Analysts say the new jobs feature is yet another way the social-media site is testing how much privacy its 1.86 billion users are willing to sacrifice for the sake of convenience.
“Facebook is pushing the limits to see what people are willing to do on the site, and jobs is a natural step,” said R “Ray” Wang, founder of Constellation Research, a Silicon Valley technology research and advisory firm. “It’s an area where people will say, ‘Oh, this makes a lot of sense.’ Facebook is covering a very important gap.”
Social media is increasingly playing a role in job searches. Roughly 14.4 million Americans say they have used social media to find employment, according to a recent survey by ADP. In addition, the survey found, 73 percent of companies said they had successfully hired employees using social media.
Facebook executives said they are also hoping to target users who may not be actively looking for a new job by flagging nearby opportunities in businesses they may frequent or support.
“Two-thirds of job seekers are already employed,” Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s vice president of ads and business platform, told TechCrunch. “They’re not spending their days and nights out there canvassing for jobs. They’re open to a job if a job comes.”
Businesses can post jobs free through their profile pages. Users, meanwhile, can search for nearby listings and quickly apply for jobs by clicking an “Apply now” button. Facebook automatically fills in basic information, such as a user’s name, location and photo, into the application, which is sent to the business via Facebook Messenger.
A recent search for Washington-area jobs turned up a doughnut-making position at Duck Donuts in Fairfax, Va., an engineering job at Tenable Network Securities in Columbia, Md., and a part-time bartending gig at Killarney House Irish Restaurant and Pub in Davidsonville, Md.
Blue Feather Music in Arlington, Va., meanwhile, was looking for piano, guitar and voice instructors. Pay: $50 an hour.
“I thought this would be a great way to find a big audience,” owner Laura Peacock said of the job posting, which went live Thursday morning. “I’m hiring, I need people and they’re already all on Facebook.”
But not everyone is convinced the plan will work in the long run. Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research in Provo, Utah, says users are likely to be wary of combining their personal profiles with professional pursuits. Although most applicants know potential employers may look through their social-media accounts, he said that’s different from linking a user’s Facebook profile to their job application.
“This is something many people are going to be very uncomfortable with,” Dawson said. “Ultimately people are on Facebook to connect with their friends and to watch funny videos. They’re not there to apply for jobs.”