Facebook to Launch Job Postings Board–Sources

From Online Wall Street Journal

July 6, 2012

Facebook Inc. (FB) is planning to launch its own job board later this summer, said people familiar with the matter. The board will aggregate the job postings of third-party providers, making them available for search by Facebook users.

While these knowledgeable people said the new effort doesn’t yet signal that Facebook is making a full-blown entry into the job-recruiting market, it does represent more of a threat to other professional networking sites such as LinkedIn (LNKD), should the social-networking giant get more serious about the project.

At least three job-posting companies that currently leverage Facebook’s platform will be involved in the new offering, including BranchOut, Jobvite, and Work4 Labs, the people said. Some partners have begun telling their clients about the job board, which could launch as soon as early August. Initially, Facebook doesn’t plan to monetize the service, and it’s unclear whether the social network aims to do so in the future.

A Facebook spokesman said, “We don’t comment on rumor and speculation.” Representatives for BranchOut, JobVite and Work4Labs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“It doesn’t feel like a big effort that they’ve worked on for a long time,” said one person with knowledge of the new jobs effort. “It feels lightweight.” The person speculated that the effort was meant to drive user engagement on the site.

It’s also unclear whether Facebook will integrate the postings into its users’ news feed, or whether the postings will only exist in a standalone section of the website. Facebook had a third-party developer create the new site, said a person familiar with the matter.

In October, Facebook announced a partnership with the U.S. Labor Department and other partners to provide job-hunting resources. At the time, Facebook said that the “partnership will explore and develop systems where new job postings can be delivered virally through the Facebook site at no charge.”

This new effort, which is being seen by some as an extension of this partnership with the Labor Department, could help give Facebook positive exposure in an election year when concerns about unemployment are high, said one person familiar with the matter. “If it takes off, they could devote more resources to it,” the person said.

In recent years, the success of sites like LinkedIn, which merge users’ personal and professional histories with information about jobs, have put pressure on once-dominant sites like Monster.com. While job seekers once considered sharing information on Facebook to be a liability when finding a job, today a host of companies, including those partnering in the new job board, have popped up promising to better match job seekers and recruiters using profile information from Facebook users.

The global online job-recruitment industry is estimated to be as big as $4.3 billion.

Companies and corporate recruiters already use Facebook to recruit new employees. Several large companies, including Unilever (UN, UNA.AE), Boeing Co.(BA), Dell Inc. (DELL), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Walt Disney Co. (DIS), PricewaterhouseCoopers and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) have Facebook career pages–some have as many as 80,000 “Likes.” College students who want to get a job at a particular company often choose to “Like” that company’s recruitment page.

The job-postings business has been undergoing a restructuring since the successful IPO of LinkedIn. Analysts expect generic job boards to become less attractive to recruiters seeking high quality job candidates.

Two types of job boards expected to gain include those that employ social networking and those that target specific job seekers. On June 30, Dice Holdings Inc. (DHX) agreed to buy FINS.com, a targeted job board with editorial content, from Dow Jones & Co., publisher of this newswire and a unit of News Corp. (NWSA, NWS.LN), for an undisclosed sum.

Write to Joseph Walker at joseph.walker@dowjones.com