More than 65 million visitors checked out career sites in June 2009. About 45% of HR professionals in the United States are using at least one social network to check on those leads.
A summer 2009 survey for CareerBuilder.com conducted by New York based research firm, Harris Interactive, indicates that 47% of U.S. HR professionals use Google to search for the names of their job candidates. 29% of U.S. HR professionals use Facebook and only 26% use LinkedIn to check on the job applications that they receive.
This is bad news for Linkedin because they claim to provide a service to benefit and advance their registered user’s career.
According to LinkedIn, users of LinkedIn spend time on this professional social network, hoping to:
- Find and be introduced to potential clients, service providers, and subject experts who come recommended
- Create and collaborate on projects, gather data, share files and solve problems
- Be found for business opportunities and find potential partners
- Gain new insights from discussions with likeminded professionals in private group settings
- Discover inside connections that can help them land jobs and close deals
- Post and distribute job listings to find the best talent for their company
This is all nice and great, but there are 2 obstacles that deter all of these objectives from becoming a reality: slow user growth and low number of minutes on site. Facebook is beating LinkedIn at its own game.
1. Facebook has more registered users than LinkedIn.
While LinkedIn’s membership has continued to surge, reaching 53.6 million at the end of November 2009 from 31.5 million a year ago, it has been dwarfed by Facebook, which has surpassed 350 million members.
This same trend can be observed on the monthly traffic of unique visitors to both social networks over the course of November 2008 to November 2009.
2. Facebook users spend more time on the site than LinkedIn users.
According to a recent report from comScore, visitors spent about 13 minutes on average at LinkedIn during October 2009, while Facebook users logged about 213 minutes and MySpace users spent 87 minutes.
Update March 2010: According to Compete, Facebook had a whopping 58.45 Pages/Visit vs. LinkedIn with just 16.42 in January 2010.
While Facebook doesn’t explicitly target the career market, there are several companies, such as Ernst & Young and EMC Corp. and AT&T, that use Facebook to showcase their corporate culture and attract/recruit new candidates. Below is a snapshot of the AT&T Facebook page as of April 15, 2009, when it had just 2,071 fans. As of January 4, 2010, the AT&T Facebook Page has over 179,000 fans.
Using Facebook as a career empowering tool does make a lot of sense because of the large number of registered users and the higher amount of time these users spend on the site.
However, LinkedIn shouldn’t just be worried about Facebook because there is plenty of competition from other websites that, unlike Facebook, specialize in the professional market.
How can LinkedIn increase its number of registered users and the time that its registered users spend on site?
That’s one great question for LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner.
More info about LinkedIn and the online professional market:
- Web Visitors Flock to Career Sites
- Using the True Networking Power of LinkedIn
- How HR Professionals Analyze your Facebook Profile
- Permission Email Marketing with LinkedIn Polls
About the author: Since 2007 Damian Davila Rojas lives at Honolulu, Hawaii doing marketing, public relations, and web analytics. His research interests are viral marketing and how to use web metrics to make better strategic business decisions. Follow Damian on Twitter at @idaconcpts.