Is Facebook the New LinkedIn?

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For many people, the thought of employers trawling Facebook is a troubling one. I, for one, don’t think my ‘Love Hate Ink’ album exactly sings my praises in a professional capacity. Nonetheless, Facebook has launched a job-searching application on its site, hoovering up business from those who don’t fit into LinkedIn’s more corporate world.

The application is aimed at both lower-skilled workers, and those who aren’t actively seeking out a job, but who might consider jumping ship were they offered, say, a better wage or a more convenient location. The application is becoming available to business pages in the US and Canada, but knowing Facebook’s omnipresent ways, it won’t be long before the feature migrates to the UK.

In keeping with Facebook’s whole business model, the setup is simple, informal and (supposedly) transparent; Business Pages can post job vacancies in the News Feed, which will in turn be housed in a brand spanking new Jobs tab on their Page. And here comes the streamlined part: users hit an ‘Apply Now’ button and apply via Facebook Messenger. Facebook provides the prospective employer with the name and profile picture of the applicant, lending the whole thing a laid-back, sociable ethos.

The enterprise could earn Facebook even more revenue by offering employers the option to turn posts into ads, which would permeate news feeds, featuring more prominently and reaching a wider group of prospective employees. It’s unlikely that many businesses will need to turn to this, what with the share-happy millennials dispersing career opportunities amongst friends who are job-hunting.

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Facebook’s VP of Ads and Business Platform Andrew Bosworth spoke to TechCrunch, revealing the backstory behind the new platform. The company, he says, asked the question “How can we make Facebook more useful in your everyday life?” They found that small businesses ran into trouble hiring staff, particularly on a part-time or hourly basis. They also found that people in employment were open to a high-paid jobs with more responsibility, or in a different field, but often lacked the wherewithal to go through the (often arduous) process of applying for jobs.

I can testify to this; like so many of my peers, my immediate experience after university was working part-time jobs punctuated by bouts of travelling, which often meant I had to get myself rehired when I returned. I worked in a Jamaican cafe, a burger bar, and a pub that specialized in craft beer, all of which required traipsing around my neighborhood handing out dog-eared CVs. Facebook’s Job feature could have saved me – and a generation of heavily indebted twenty-somethings – a world of job-seeking pain.

All very sensible, I hear you say, but the primary problem persists: people don’t want employers checking out their social media profiles. Bosworth, however, suggests that the project has been met with “overwhelming enthusiasm”, accrediting this to the laid-back attitude of their demographic; these aren’t bullish young lawyers battling it out for a Magic Circle contract, they’re “casual job seekers… they’re just looking for every opportunity they can get”.

And whilst LinkedIn’s trusty user base of nearly 500 million may login on a daily basis, Facebook’s gargantuan 1.86 billion users are more habitual, with many devotees logging in hourly or more. It’s an enterprising move into a vastly untapped marked, both democratizing and streamlining the onerous world of online job seeking.

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