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Facebook's New Job Listings Are Not a Threat to LinkedIn

By Evan Niu, CFA - Nov 9, 2016 at 9:00AM

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Targeted recruiting is not one of Facebook's strengths.

Image source: Facebook.

Facebook (META 7.19%) has always had aspirations of butting in on LinkedIn's (LNKD.DL) workplace niche. The social network has historically made very little progress in becoming a professional network, although not for a lack of trying.

The most recent move is that Facebook is now allowing business Pages to promote job listings, which was first spotted by TechCrunch. After seeing the addition to its own Facebook Page, TechCrunch asked and Facebook confirmed that it is testing out various new recruiting features. "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," Facebook told the site.

There will be various ways to list and promote jobs alongside relevant details around requirements and salary expectations. Job listings would also appear different and be visually distinctive from other status updates. Companies can use Facebook's trove of user data in an effort to target jobs at qualified applicants. As tempting as it is to see this as a threat to LinkedIn, the professional network has little to worry about.

Technically speaking

Sure, on paper it's a threat, but in reality it's highly unlikely that Facebook's efforts will have any meaningful impact. While both Facebook and LinkedIn both collect copious amounts of data on their users, and that data is used for targeting purposes, we're talking about completely different types of data. It's true that people often include professional information and experience on their Facebook profiles, but the scope is extremely limited compared to LinkedIn, which was built from the ground up as a professional network. People have more of a vested interest in maintaining and updating their professional LinkedIn profiles than the professional section of their Facebook profile (you know, that part next to your favorite quotes and music).

Over the years, LinkedIn's algorithms and data collection have gotten incredibly powerful, and LinkedIn Recruiter has become a mainstay of many HR departments. In contrast, Facebook's primary goal with aggregating user data is advertising. The effectiveness of targeting is utterly predicated on the quality and nature of the underlying data. Knowing what people ate for lunch or what products they're interested in buying based on click-through rates don't really help companies find the perfect job candidate.

When it comes to targeted recruiting, no one can even come close to LinkedIn's value proposition. Facebook's job listings will likely be little more than ads with a side of attempted targeting.

This is not to say that Facebook has no opportunities in the workplace. On the contrary, I'm quite bullish on Facebook's new Workplace offering, which will target the lucrative enterprise sector and potentially improve collaboration across companies. Communication and collaboration are easily within Facebook's wheelhouse; targeted recruiting is not.

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