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Facebook’s Altruistic Job Board Misses the Mark

Written by Phil Roebuck | August 14, 2014 | 1 Comment

wonkajobsWilliam F. Buckley once said, in response to where he came up with his column ideas, “The world irritates me three times a week.” Here at Webrecruit North America, we like to adapt that notion, however we like to think that the world of recruitment amuses us more often than it irritates.

So Facebook rolled out a job board recently. They’re calling it Social Jobs Partnership, and it already has 1.7 million jobs posted on it – all aggregated from other job boards like BranchOut, Jobvite, and Monster.com.

On one hand, is it so surprising? With a billion active users, why wouldn’t the social networking giant enter the recruitment space? After all, in terms of social recruitment, recruiters want to be where candidates spend the most time.

This really isn’t new news, either. Social Jobs Partnership has been a year-long joint initiative by Facebook, the U.S. Department of Labor, and a slew of NGOs whose real aim is simply to “facilitate employment for America’s jobless through the use of social networks.”  Mark Zuckerburg has long been a doyen of social entrepreneurship. His vision for Facebook has always been about making the world a better place – not necessarily making a lot of money (if you own Facebook stock, you have probably figured this out). But his inherent altruism can’t work if the app doesn’t work, because if the app doesn’t work, people won’t use it. The market is smart: they want sleek, powerful, intuitive. Unfortunately, Social Jobs Partnership is not that… at least not yet.

Indeed, if you’re going to change the world (again), you still have to deliver a product that works. The Facebook job board app does not work. Lance Haun, editor of SourceCon, puts it more eloquently: “The entire platform is stalled before it even [gets] started. In many ways, it doesn’t function properly at all. There is bad targeting either for the job itself or for the location parameters (in some tragic cases, both). When it works, the results are underwhelming.”

And let’s face it,  LinkedIn is still the social network for most job seekers. In the same articlein which Forbes claimed that Social Jobs Partnership would “change the face of recruiting,” they conceded that “LinkedIn is [the] trusted, professional brand created for the explicit purpose of business networking. Older employees may not feel comfortable mixing work with a social platform better known for party photos.”

Where I see Social Jobs Partnership potentially carving out its own niche is in jobs for lower-skilled workers. Job seekers who have never seen a job board before or those looking for their first job are statistically, I imagine, more likely to stumble upon Social Jobs Partnership than say, Monster.com. At the end of the day, Facebook’s user base is staggering. Their reach is pervasive. Forbes notes that “though only 22 percent of [Facebook] users are above the age of 45, that’s still 220 million people–more than LinkedIn’s entire platform.”

“Hopey changey stuff” aside, a job board is still a job board. Candidates still have no transparency with the employer (if they even know who the employer is at all), and employers will undoubtedly be awash with resumes from the Phillipines for a job in Tampa. And since candidates and employers drive the recruiting industry, Social Jobs Partnership is probably not a place where third party recruiters are going to hang out either. Facebook aimed high but ultimately missed the mark.

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