The worst-kept secret in the recruiting field, looked at by some as a LinkedIn killer and by others with deep skepticism, is now officially out.
Andrew Noyes, a Facebook manager in Washington, D.C., who handles lobbying-related communications, told me yesterday that Facebook is launching a new feature on its site for job-hunters and employers, focused initially on the U.S.
If you’ve been waiting for a “Facebook job board” where you’d send Facebook $300 and a description of a job — well, this isn’t exactly it.
You see, even before today, there’s been a “Social Jobs Partnership” page already up on Facebook, put together by Facebook, a non-profit association called DirectEmployers, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, and the U.S. Labor Department. What’s going live now is a new feature on that page which will pull in 1.7 million jobs listings from multiple partners. Those partners are Jobvite, Monster, BranchOut, DirectEmployers, and Work4Labs (which has a guide out on the job site).
Facebook has been tight-lipped. Some of the partners I spoke with yesterday, in fact, weren’t 100% sure yesterday who the other partners were, with Work4Labs’ CEO Stephane Le Viet saying Facebook had built a “pretty tight Chinese wall” as far as who all’s involved in the new feature.
In a nutshell, with the new feature users can search for jobs by keyword, location (zip code, city, or state), industry, and type of work. Jobs will be pulled in from the initial partners, most likely in an order that’ll switch over time (e.g. you may get a Jobvite job listed first one time, and a Monster job another). Job-seekers may end up on a corporate career site, though Jobvite’s Chief Marketing Officer Kimberley Kasper says that when job-seekers click on its 29,000+ open job listings, “you don’t have to leave Facebook to apply for a job.”
As I alluded to at the outset, the potential of Facebook as a source of employees is in hot dispute. A lot of people don’t put much biographical information there, and say they’re on Facebook for diversions, not work. Plus, this new jobs section is a separate page, not integrated into people’s “update” streams, at least, yet. So people will end up on the jobs section via marketing and search engine optimization — not when they check on their friends’ political rants and dog photos.
Then again, this separation is something that TweetMyJobs’ Chief Marketing Officer Stuart Lander, for one, sees as a good thing. Facebook users, he says, will be reassured to know that their work connections who may be connected to them on Facebook won’t see things popping up on their profiles implying that they’re in the job market.
Lander — though unaware of the exact details of what Facebook was going to launch when I talked to him — envisions TweetMyJobs being an eventual partner in this project; limiting the partners would not make Facebook a “true aggregator,” he says.
Ex-Yahoo-executive James Beriker, just named SimplyHired’s president and CEO, says he thinks of Facebook as social. “We’ve seen people to try leverage ‘social’ into recruitment before,” he says. “You have to be careful because the context is so off.” Beriker, of course, has skin in this game. A lot of folks do; today’s launch, and what I hear are more updates to the page to come, will impact everyone from LinkedIn to staffing companies, to job boards and in-house recruiters.