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Workplace-culture website Glassdoor.com has added a new feature allowing professionals to leverage their personal Facebook relationships as a tool in the job-seeking process.
The Sausalito, Calif.-based website’s newest feature, Inside Connections, which was released last night, allows job seekers to see who they are personally connected to at a specific company based on the work history of their Facebook friends.
When searching for a job listing or researching reviews of a company on Glassdoor, the Inside Connections feature allows users who opt to connect their Facebook and Glassdoor accounts to see who among their “friends” and “friends of friends” have listed work experience with the company on their Facebook profile, and also enables them to send a Facebook message to that individual without leaving Glassdoor.com. Once integrated, users can choose to modify what appears in their Glassdoor-Facebook profile’s work and education history.
The feature is reminiscent of LinkedIn’s “You’re Linked to” feature. That feature links your LinkedIn connections to job listings and companies profiled on the site.
“For a long time, LinkedIn has been where people go for jobs, and Facebook has been where people go for their friends,” said Tim Besse, a Glassdoor co-founder and the site’s chief marketing officer, “but at the end of the day, I’d be happy to use my mom or a friend to find out more about a company. Thinking they’re totally separate isn’t reality.”
A January study from Boston-based Millenial Branding found that 36% of Generation-Y Facebook users list a job entry on their Facebook page, and are “friends” with an average of 16 co-workers.
People turn to both friends and professional acquaintances when deciding whether to take a job. A 2012 survey of more than 2,000 adults conducted by Glassdoor and Harris Interactive found that 52% trust friends and family when making job decisions, 14% trust reviews, 5% trust a company’s website and 2% trust the company’s recruiters.
“When you are trying to make a career decision yourself, seeking out the advice of people who know you is the best resource you could use,” Besse said. “Facebook is an enormous platform, where people have identified and collected lots of relationships already. Those are some of the first ones that should be tapped into when looking for a job.”
Some experts, however, say that personal relationships and professional relationships in a job hunt are — and should remain — independent. “People’s reputation as a professional depends on the people they refer,” said Dr. Katherine Jones, director and principal analyst of human capital management technology for California-based Bersin and Associates.
“My next door neighbors are my Facebook friends, but I don’t know them well enough to recommend them for a job. People I went to high school with — would I want them working for me? I don’t know.”
Knowing someone in a professional context is key when considering recommendations, as well as understanding how tainted their opinion of a company or manager may be. “If your best friend says ‘come work here,’ but you’ll will have a different manager, your experience could be very different,” said Jones. “The experience any person has in a corporation is tied directly to their manager.”
The professional networking LinkedIn offers suggests that both LinkedIn and Glassdoor will remain as independent resources rather than competitors. “I don’t see them as being head-on competitors,” Jones said. “They were started with different purposes and they remain different.”
Write to Kelly Eggers at firstname.lastname@example.org