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Earlier this year, after LinkedIn stated their intention to become a publicly listed company, I wrote a lead article about LinkedIn’s global aspirations and specifically, their intention to tackle the recruitment agency market.  

This intention was made explicit when they registered their S-1 Statement with the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in late January. In the S-1 Statement, under the heading ‘Our Opportunity  ‘,  the message could not have been clearer:  

We believe we are transforming the way people work by connecting talent with opportunity at massive scale. Our goal is to provide a global platform capable of mapping every professional’s experience, skills and other relevant professional data to his or her professional graph, including connections with colleagues and business contacts.    

In my InSight Issue183 lead article about the Australasian Talent Conference, I highlighted the effectiveness of LinkedIn in solving the global hiring challenges of management consulting firm, Accenture.  

For those of you not familiar with the range of LinkedIn offerings, here’s a quick summary of the three current major premium (ie paid) services:  

1.   LinkedIn Recruiter   includes:

Unlimited access to names and full profiles  : Unlike ‘free’ LinkedIn where you can only view the full profile of a first level connection, LIR allows you to access the full LinkedIn database of candidates and view their full profiles.  

Exclusive refinement filters  : Unlike ‘free’ LinkedIn, LIR gives you access to Premium Talent Filters. This enables a more tightly defined search to be undertaken using criteria such as Company Type, Years in Position, Function, Seniority Level, Years at Company and Years of Experience.  

Contact candidates directly  : LIR provides you with 50 InMails per month to contact any candidate. InMails are credited back if unanswered after 7 days and these InMails can be rolled over each month, if unused.   

Project folders  : These allow you to set reminders on profiles to follow up with candidates of interest. These folders, including notes and candidate communication history, are visible to your colleagues.   

Search Alerts  : Up to 50 search alerts can be established so new talent can be accessed immediately.   

2.  Job Network  

is a service that allows each user to post jobs on their profile page and also to their network. Also up to 50 candidates are identified for the user by a LinkedIn algorithm.   

Other services offered under this category include Referral Engine   which unlocks each employees’ referral potential by highlighting company vacancies and identifying the best talent from their entire network.   

3.  Recruitment Ads  

is the traditional ‘classified ad’ service except the big difference being that the information available about each LI member allows ad targeting and placement at a level that print media and job boards can only dream about.   

Other services offered under this category (Recruitment Branding) include Career Pages   which allows companies to establish a professional career page on LI , Recruitment Insights   which provides a research service for companies wanting to understand where their employment brand rates with their target candidate market and how to maximise the impact with this same candidate market and Work With Us   which enables personalised-to-viewer ads to be listed next to your employees’ profiles.   

The beauty of the LinkedIn business model is that the commercial interests of LinkedIn coincide perfectly with those of their clients.   

For example, the value of the Job Network   offering (#2, above) is maximised when a LinkedIn premium service client has all their employees listed on LinkedIn and then encourages each of these employees to build their own large networks.   

This is great for the employer (more first level networks to access for potential candidates) and fabulous for LinkedIn (the more high quality, complete and updated member profiles LinkedIn contains then the more attractive LinkedIn is for paying clients.   

Of course LinkedIn has its limitations, in that …   

i) Currently lower skilled and technical/trades candidates are vastly under-represented  

ii) Not all LinkedIn profiles are up-to-date  

iii) Not everyone with a LinkedIn profile responds (positively or at all) to contact or connection requests   

But overall you can certainly say that LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffman has certainly made giant strides in his stated mission for LinkedIn to ‘enable enterprises and professional organizations to find and connect with the world’s best talent’.       

With such a powerful DIY recruitment service available for companies and organisations, how should agencies respond?   

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You have to ask…

How much did LinkedIn pay you for this post? Or prehaps you are expecting some goodwill back from them in terms of free trials?

Ross Clennett

You're welcome to ask.

I have no relationship with LinkedIn, whether it be commercial, in-kind or any other version.

I am not interested in any free trials as I do not use LinkedIn for recruitment purposes.

I write about topics because they interest me, and because I think they will interest my readers, not for any other reason.


@ Anonymous

Linked in, despite it's enormous fame, is a small company sheltered under a rock in mountain view California. It will be an accomplishment for them if they managed to get their database search engine right let alone finding people globally that could write about them or promote them. Ross, as I know him, does not need to promote a company to make money. He simply keeps up to date with whats happening in the industry.

As for the article, I can't speak for everyone, however I have been a member of linked in for several years now and for the most part I have been a paid member. At present I have in the vicinity of 16k direct connections and millions of 2nd and 3rd. In my opinion Linked In is largely over-rated. I tend to believe Warren Buffet when he suspected this will be another bubble.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying linked in is bad, but I think companies out there getting excited thinking the holy grail of recruitment is here will be disappointed.

Similar to seek and monster, linked in will be a bigger help for recruiters than anyone else. The challenge for the HR now is to ensure they keep their retention rate high since all your top employees contact details is suddenly accessible on public domain and competition and their headhunters are knocking. They will probably be better off spending their time and effort on keeping their top talent than to launch linked in campaigns that usually lead to nowhere.

It will be enough to say that over 90% of the exclusive and retained assignments I work on right now were advertised on linked in at some point with little to no results.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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