Since launching its new job listings feature earlier this year, Facebook has made a series of moves to position itself as a direct competitor to LinkedIn. Even if it has little chance of overtaking the Microsoft-owned professional networking site in the job search market anytime soon, the social media giant clearly sees growth potential in this field. Just in the past month, Facebook has integrated job listings into its Marketplace platform and revealed that it is testing location targeting for advertising, including potentially job ads.
Facebook’s latest move in the professional networking space entails testing a way to connect users who are looking for mentors or mentees, TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden reports:
Our first look at the mentoring service came from a source, who had found a couple of references to mentoring in Facebook’s code. They appear to be fragments from a set of guidelines for mentors, introducing them to the program[.] Later, we found that another person spotted an internal run of how the feature would look on the mobile app. It appears that the app matches a mentee’s interests up with those of the mentor’s, and by way of introduction, gives them a list of points they have in common, including friends, education, geographic location and — most importantly — profession[.]
This new feature certainly looks a direct response to LinkedIn’s revelation in July that it was also testing a mentor matchmaking feature. The free feature will introduce a new private section in users’ profiles where they can identify themselves as prospective mentors and mentees. The company’s matching algorithm will then take over and recommend some matches, which, if accepted by both parties, can be handled either on or off LinkedIn’s platform.
Lunden can think of several reasons why Facebook would experiment with facilitating mentorships among its users. Of course, there’s the matter of competing with LinkedIn, but it also aligns with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s ambition of making Facebook more of a force for socioeconomic good by helping users improve their job prospects. “The third reason this makes sense relates to a more general trend at Facebook itself”:
As the company matures and we reach our fill of reconnecting with people we knew in college and high school, jobs and current social lives, Facebook has been on the hunt for more ways of leveraging its social network, and building even more connections across it (beyond actual friends) to boost engagement. … What we’ve seen of the mentorship service feels like it has been developed in the same vein as the people discovery feature, with the listing of common friends and other compatibility markers.