What the LinkedIn sale means for job boards

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NothingnessLast week was a big week for industry news – and pundits. Everyone had something to say about LinkedIn and Microsoft.

Except…me.

Why did I wait? Well, I was getting ready for this week’s JobG8 conference (branding and sales workshops, of course!), but I was also thinking about the sale. I really didn’t have an ‘instant’ analysis. A few observations, but that was about it.

Ahem – until now.

So…what does the LinkedIn sale mean for job boards?

Nothing.

(Screams! Shouts! Derision!)

Let me explain.

For Microsoft, the LI sale may mean a lot of things: access to some seriously detailed data about several hundred million folks; new whiz-bangs to tie into their software and cloud offerings; and even a tightening of the screws on the corporate market.

For LI, it means an escape from a bad run with the stock market; access to deep pockets (I’m sure LI had Indeed-envy in this regard); and a new distribution channel. Face it, Microsoft and LI are the ultimate corporate marriage for our times. Maybe even a little new technology.

But for job boards (and those who are in fact job boards but refuse the moniker): nothing.

Consider this:

  • Is LinkedIn suddenly going to introduce disruptive recruiting technology to the marketplace? Nope – they’re going to spend the next 12-18 months learning how truly painful the corporate acquisition process is.
  • Is LinkedIn going to steal market share from job boards? No – they’ve already taken what they want from the generalist boards; now they’re feeling the pain from Indeed.
  • Is Linked going to cause a recruiting mind-shift in corporate and non-corporate America that dooms job boards (and those who dare not wear that moniker)? No – their model has already done what it will – witness the flattening growth over the past year – and in the meantime, niche recruitment networks like Doximity are growing their own versions.
  • Is LinkedIn going to suddenly appear everywhere Office is – with little LI cartoon figures becoming modern day Clippies, asking you if you need a job? If they’re smart – no. Ask Microsoft how much damage intrusive ‘helpers’ caused it back in the day.
  • Are employers going to wait around until Microsoft and LinkedIn announce the next new (expensive) way to find candidates? Umm….no. If anything, transitions produce disruption – customers get nervous or overlooked, and then they go hunting for a new supplier.

Ok, actually, I can predict one way that the LI acquisition could affect the job board world. There will be a good 6-18 months of ‘dead time’ as the deal is settled. Let’s say some smart company buys Monster on the cheap – and then they open up the resume database to the public, add networking functions, and ape the LI recruiter product. That would cause some ripples for other job boards. It would also give Microsoft/LI major heartburn.

But-  it would be great blog content! So go ahead, wherever you are, you with your hundreds of millions of dollars – give it a whirl. And be sure to send the Doctor an idea fee while you’re at it.

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