Staffing professionals are all over the board as to whether Facebook has any relevance to their business. One will say nah it’s just for sharing pictures of the kids, another will say she finds her best candidates there. Personally I’ve recruited some of our top employees via relationships on Facebook, so my bias is to consider it an important business tool.
Either way, there are three Facebook trends that will increasingly nudge out marginal network players like LinkedIn and make the service increasingly compelling for recruiters.
Paid candidate advertising on Facebook is about to get a lot more productive with Timeline, a relatively new layout app provided by Facebook itself that ostensibly gives users a more clever way to share but whose actual purpose in life is to give advertisers a better opportunity to get some valuable, context-sensitive eyeballs from Facebook’s 800 million users.
I do a fair amount of Facebook recruitment advertising myself. If you’re an HTML5 programmer in the Twin Cities, you’re probably going to find our ads off on the right hand side next to those for eHarmony or Viagra (sigh). My problem with ads though has less to do with their proximity to undesirable ads than the simple fact that almost no one looks at them and damn near no one clicks on them.
Unlike the traditional Facebook layout that is basically a top to bottom view of your activity, Timeline makes your friends dart left-to-right to follow a sequence, an unnatural flow meant to push the viewer into a more cognitive state, that is to say more observant of advertisements placed in the Timeline.
Impact on recruiting: paid candidate advertising is about to get more productive.
Basically, Facebook is letting other sites play in its sandbox. That means your recruitment job board can be Facebook connected. Sam can tell his friends in a simple click that he’s applied for your high-paying lifeguard job.
The open-graph expansion is not a slam dunk though. Programmers like myself who code against the thing (get my free open-source Facebook job board system here) are all too aware that while Facebook’s fast rise to the top has been good for blowing competitors out of the water (think Myspace), that hasn’t left time for Facebook to get its core software architecture sound. Bugs abound, documentation although improving is weak, and apps get blown out of the water with each internal Facebook tweak.
Impact on recruiting: Facebook components will become an integral part of your recruiting software.
The Facebook IPO
The Facebook luv bubble is about to get punctured by the cold economic reality that its entire ecosystem and infrastructure have been paid for with future dollars. Master Zuck has been taking notes from our social security system I guess. Fortunately for him though there is this big payout coming in the form of investor dollars via an IPO, probably in May of this year.
As it prepares its IPO filing documents, CFO David Ebersman is looking hard at how to make its revenue numbers look as good as possible. Higher advertising prices. Charging users for access to private data.
“Not cool” Justin Timberlake would say, but absolutely necessary if the shit hits the fan when the current revenue numbers get plugged into the underwriter’s investment model.
Recent Facebook related Zynga’s IPO has sputtered, and the mood is grim. Already rumors are circulating the Facebook shares aren’t doing so well on Second Market.
For a taste of what’s to come, look at what’s happened with LinkedIn as it also has struggled since its IPO. It’s had to abrogate previous agreements it had with 3rd parties that let them pull data out via an API. And the service has had to engage in unsavory business practices like making it impossible for someone to cancel their paid service.
Impact on recruitment: not clear, but turmoil is ahead. Cash remains king.