They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
If that's the case, LinkedIn should be reveling in it, for once again, another social networking site is trying to compete for job seekers' affections.
How many times have we heard that one before? It's not exactly a novel concept to capitalize on LinkedIn's success, but yet many networks are dead set on being the next big thing.
The latest attempt to connect recruiters and job seekers, BeKnown allows users to import their professional data from various sites onto Facebook in a second profile page, “without mixing business and friends.”
In other words, your inane ramblings about your cubicle mate's faults and children’s fecal matter will be kept separate from your professional life.
As I grudgingly clicked on the link to BeKnown, I had a strong sense of deja vu.
Remember BranchOut, the Facebook app to launch a thousand (or more) jobs?
Not only does the Facebook app's layout bear a strong resemblance to BranchOut's, it also starts with the usual suspects:
- Upload professional information from your Monster.com profile
- Invite connections (from any site) to join your personal network.
- Receive job recommendations and view jobs in your friends' sections
- Earn badges based on your work history and professional networking profile.
- Recruiters can post jobs for free once they've built a network on their company profiles.
What it does differently from BranchOut: Endorsements.
You can have connections write up recommendations, which the user has to approve before it is posted to the profile. As more people endorse your skills, and the more milestones you pass, the more badges you get.
I wonder if framed badge distinction will replace college degrees on the office wall as symbols of career qualifications.
What allegedly separates it from LinkedIn: The targeted generation.
Josh Bersin, who wrote a blog article for Bersin & Associates introducing BeKnown, claims it aims to reach "young career-oriented users, with more limited experience than those found on LinkedIn."
Bersin said, "It has the potential to become one of the major social recruiting networks in the marketplace.”
LinkedIn must be feeling pretty threatened right about now (OK, not really).
Monster is more likely the threatened party. According to Mashable.com, the job board’s net sales dropped 11% since 2008, and its stock price is down 8.9%.
Meanwhile, LinkedIn launched an IPO last month that skyrocketed, selling as high as $93 per share.
An announcement about BeKnown on Sunday prompted skeptics who already tried it to raise the same questions I did upon hearing about the latest attempt to mimic LinkedIn.
The following are samples of comments from the Mashable article:
“The first thing it does is post a ‘I just installed BeKnown’ message to your wall. A bit annoying and intrusive.”
“The real factor that remains is whether or not this works to increase employment, period. I would rather not have an app or service farm my professional resume, scraping together my info just to collectively source (package) me for corporate numbers.”
“They [Monster] missed the boat with LinkedIn. Now they have seen the success of BranchOut and are throwing their hat in the ring with BeKnown. I’m all for BeKnown if they can make the job seeker’s life better.”
“I wonder what Google have up their sleeves?”