more professional not too long ago, making positions and experience more prominent in terms the layout and format.

Connection between Mission, Operations and Activities

Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. LinkedIn seeks to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. It’s quite easy to tie LinkedIn products and services (both individual and enterprise) to its activities on the ground. LinkedIn continues to innovate and improve (Slideshare Acquisition, Corporate Solutions, LinkedIn Recruiter, Company updates, Targeted audience, Mobile Apps etc). However, the connection for Facebook between its activities (sponsored stories or newsfeeds, Jobs, camera, Instagram) and mission seems more tenuous. Facebook is moving from what it was really good at, personal networking into an unproven bundle of personal and business networking. Compare Apple vs Google product approaches. Quality trumps Quantity I believe.

Personal and Professional networking, Oil and water mix?

For Facebook jobs to be successful I believe that the company will need to ultimately convince its users that its fine and perfectly acceptable to mix business with pleasure. This is not an easy sell even as the lines between personal and professional worlds continue to blur. There was an outcry recently over moves by employers to check Facebook accounts of potential employees. Facebook is basically re-introducing this risk magnified.

Tools to manage security, segregate information

As things stand Facebook does not have the tools to adequately manage privacy and security around the site or least to give everyone complete assurance around the issues. Adding jobs into the equation only seems to compound the risk. Any unintended leakage of personal info into the professional space, and professional info into personal space, could meet with disastrous results. Can Facebook give adequate assurances that this will not happen with the myriad of Apps on the site?

Increasing complexity, decreased utility for users

Facebook was a big draw initially because it was so simple. As its direction changes, it risks confusing users over its main focus. The continual tinkering on Facebook is possibly an indication that the business model is not solid enough. Facebook has already shown us that numbers and time spent on the site do not guarantee continued upward growth. I think Facebook needs to clean up on the site if Facebook jobs are going to be a big hit.

Time spent on the site

As Facebook makes all these changes to its site it’s also playing around with one critical metric that impacts directly on its profitability, time spent on the site. Do users want to discuss both work and family on the same site? It would be interesting to track the trend in time spent on the site over the months.

LinkedIn remains Focussed

Against this background of a changing Facebook, LinkedIn has been speeding ahead, resolute and focussed on business networking for professionals. There is no chance that LinkedIn will veer into personal networking. Facebook could even be doing some free advertising for Professional Networking by shifting its attention to this area. Through its efforts, more people will come to know about LinkedIn and probably try it out.

Uncertain times for Facebook Job Apps

I believe the real risk from Facebook’s development is to its own Apps like BranchOut which are now really at its mercy depending on its direction. Facebook is now cannibalizing on BranchOut customers. It’s still early days but it will be interesting to see how all these developments pan out. In any case BranchOut growth has been slowing and hopefully these latest developments will not sound the death knell for it.

Conclusion

I believe that to counter the latest developments at Facebook, LinkedIn should just continue to do what its been doing. Growing, Innovating and delivering value to professionals and corporates.

4 Comments

  1. mkhuluwilliamseyama says:

    Interesting topic, Bruce.
    Let me share my thoughts and point out something that may reinforce Facebook’s decision to scratch the job surface. And, I want to predict that there is still more coming from this behemoth, as investor pressure for increased revenue grows.

    Here is a thought starter: it’s been found that social networks are leading to blurring of personal and business profiles, with more and more netizens “mixing biz & pleasure”, as pointed out by growing cases of employees getting fired for disparaging things they said about their bosses while others are getting employed because of their observed social network behavior by recruiters, and Facebook tends to be the main social network used in both cases.
    Let’s add a layer to this, and that is that netizens prefer to do everything on one platform, and this is evidenced by fact that Google is increasingly losing its Web searching traffic to Facebook.

    If the observations above are strong indicators of social networking behavior, then probably Facebook is on the money – at least in concept. However, as you have rightly pointed out, the danger is trying to be everything to everybody, which will naturally complicate things for Facebook in its attempt to give social netizens reason to stay longer as value proposition is growing.

    Interestingly, I find that LinkedIn is making a similar attempt as Facebook to keep us longer on their platform by expanding their value proposition albeit in a more relatively more targeted way. Two examples will make the point – I see that lately the rule relating to requesting to connect only with people who you have some prior relation with has been relaxed, which will allow for opportunity to grow one’s network quicker broadly, thus lead to potential for spending more time on the platform, building and harvesting the relations. The other example is the encouragement for those on this social network to use it more actively for posting content that can be easily transported to Twitter, given the latest development where the latter has decided to pull the plug regarding doing this the other way around.

    Google is doing the same thing, where you can interact on Google+ using anyone of the other associated media including Gmail and Youtube. This obviously increases convenience, increasing the potential to spend more time on Google platforms.

    See where I am going with this? This shows all of the social networks are trying to keep their subscribed netizens for longer on their platforms, they are just employing different approaches. Only time will tell regarding winners and losers.

    • Thank you for your comment Bra Willy. You have given much food for thought with your comment which might even warrant being a post on its own.

      I guess if does become the norm to mix business and pleasure, Facebook could emerge as a big winner as we are already spending lots of time on the platform. While time spent on LinkedIn has not been that critical for them, I would agree that their recent efforts could definitely see us spending more time there.

      Interesting times indeed in social media as these battles play out. Hope it won’t be a case of, when the elephants fight, the grass will suffer. Greater competition should generally result in increased innovation but this does not always seem to be the case.

  2. Eleanor Khupe says:

    In my humble opinion – Facebook jobs is like Nandos deciding that they also want to sell steak. While it may seem like a good idea, I’m skeptical about how successful it will be. Bruce I agree with you – LinkedIn has remained focused on being a professional network and I think that’s where it’s strength lies, it’s not only a job board but a place where you can grow professionally. I don’t think Facebook will be able to offer that, especially considering that one will have to use the same platform for both their professional and personal lives.

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