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The world's largest social network jumped into the job board market with its recent announcement that employers in the U.S. and Canada are now able to post jobs, track applications and communicate with job applicants through Facebook.
The features are specifically geared toward small and midsize businesses, according to Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's vice president of ads and business platform. Notably, the candidates who small and local businesses are seeking to hire—hourly and part-time workers—just happen to be of the job seeker demographic that professional networking site LinkedIn has had trouble engaging.
Bosworth said Facebook decided to build the feature after noticing that employers were already posting job openings on their company pages. And the fact that more job seekers are using social media and mobile devices to search and apply for jobs was not lost on the company, which saw a great opportunity.
"This new experience will help businesses find qualified people where they're already spending their time—on Facebook and on mobile," he said.
[SHRM members-only how-to guide: How to Target Passive Job Seekers]
Employers can list job openings on Facebook for free but must pay if they want to boost the reach of their ads through targeted campaigns in Facebook users' news feeds. Postings appear on a company's page under a new Jobs bookmark, on the Facebook Jobs page and on the news feeds of relevant Facebook users.
Posted jobs are searchable within a 2- to 100-mile radius of any location and are sorted by broad industry categories; part-time, full-time or contract jobs; and volunteer and internship opportunities. Job seekers can apply for open positions by clicking the "Apply Now" button on the ad, which takes them to an editable form prepopulated with information from their Facebook profile. The form prompts applicants to write a short cover letter explaining why they are the best candidate for the position. Once submitted, employer page administrators receive the applications via Facebook Messenger.
Worth a Try
Overall, it's a "solid first step," said Joel Cheesman, a recruiting technology industry veteran and the founder of Ratedly, which monitors anonymous employee review websites. "The user experience for both job seeker and employer is pretty intuitive. The ability to boost a job and promote it to Facebook's massive audience is quite possibly its differentiator. It's largely a small business resource, however, so the challenge becomes whether or not they can scale into large employer adoption. Without ATS [applicant tracking system] integration, for instance, I don't see many big companies getting on board in any meaningful way," he said. ATS and candidate relationship management integrations will be critical to whether or not Facebook lives up to its potential to disrupt the recruiting industry, agreed Pete Radloff, a Washington, D.C.-based technical recruiter for market research firm comScore.
"The biggest question surrounding Facebook's future approach to jobs will focus almost entirely on how open their API [application program interface] and developer access are for third-party platforms, specifically systems of record," he said.
Cheesman recommended employers try the tool, measure it and decide from there. "As far as job seekers, I'd feel comfortable recommending it to hourly, part-time and seasonal workers, but right now it would be a waste of time for white-collar workers. It compares to traditional job boards in that it's essentially a 'help wanted' sign on the Internet." Radloff said that given the fact that high-turnover, high-volume jobs are the most likely to succeed on Facebook initially, "going after these types of roles should provide the data and ROI [return on investment] to ultimately determine whether or not the platform is worth investing in experienced, exempt or executive hiring."
Savvy recruitment marketers should be eager to test Facebook's advertising scope. "The ability for Facebook advertising to reach just about anyone is incredibly powerful," Cheesman said. "At a minimum, drop $50 [to boost the job ad] and test the results on a hard-to-fill position. Done right, nothing else can compete with Facebook's ability to get an advertisement in front of just about anyone."
Radloff added that the ability to communicate and engage with candidates directly on the platform they spend most of their time on—with many logging onto Facebook 10-15 times a day—is "about as efficient as recruitment marketing and candidate development can get."
"Compare this to the amount of times your average job seeker checks their LinkedIn inbox and Facebook starts looking even better," he said. "Knowing exactly when the candidate reads a message and having the ability to know and track the fact that recruiting outreach is actually received is also a capability Facebook offers that can't be overlooked."
LinkedIn Has No Need to Be Worried, Yet
LinkedIn shouldn't be particularly concerned at this point, Radloff said.
"While Facebook has built their business by rolling out features and functions ahead of the market, the truth is that in this case, Facebook has quite a bit of catching up to do. The job board wars have dragged out for close to a decade now, so essentially offering the same service to a saturated market means Facebook, while powerful, is pretty late to the game."
But it's a development worth paying attention to, Radloff added. "For years now, many recruiters and talent acquisition leaders have been quietly clamoring for a viable competitor to LinkedIn to emerge. But toppling this still-dominant player isn't easy, and every other would-be contender still hasn't come close to successfully challenging LinkedIn's long tenure at the top."
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