Facebook Hires Founders of Professional Social Network, Pursuit

Facebook has hired two of the three founders of Pursuit, a professional network startup geared towards helping employers spread the words about their job openings by using their employees’ social networks. A notice on Pursuit’s web site says, “We’ve found a new home at Facebook,” followed by a vague promise about what they might do on Facebook.

We wrote about Pursuit late last year: the web-based Pursuit application offered employees monetary referral bonuses, social recognition, and interesting influencing who is hired to work with them. Pursuit was a boostrapped, three-person operation based in San Francisco that was a free service that collected 20% of any bonuses paid out for referrals. The personal job boards created on Pursuit were spread by members via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and email, but also provided a user’s personal information, which we wrote raised question about how companies might use this information.

Now with Facebook, Pursuit’s team could help the company increase its utility as as job sharing tool, allowing users to not only display their own job title, but open positions at their place of work.

Pursuit former service allowed users to refer people to jobs via social networks like Facebook, then rewarded them with karma points, which would “broadcast how helpful” the recommenders were to their networks. Take a look at our in-depth review from November for more.

We’ve reported similar job-related apps and sites previously. Most recently we wrote about BranchOut, which is aimed at helping people build their professional networks on Facebook; the company recently raised $6 million to this end. Among others, Simply Hired has a job hunting app that utilizes Facebook Connect and Jobvite is a service that uses Facebook to recruit and vet potential job candidates.

The founders seem to be saying that they’ll be focused on projects besides karma-based business networking. But it’s also worth noting that Facebook built its first custom application for a foreign market in Japan last November. The app aimed to help students connect with each other and alumni using Facebook as they undergo the arduous job hunting process in that country. Pursuit’s team might end up working on this project.

Alternatively, Pursuit could help bring new functionality to Facebook Pages and profiles. Many Pages use third-party tab applications to list job openings, but Facebook could offer this as a native tab. On profiles, Facebook recently began allowing users to list co-workers and specific projects they’ve worked on. Pursuit could add “job openings at my company” to the profile, allowing users to shape their workplace.