LinkedIn has grown tremendously since its humble beginnings in 2003, when it started with about 4,500 members in its network. It now numbers over 80 million members and has launched a variety of premium services to monetize its technology, in the area of Advertising and Recruiting.
Of these, its Recruiting solutions (known as LinkedIn Talent Advantage) offers an interesting portfolio of capabilities that rival a multitude of job boards (such as Monster and Dice), as well as SaaS vendors such as Taleo. An insightful post by a seasoned recruiter shows that 1 in 20 (or 5% of) LinkedIn profiles are those of recruiters in the U.S. Assuming similar trends hold worldwide, LinkedIn has potentially 4 million recruiters worldwide to market its premium services to.
LinkedIn Talent Advantage currently consists of 5 modules:
1) LinkedIn Recruiter: Recruiters can search for talent by drilling down on location, industry, and keywords, and contact those that they’re interested in through mass InMails. Teams of recruiters from the same company can also manage the entire hiring workflow process and utilize collaboration tools to keep everyone on the same page.
2) Jobs Network: After listing the job posting on LinkedIn, recruiters can get a match of 50 strong candidates for the position. LinkedIn members can also see how they’re connected to the job poster as well as the number of people they’re connected to at the company.
3) Talent Direct: A slight variation of LinkedIn Recruiter, Talent Direct is different in that it allows a customized InMail to be sent to a highly qualified passive job seeker and appear higher and more prominent in the candidate’s Inbox.
4) Recruitment Advertising: Targeted banner-style ads on the main landing page to improve perception of employment brand.
5) Career Pages: A variation of the Recruitment Advertising module. Allows users to create a “Careers” tab to their main Company profile page and customize it to achieve their employment branding objectives.
LinkedIn has the potential to broaden its scope of recruitment offerings by offering the following enhancements to its current portfolio. A lot of these require LinkedIn to embed advanced analytics into its algorithms with dashboarding abilities.
Connections Added: Passive job seekers are generally looking to make a change when they’re starting to network with various professionals in their industry and add connections. A connection spike in the ‘Friend’, ‘Other’, or ‘Classmate’ categories vs. the ‘Colleague’ category would most likely point to a passive job seeker in the initial stages of his job search.
Groups Joined: Joining groups within one’s industry, starting group discussions, and answering questions is another way to network and make oneself known within the community.
Company & Department rating feature: Glassdoor already offers employees the ability to rate companies in terms of salary, their interview experiences, and their working experience there. Such a rating feature on LinkedIn (with a high level of data aggregation and anonymity in order to prevent employees from being singled out and being retaliated against) could help recruiters (as well as the company’s own HR department) gauge the willingness of a set of candidates to new opportunities. A ‘Department’ feature could allow employees to add themselves to a particular department within their company. The name of the department could be created virally, with subsequent profiles adding themselves to a department name that most closely matches what they type in when creating or updating their profile.
Company Departures: The ‘Company’ feature on LinkedIn lists departures whenever someone changes their job title and company. Active job seekers could be given the ability to tag themselves as a potential candidate for that vacancy, with the tag only viewable to recruiters of the departing company who have purchased a Talent Advantage subscription. This would give such recruiters an active pipeline of leads to follow up on before even creating the job description for the newly open requisition.
Following Companies: LinkedIn Users who follow companies generally do so because they’re interested in finding potential opportunities there. An “engagement meter” which records the number of blog entries, tweets, or company news that followers click on is yet another level of analysis that shows how interested a certain user is in the company.
Online Presence: High quality candidates are bombarded with InMails all the time. A presence feature that shows whether a certain user is currently online, or predicts based on usage patterns when this user would be online again can enable recruiters to send their InMail either instantly (if the user is online) or at a specified time (based on when the next predicted online availability is).
In summary, LinkedIn already has a great suite of products for recruiters to source quality candidates. By increasing the level of engagement with passive candidates, and mining some more nuggets of information about their LinkedIn habits (coupled with adequate privacy controls of course), LinkedIn definitely has the wherewithal to turn into the number one SaaS-style recruitment engine on the web today.