Is LinkedIn Facing Competition from Facebook?

On the surface, it seems that LinkedIn and Facebook are polar opposites. LinkedIn is a professional, work-based app that people use to network and find jobs. You don’t post your pictures from your latest vacation on LinkedIn, as you do on Facebook, and you don’t post information about job openings or even about information about your profession hoping to secure a job on Facebook. At least up until recently you didn’t.

Recently, Facebook has decided to encroach on LinkedIn’s territory by allowing businesses to post job openings and for job seekers to apply for jobs right from Facebook. At firsts, this capability was rolled out only in the US and Canada, but recently, Facebook opened this all up to over forty countries worldwide. Businesses and job seekers alike can use this part of Facebook in order to find applicants and jobs respectively that are local to the business.

It’s too early to tell if this new direction that Facebook is moving in will impact LinkedIn or not. But it is kind of like watching an old Japanese horror movie where two city sized monsters battle each other over Tokyo. LinkedIn has over half a billion users, while Facebook is four times that size. Either platform is used by a significant portion of the global population.

Having said that, there are some differences in how Facebook is rolling out their job capability and LinkedIn. One important difference is the following. The unity of currency on LinkedIn, if you will, is the individual. Although LinkedIn has business pages, the main interaction that’s occurring is between individual people. By contrast, Facebook’s focusing on the business itself. Another difference is that the businesses that Facebook seems to want to cater to are small businesses that will be hiring people who are already local to the business.

Both Facebook and LinkedIn are free, although there again we have a slight difference, because LinkedIn has several paid tiers, which Microsoft seems to be intent on pushing people into. Competition is never a bad thing, however, and it’s going to be interesting over the next few years to watch this all unfold.