LINKEDIN: Network or Database

Job Application FormSo at long last LinkedIn are actually nailing their colours to the mast, for many months I’ve suspected that the ‘business networking tool’ was actually becoming a recruitment database, cleverly marketed but none-the-less a recruitment tool and it seems that with recent news it is now moving further into this terrain.

LinkedIn’s homepage tells new members there are three ways to “Get the most from your professional network”: ‘Staying in Touch’, ‘Looking for a Job’, ‘Share Advice’.

With recent reports showing that hiring solutions provide 43% of LinkedIn’s revenue it’s clear to see which of the three services it’s likely to be focussing on as it aims to achieve the growth its shareholders will be expecting.

While I applaud the clever use of marketing on LinkedIn on the back of social networking sites like Facebook, I have to ask myself the question (and try to be as unbiased as possible), is this why I and the 100m+ other members joined LinkedIn? Do jobseekers and movers really want their job search to be on the open market, and feel visible to everyone they know?

Threat to Recruitment Consultancies?

Let’s start with the unbiased piece, as an owner of a recruitment company, some may think that I coLinkedIn Logould see this as a real threat to the business and that is what is fuelling my opinion. However having been through the launch, rise and success of what are already now being called “traditional” jobsites along with the development of more sophisticated candidate databases, I know that in actual fact these recruitment tools support our business and allow us to provide our clients with a faster service, make generating candidate shortlists a little easier and overall work well as part of the multi-channel recruitment strategies we use. I’ll also gladly say that LinkedIn has been a superb source of networking and targeted headhunting for us whilst noting that as two of our top performing consultants don’t even use LinkedIn it is still not the “silver bullet” some may expect it to be for recruiters.

The Member* Experience (*or should that be candidate?)

My concern with the newest product offering from LinkedIn is that the site seems to be moving away from its original format as a professional networking tool and that with such focus being placed on hiring solutions I have to ask, will this change the culture of the site and will other features of the site lose out on future development as the focus stays on the money making tools?

“Get the most from your professional network”:
 Staying in Touch, Looking for a Job, Share Advice

These changes raise other questions for the site: Will the emphasis on job searching encourage more mass headhunting from recruiters and hiring managers? (Something we recgonise people are already becoming tired off and something we take care to avoid). As profiles become more like CVs will employers view updates on their employees profiles a sign they are looking to move? And finally for those that do use the new recruitment tools on offer, how effective will sending a profile be instead of a traditional CV?

LinkedIn have said there will be opportunities to edit parts of profiles before submitting and a snapshot of the new “Apply with LinkedIn” button shows you will still be able to apply, as they call it “the old fashioned” way, however we will need to wait and see how this functionality will work in reality and how recruiters and hiring managers will react to receiving profiles rather than CVs.

So while I’m all up for innovation and organisations increasing their revenues and profits by delivering new products to the marketplace I wonder while these changes may make money, what the true cost will be for the LinkedIn community and if this is actually a step too far?

Find many of our team on Escape’s Linkedin page and get in touch.

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