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Facebook releasing a Job Portal App – What and Why?

November 19, 2012 2 comments

It all started way back in July for me, when I heard of a news about Facebook venturing into Job Portal business. As a recruiter, my first reaction was – WOW! I have always been struggling to use Facebook as a direct medium of talent search / job posting due to very nature of this platform and unstructured though huge data. I have been trying to effectively use third party apps like BranchOut, BeKnown but with no tangible results. This may be due to the regional constraint and I’m happy to hear from any other recruiters who have successfully hired from these apps. Put things short – I was anxious and excited to see if this would a right step in the door for Facebook.

On 14th November morning (IST) the news broke out about Facebook confirming the release of the job portal functionality. The news also mentioned that it will be an extension to their Social Jobs Partnership program with US Labor ministry and possibly be a job aggregator than an actual job portal. A very idea about reaching out to a billion people through a social platform with most number of active users was enough for me to still ride on “excitement” wave.

The next morning I could actually see the first glimpse of so called Facebook “Job Portal. It was like having a half baked breakfast with no taste, no appeal and got me worried about my diet :). Here’s what it looks like: –

Functionality / Structure

  • Facebook has released a “Social Jobs App” which is embedded into their “Social Jobs Partnership” Facebook page – with no immediate notification and access to users. People will have to find these apps deeply buried in the system to use it.
  • This is not a direct job portal but a job aggregator like Indeed.com. It sources jobs from JobVite, Work4Labs, BranchOut, Monster and US.Jobs.
  • JobVite, Work4Labs and BranchOut are Facebook apps which uses Facebook as a platform to publish jobs, search jobs and refer jobs in individual capacities.
  • You can search via keywords, location proximity and category / sub-category.
  • Once you search with fields, it sources jobs from each of the portal and aggregates them as a list. You need to go to individual apps / portals to apply for those jobs.

I do not wish to be overly critical about this app here as this is a first step of Facebook into unknown territory for them. People label Facebook as strictly personal and LinkedIn as strictly professional. In fact, I started a “poll” earlier this year to understand people’s sentiments about Facebook starting a new job portal. With sample size of over 300 responses, 61% of people said they are not comfortable with using Facebook for jobs / careers. Though recruiters will be excited about this move; this is a big mindset change which Facebook will have to manage for their users. This may also explain their move to go as “Job Aggregator” than a job portal.

OK, saying this – I have a big apprehension about the beta version which they have opened up. Going job portal way officially surely should be a big decision for Facebook eco-system and I am thoroughly surprised they are very ill-prepared in this release.

Here are my questions which I hope to get answers in coming days with their subsequent releases to this app.

  • Why would Facebook release an “In-House App” without proper testing? The search functionality is not accurate and you end up getting results with rubbish job matches.
  • Why there is a difference searching from this app VS searching internally in the vendor apps? I searched java, spring in the monster tab with 30 odd results while searching the same on Monster gave me over 50 results.
  • Why would they restrict this functionality only for US jobs only? I understand about this being part of “Social Jobs Partnership” page but Facebook being “global” would not this be bit unfair to other countries?
  • Why have they tied this app to specific initiative like “Social Jobs Partnership” only? This could have been very well a global initiative with much wider users.
  • Why Facebook has not made an official announcement of this platform on Facebook itself?
  • There is simply no information available on public domain about who / what / how’s of this app. This announcement on the FB page has received over 111 comments and lots of them are asking relevant questions. Why Facebook is not answering OR clearing their stand over here? This is supposed to be Facebook’s official initiative.
  • Facebook also have not published this link anywhere in their promotions. Does that mean they wanted this to be released under closed boundaries only?

In my opinion, Facebook has to decide on their next steps as part of bigger strategy and take it to the next level. Their move has been heavily criticized in the market as it lacks a thoughtful approach, tried and tested preparations, long term insights and user experience. They need to position themselves as a platform where people are comfortable searching jobs and it should be secure enough to protect their activities from being public. I do not expect them to go LinkedIn way as it is a different platform altogether but they need to have a well-thought out plan to venture in this market.

It is a huge opportunity for Facebook which they can not afford to miss; however, their start has certainly not made things easy for them to chop out next steps. This App is just a “start” and Facebook needs to roll up their sleeves to compete in “All-Star” league. Make no mistake – the moment they make their bases loaded, it’s just a matter of time to hit a “Home Run”.

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Categories: Social Media Tags: ,
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