Here’s how to build a LinkedIn killer, Facebook

Last week, to a lot of fanfare and even more criticism, Facebook launched some sort of job search offering. By most accounts, including my own, it was a big stinker, justly mocked for its initial buzz as being a LinkedIn killer.

Business Insider called the offering lame and said, “LinkedIn has absolutely nothing to worry about it, and any investor thinking about selling LinkedIn based on this news should take a second to examine the product Facebook actually launched.”

The only thing I can think of was, This must be an attempt at boosting PR and a rollercoaster stock price. But I don’t want to dwell on the problem. Instead, I wondered, What would a LinkedIn beatdown actually look like?

Here’s my best strategy:

  1. Start with and focus on the Fan Page. Every business has one, from the smallest smoothie shop to the largest corporation. Nothing new to learn here.
  2. Add a Jobs tab option. Allow owners of Fan Pages to include a “Jobs” tab on their page. This would be voluntary and only visible if chosen.
  3. If chosen, enable job posting functionality on the Fan Page dashboard. It could go under the Build Audience drop-down.
  4. Page owners could then post jobs. Depending on the number of openings, results could be a simple list of jobs or be a more detailed search (think Indeed or Google).
  5. Applicants could either go to an ATS from there or apply directly via Facebook Connect, which could become a basic CRM for employers. Such an offering could leverage Facebook’s already-existing email or chat functionality as well.
  6. Also when posting, employers could choose to promote the position via Facebook’s advertising platform. This would enable targeting via demographics like college attended, employer, location, interests, etc.
  7. Prospects who want to work for a particular company would be able to get custom job alerts delivered to their timeline, and fans or current employees could easily share openings.

You get the idea.

Now, I haven’t invested a ton of time on this and I have no insight into what Facebook’s goals and objectives are with this initiative, but not playing to your strengths seems like a missed opportunity to me. You’re Facebook, for God’s sake. Think differently.

No one can compete with Facebook’s Fan Page reach or provide the functionality that exists in its own advertising mechanism. This product wouldn’t launch with a million job postings, but that’s not the point. 

Imagine a Facebook career center solution, built by Facebook, that provided a free way to post jobs, manage candidates, grow “Likes,” optimize public pages to rank on Google’s search engine and leverage the social graph like no other solution could ever dream?

Pretty cool if you ask me (not that anyone has).

And as far as revenue, employers could choose to promote their jobs on a per-click basis on Facebook or select a CPM daily budget. Let’s ballpark it at $150-per-job, per-month. Like Google’s AdWords, before you know it, you’re spending thousands of dollars on multiple jobs and slowly eliminating other advertising options.