Oct 18, 2017

Facebook's Resume Feature - Should LinkedIn be worried? My take

Yesterday it was all over the tech websites, Facebook is reportedly testing a new resume feature called "work histories" that can help users share them privately.

Here are my thoughts about how this can play out:

  1. Facebook is making an enterprise play. First with Workplace , the collaboration feature and then with  Facebook Jobs the job advertising feature. However, they haven't really done a great job marketing the jobs feature. If you see currently the number of jobs advertised in India is very low. As I write this is what is shown - 27 jobs in India (plus all of them seem to be with Facebook, not even sure it is used by other employers)
  2. Facebook's big revenue features come from display advertising, sponsored posts for consumers. LinkedIn has that market cornered when it comes to employers - with their company pages and posts targeted to different kind of talent segments. So cracking this market is going to be tough for Facebook unless it invests in feet on the street to take on LinkedIn's Account Management, Sales and Customer Service. Facebook pages had talked about introducing a jobs/careers tab for adding to their business pages beginning with US and Canada, however I am not sure if this is in the priority for Facebook sales teams to pitch it to their customers
  3. The big opportunity, Mobile recruitment. Where Facebook has a big edge over LinkedIn in the developing markets is the users who are solely on the platform as well as being actively engaged - the users for whom the internet is first mobile screen. These would be the blue collar workers which are not a strong point of LinkedIn. However to reach them Facebook would have to give the screen real estate to the product to make jobs a clear feature which might mean compromising on things like its news feed.
  4. Microsoft and LinkedIn. Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn and its data getting integrated into Outlook and Office 365 is a moat that Facebook may find it difficult to cross.   
  5. Facebook's perception problem. The biggest problem for Facebook is its perception of being a "social network" that is for friends and family. Whatever Facebook does in the jobs and careers space would run into that huge perception issue. At least in the white collar workforce, hence IMHO, the best bet for Facebook would be to concentrate on the blue collar workforce and focus on a "apply with Facebook" button with job sites to make the application process friction-less. The question is will they focus on it - at the cost of hurting their other revenue streams like digital advertising? And will they be able to convince the recruiting ecosystem like job sites and staffing agencies and make the products that they see value in? Time will tell, but very unlikely in my view. I hope I am proved wrong because LinkedIn can really do with some competition in this space.