For a while, Facebook (News - Alert) was seen as one of the great new advances in free background searches as companies demanded passwords of applicants in a bid to investigate personal histories. While that's fallen by the wayside somewhat, in part due to massive outcry against the practice, it's still a good way to have a look at an employee in a more personal, less polished sense. That may be particularly useful as Facebook is looking to offer new options to businesses by using Pages as a means to present job listings.
The current reports suggest that this new feature is experimental, at least for now, and might serve as a way for companies to drive more traffic to their Facebook pages instead of just focusing on marketing products and services. Plus, such a measure could be another revenue stream for Facebook, which it could use these days.
Essentially, Facebook is just formalizing something that's already been happening, particularly with small businesses; users are already posting job listings on Facebook pages, and so, Facebook is running with the ball and allowing users to not only list job postings but directly accept applications from potential hires. Some have even noted that this move could dovetail nicely with the LinkedIn (News - Alert) endorsements-style Profile Tags that Facebook brought out for a while last year.
Given that Facebook has a much greater reach than LinkedIn—it's about four to one in favor of Facebook, with 1.79 billion compared to LinkedIn's 467 million—that means a bigger potential talent pool for those looking for new hires to tap. That's not a bad thing, but it's not always a good thing either. It means a potential strike at passive job seekers, but it also means a lot fewer applicants to weed through. Indeed, as TechCrunch noted, Facebook's jobs connection might help draw in people who didn't even realize they were interested, creating new demand instead of just meeting demand that's there.
A big talent pool is a good thing, but then, this talent pool may not be the one a lot of employers will want to tap. After all, there are many different types of people using Facebook; some of them are fantastic, upright citizens who will deliver value on a regular basis. Some shouldn't be trusted behind the controls of a television set, let alone anything important or valuable. Would employers really be attracted to a huge pool of potential talent that would have to be extensively vetted, but in some cases, would provide the tools to conduct that vetting right on the profile? Would Facebook users in turn scour their profiles to make them employer-friendly, or establish job-hunting profiles and count on the benefit of the doubt to cover a trail?
This could be a big change in the job market, and might mean a host of other, lesser changes in the process. Only time will tell how it all boils out, but the potential ramifications here are huge.