X’s Job Search Feature – All Hype And No Substance?

February 28, 2024

X (or as some still refer to it – Twitter) recently announced with much fanfare that its new job search feature has over 1 million jobs listed. This has led some, well more like Elon Musk to be precise, to predict it could revolutionise the job-seeking landscape. But based on the experiences of other social networks and the psychology behind how people use these platforms, this seems unlikely to be the case.

We can look at Facebook’s attempts at launching job search as an example. Despite several tries, Facebook has had very limited success in this area. This comes down to a simple reason – people are on Facebook for leisure and socialising, not for professional reasons like finding a job. The same applies to platforms like Instagram and TikTok. X faces this same fundamental issue. Users are there to catch up on news, connect with friends, hurl abuse at celebrities or just browse – not search job listings. They are not in that mindset while scrolling X.

Contrast this with LinkedIn, which has seen tremendous growth in job searching. As a professional networking platform, people expect to find job opportunities there. And they tend to access LinkedIn during working hours when they are indeed looking for openings.

The data backs this up as well. Of all the referral traffic to our websites, less than 0.5% comes from X on average. Facebook drives a bit more at 2%, but LinkedIn referrals make up over 50% on every single website we manage. People simply are not leveraging X to find jobs or interact with recruiters.

Additionally, X would have to shift its whole platform mindset and reputation. Most recruiters we speak to are abandoning X or just half-heartedly posting there. Candidates have little interest either. And X continues to struggle with problems like anonymous abuse and fake profiles.  None of this screams a platform where people see their career investment being centred.

There are also issues with the job search functionality itself on X. Basic filters for location and keywords are no longer sufficient. Job seekers today want to filter by salary, job type, commute distance, remote options, and more. X’s tool does not deliver the intelligent, customisable search people expect nowadays. A list of all jobs in your area filtered to a keyword simply won’t cut it.

In the end, job searching seems to be viewed by tech firms as a potential cash cow. But doing it properly requires truly understanding user needs on both the business recruiting side and job seeker experience side. Simply throwing job postings onto an existing platform, even in the millions, won’t drive adoption if the environment and tools are not purpose-built.

Perhaps I’ll be proven wrong in the long run. But for now, Elon Musk and X need to incorporate much more insight from recruitment marketing professionals if they want this feature to succeed. Relying on their platform’s (dwindling) popularity alone is unlikely to revolutionise the space.

For recruiters and job seekers, this means sticking to tried and true job platforms for now as X figures out major gaps in its offering. Don’t expect it to overhaul job searching yet when so many structural and psychological barriers exist.