22 February 2017

Facebook jobs: a massive win for genuine recruitment consultants

Last week we saw the official confirmation of what has been an open secret for some years: Job postings on Facebook.

LinkedIn's dominance in the corporate recruiting world has been unchallenged due its unmatched depth of high skill professionals available on its platform. The price of the not-free LinkedIn recruitment offerings has made it clear that large enterprises recruiting relatively highly paid professionals are LinkedIn's profitable market. In its announcement Facebook has staked out its claim for the low-to-semi skilled staffing market that the Small-to-Medium Enterprise's (SMEs) are overwhelmingly recruiting from.

Given the vast numbers of active Facebook users, the number of visits each user makes to the site each day and the amount of time each user spends on the site once they get there, you can see the immediate attraction of a jobs option for many employers.

What could this mean for the recruitment industry?

Not a great deal, I suspect.

I recall that Seek was touted by many as beginning of the end for the recruitment industry. The same was said, and continues to be said, of LinkedIn.

Every entrepreneur with an app or an algorithm was going to cause great pain to the '...outdated, needlessly expensive and ineffective...' recruitment industry leading to our inevitable demise.

I have written about these entrepreneurs a number of times in the past. Most recently here, here, and here.

Every prophecy of doom has proven, so far at least, to be wrong.

And I can't see jobs on Facebook being any different.

As has been said by me, and many others, there's no data to support the proposition that recruitment agencies are becoming redundant (Greg Savage's excellent blog from nearly two years ago Agency recruitment is not dying. It's growing contains substantial data that counters this myth).

Last month it was reported that 2016 saw the largest ever number of UK recruitment agencies (4,529) commence business in a calendar year.

The reason for this growth is simple - there isn't an app, algorithm, job board, networking site, video hosting site or anything else that has the capability to pick up the phone, speak to a person, engage them in a conversation and cause that person to put themselves onto the job market for a specific opportunity, most likely an opportunity that the person was not aware of and would never have sought out otherwise.

I believe that LinkedIn, and now Facebook, risk alienating the good customers they do have by continuing to encroach on the territory of the other. Why do these sites make their offering less distinct not more distinct? The answer is to be found in the expectations of the shareholders of each company - they want to see growth in sales, profit and stock price and once a company becomes as massive as they each are now (Microsoft, owner of LinkedIn: USD$495 billion market capitalisation, Facebook: USD$385 billion market cap.) they can't afford to be too choosy about where that growth comes from; it just has to come otherwise the stock price stops rising (the Microsoft stock price has risen by 30 per cent in the seven months since the announcement of the LinkedIn purchase in June 2016).

This pursuit of the same customers inevitably leads to plenty of unhappy users who prefer that their favourite site would stop messing with tried-and-true formula they have liked for so long.

All the plethora of ‘recruitment disruptors' prove, more so with each new entrant to this crowded field, is that the core job of a recruitment consultant remains one beyond the reach of technology alone.

This is not the case for generic resume-referring recruiters who, largely or entirely, find active candidates and send resumes that match job descriptions, competing for a discounted fee with many other recruiters doing exactly the same thing. These types of recruiters are continually under threat because they are not doing anything which is not able to be done faster and cheaper by an app, algorithm, job board or networking site.

These types of recruiters are working increasingly harder for increasingly smaller returns and there's only one way it's going to end: in tears.

Meanwhile the genuine recruitment consultant; the recruiter providing an offering that no technology can replicate, will welcome all the disruptors who care to enter the recruitment industry. They do so safe in the knowledge that the value of their service is even more sharply apparent to their clients, compared to the multitude of apps, algorithms, job boards and networking sites.

Jobs on Facebook?

Bring it on!

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