Is LinkedIn the future of job boards? Maybe…or maybe not

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The folks at LinkedIn have been busy lately, rolling out new features, connecting with their users at the LI conference, and busily expanding their empire in all directions. Some pundits are proclaiming that LinkedIn is really the next step in recruiting – aka, job boards 2.0 (or more).

Well? Is LinkedIn the future of job boards? Maybe:

  • They have equaled or eclipsed the biggest general job boards such as CareerBuilder and Monster – with a publicly accessible (more or less) resume database married to a social network.
  • They’ve created ingenious ways to lure employers into spending more on LinkedIn simply to increase their employer brand…on LinkedIn. Admit it – a brilliant move.
  • They’ve monetized both candidates and employers – without the backlash that’s occurred on other sites such as TheLadders
  • They’ve taken Indeed’s PPC model and adapted it – so that employers bid on the jobs shown to candidates’ pages (but of course you can still buy LI job postings, in case you were wondering)
  • They’ve gone further than any other industry player in creating a universal apply button that can be placed on job ads (and which, of course, conveniently uses the candidate’s LI profile)
  • And last but not least – they continue to generate significant revenue and invest in their technology. How many job boards are doing both?

However, as you may have noticed from the headline, there is another side to this story. Is LinkedIn the future of job boards? Maybe not:

  •  The massiveness of LinkedIn could play against it – remember the rise of niche job boards against general boards? Already we are seeing what I call ‘mini-LinkedIns’ for specific professions and communities.
  • As the size of networks grow, the quality of those networks has a tendency to decline. Really – do you know all 757 people in your network?
  • The lack of activity by most LinkedIn members continues to be a drag on its effectiveness for employers. I don’t expect this to go away.
  • Adoption is not universal by candidates (or, for that matter, employers). It never will be – and it will always be more popular in some professions than others.
  • Publicly-held companies are typically less nimble and innovative than smaller, privately-held ones. Thus far LinkedIn has avoid this fate – but it remains an ongoing hazard for LI (and an opportunity for competitors).
  • Is LinkedIn an ATS? Well, no…and yes. Nevertheless, it wants to be. Therein lies the problem. (Go ask any job board that has tried to provide ATS services to employers – it ain’t easy).

Is LinkedIn a competitor to existing job boards? You bet.

Is LinkedIn the future of job boards? Maybe – but maybe not. My advice? Don’t ignore LinkedIn. Steal the good ideas. And pay attention to your customers.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Chris Ourand

    LinkedIn has its place secured for quite some time, but is it the future? Like anything, the future will be parts of different models assembled and timed well. One vastly understated component is video. Users can link and post video, but it’s not a central premise for hiring and is vital to acquiring a complete view of the candidate. http://www.JobOn.com does this for industries that hire hourly employees, and its traction shows that the market is demanding this as part of a future offering.

  2. AidBoard

    From the interviews I had with some recruiters, a problem with LinkedIN is the low response rate to message sent to passive candidates.
    So I would differentiate LinkedIN between active and passive candidates benefits.

    On another note, is it only me that find LinkedIN groups and interface extremely complicated an counter intuitive?

    Thanks!
    Daniele

  3. Matt

    I would have to agree with AidBoards comments…

    Its difficult to compete with a business that has over 100 million registered users – however it still boils down to targeted and effective advertising to both passive and active candidates.

    I feel there is still a major need for niche job boards like Energy Jobline (www.energyjobline.com). We may not be able to compete with the numbers of Linked In but we can provide the quality!

  4. Pingback: Benchmarking German-speaking job boards for Social Media Strategy | Online-Recruiting.net

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