When Facebook hunts for new talent, what tops its wish list? Brace yourself for a surprise. The giant social network – now valued at more $150 billion – is in the midst of a skills quest that doesn't involve its usual pursuit of software virtuosos.
What Facebook craves these days is people who can sell.
Scan the listings on Facebook's careers page, and you'll find an impressive 170 or so openings in sales and business development. (The exact total fluctuates slightly, day by day.) The reason: Facebook's money engine is built on advertising. Even in the highly automated world of online marketing, it turns out that making deals come together still requires a human touch.
There isn't a single technical department at Facebook that is as eager to hire. As of Feb. 9, Facebook was hunting for 97 more software engineers, another 78 infrastructure specialists, and 51 data/analytics experts. Yes, fast-growing Facebook has some openings in every section. But the demand for extra people is most intense in the time-tested world of sales.
Think of Facebook's job postings as a peek into the next decade's career options for all of us. We're in the midst of an age of incredible technological disruption to traditional jobs. But there's a way to make your career automation-proof without needing a high-tech Ph.D. As I've suggested before, the key to sustained employment will be to concentrate on the people skills that machines can't copy.
Facebook's hiring priorities are a wake-up call regarding the importance of human connections, too. As the current job listings show, there's room at the giant social network for someone who can build sales relationships with German automakers or Singaporean gaming companies.
For that matter, if your Turkish, French, Italian or Polish is strong enough that you can chat up clients in those languages, you're in demand, too. No engineering Ph.D needed. Or, if you prefer stitching together strategic partnerships with big-company clients in Chicago or New York, there's a job waiting for you. In fact, multiple jobs.