"They're Taking Our Jobs!" - Facebook Challenges LinkedIn

Most of us like to keep our professional and private social media lives fairly separate, with LinkedIn largely taking care of the latter. Now, though, Facebook is planning to bust through that wall and bring the recruiting process to your news feed, with a raft of new job-focused features that will challenge LinkedIn's grip on your professional presence online.

Spotted by TechCrunch, the first sign of Facebook's vocational plans creeping in was a Jobs tab on their official page. Facebook confirmed to TC that "Based on behavior we’ve seen on Facebook, where many small businesses post about their job openings on their Page, we’re running a test for Page admins to create job postings and receive applications from candidates." So essentially, businesses will be able to post job listings, and job-hunters can apply to them from within Facebook itself, automatically populating the application with details from their Facebook profile.

Businesses will receive applications through the Messenger system, which is in line with the way Facebook is implementing chatbots for businesses that allow users pay for products, including using Paypal, directly through Messenger as well. Whether businesses will like the Jobs system remains to be seen, though, as it could be confusing on top of all of their other hiring processes and customer support systems.

The addition of a Jobs tab doesn't only mean that those who seek out the job ad on a company's page will see it, however. The ads will appear in News Feeds just as normal posts from the page do, and this means they are also open to paid promotion. This puts Facebook in direct monetary competition with LinkedIn, with a user base that towers over it. The bad news for LinkedIn is that most people spend much more time on Facebook, and News Feed posts reach people that may not be directly looking for jobs, but could actually be open to them.

This brings up the questions of how Facebook's Job system will evolve over time, and how its tools will be available for recruiters to leverage. For instance, recruiters could be able to target certain demographics or population subsets, and potentially not just using the kind of concrete employability data that's available on LinkedIn. However, not all of this data is on Facebook, and that could be one of the limitations of Facebook Jobs. People only usually upload their job titles and education, rather than the full resumes that can be found on LinkedIn.

On top of this, most people prefer to keep their professional selves detached from their private, with many choosing not to even add work colleagues on Facebook. An enforced blurring of these boundaries could turn out to be quite an unpopular move. Do you really want all of your resume information on your profile? Or your potential new employer seeing your legendary '08 kegstand. Having said that, more and more employers look at all aspects of potential recruits' social media presence these days, so it may be an unavoidable trend.

The move also follows the trend for unifying everything inside the app, so users never have to leave, and the augmentation of this unification with sweeping commercialisation. It definitely means stepping on LinkedIn's turf, and there could be a bit of a slugging match to come. With Microsoft's $26 billion ongoing takeover still in play, LinkedIn won't be a pushover, and they have added to overhauls of their desktop and mobile platforms with the recently announced LinkedIn Salary tool. Let battle commence!

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