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Facebook?s new jobs feature should worry LinkedIn

The success of Facebook?s Jobs feature, which allows the social platform to cut out hiring platforms playing middleman such as LinkedIn, will be dependent on a number of important circumstances, not least of which is the latter?s failure to retain millennial consumers.

And, if the findings from Fluent?s Marketing to Millennials report are to be heeded, Facebook will comparatively have much more leeway in implementing the feature, as 43 percent of millennials identified Facebook as their primary social media platform, compared to only 9 percent for Microsoft?s LinkedIn. While many Facebook users may take time to warm to the idea of potential employers operating in such close proximity to their personal profiles, the platform?s flexibility has surprised analysts before.

"LinkedIn is extremely relevant for white collar jobs and networking, but this is only a fraction of the overall job market," said Sean Cullen, executive vice president of product and technology for Fluent. "There are millions of part-time jobs and gig economy opportunities perfect for Facebook?s massive user base."

Facebook Jobs
The Jobs platform takes much of the work of applying through third-party platforms out of the process, and is reminiscent of some of the quick-apply features that LinkedIn had originally rolled out as the first true ?social networking? platform.

The platform pre-fills readily available information such as the applicant?s name and email, and then provides a space for a candidate to provide a cover letter. Education and experience are also pulled from the applicant?s Facebook profile.

Image: Facebook

Remarkably, Facebook has taken the LinkedIn model even further, leveraging a number of its satellite applications to assist in the application process. Facebook Messenger allows a platform for applicant to communicate with potential employer, and interviews can be scheduled and even held through the messaging app.

The new feature is squarely targeted at millennials ? the Gen Z cohort has not yet reached an age where social hiring services are of significant importance, and older generations are thoroughly entrenched in using LinkedIn to recruit and apply for jobs. Facebook?s demographic targeting is an interesting development, especially considering that, according to Fluent?s report, millennial Facebook usage (43 percent claim it is the social platform they use most often) is actually less than non-millennial usage (61 percent).

And more cause for alarm for LinkedIn: According to Fluent, while 41 percent of millennials say they use Facebook every day, only 13 percent of millennials used LinkedIn every day.

Hiring wars
While Linkedin seems to have a more dedicated hiring and socially-powered professional network, general wisdom shows that users will go the way of convenience, meaning that, if Facebook plays its cards right, it may have a powerful product on its hands. This, combined with the profusion of tech jobs (which millennials tend to gravitate towards) already being offered on Facebook Jobs, means that Microsoft will have to make some major tweaks to make LinkedIn more ubiquitous sooner rather than later.

Image: Facebook

Microsoft, after weathering a shaky relationship with the mobile platform for years, last year began to collaborate with processor producer Qualcomm to bring Windows 10 to mobile devices ? the kind of knockout mobile maneuvering that will have to take place if LinkedIn is to expand at the same rate that Facebook Jobs could (see story).

Facebook has been raking in ad dollar in recent years, especially on the mobile platform, where the Jobs feature is sure to have a massive presence. The vast majority of Facebook's daily active users were on mobile in 2016, and 84 percent of the company?s ad revenue came from mobile that year, according the its annual financial report (see story).

"Facebook has billions of users, the most widely used apps, massive international reach, mountains of data, and the second largest ad business," Mr. Cullen said. "Unless they lose focus or interest, there?s virtually no way they won?t win."