checkRecruiters have long fantasized (or worried, depending on your opinion) about using Facebook as the ultimate job board. Recruiting with Facebook, however, is notoriously difficult and confusing. Navigating the complexities of privacy settings and friends vs. fans vs. likes vs. shares leaves recruiters with little to work with. The end result is that right now Facebook is much more of a personal tool, whereas Linkedin has become almost a central platform for recruiting.

The confusion over recruiting with Facebook has led to some very interesting startups. We recently reported on Branchout, a software and site which overlays Facebook with professional and career “meta-data” which makes the service recruiting-friendly. Other technology firms include Top Prospect, Work4Labs, and BraveNewTalent. It’s an obviously hot market and a lot of venture capital is being sunk into solving this problem.

However, there is a delicate balance between open development and closed technology eco-systems. Oftentimes, social network platforms attempt to build functionality into their own product, versus simply allowing for third party development. Facebook recently hired key founders of Pursuit, which was a tool which leveraged Facebook for job referrals. The Pursuit website states that at Facebook the founders will “be working on stuff unrelated to Pursuit.” However, one can imagine that Facebook hired them for a reason – their contributions at Facebook will likely be in somewhat of the same functional area (referrals, rating systems, hiring, etc…)

It would not be surprising if Facebook becomes somewhat more of a job board than it is now, as they seek to develop the massive professional use that Linkedin enjoys. If Facebook does develop additional job search, job referral, or job board functionality, the third party developers and startups will of course have to adjust. However, Facebook will likely stop short of developing a full-blown recruiting solution. Facebook strategy appears to encourage innovation among third party developers – building out their service as a data provider and platform (versus an application.)

In any case, watching the developments in Facebook recruiting technology should be interesting. It is somewhat of a holy grail for recruiters – the technology companies involved are playing for a big win.



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