Will Linked In Referral Engine Damage Recruiters? #SocialRecruiting

Photo Creds: LinkedIn.Com

Like a lot of people, I have been following with interest the twitter stream coming out of #Intalent in San francisco, Linked In’s conference.

There have been lots of interesting comment and thoughts being shared, and a healthy debate going on in the back channel.
The big announcement for me though was the news that Linked In will be launching a platform wide referral engine in 2011. This will enable companies to operate a referral programme, giving employees and members of the company network, (followers), a vehicle for forwarding their connections for open jobs.
This is currently being piloted with Accenture, who are renowned for reducing cost per hire, rewarding direct referrals and working relatively third-party recruiter free, employing teams of sourcers directly.
If you think about the size of a companies extended network, throw in  some financial incentives to refer, and you have something that could be very powerful.
This will encourage direct sourcing and hiring, and when you combine this with the news that Facebook have built a job search application in Japan, it could be tough times ahead for third-party recruiters.

I will watch with interest how the relationship between recruiter and Linked In pans out. It could be that Linked In see the direct hire route as more lucrative and could start to drive the business in this direction. This will no doubt ultimately be a paid for service, and could generate major revenues.
If things became hard or expensive for third-party recruiters to operate in Linked In, the climate could get very interesting. Less recruiters might also lead to a better user experience for everyone outside of the sector. We have all heard of the stories of clumsy approaches, flooding groups with jobs and spamming. maybe this will be the pay back. Could it be that  the chiefs at Linked In have grown tired of waiting for recruiters to adopt best practice within the channel and clean up their act?
The new referral application will incorporate matching technology, suggesting candidates for referral within the network. This matching currently works with Job Insider, by suggesting people you could share the jobs with if you are not interested. I’ve had a look at the matches produced in this way, and it is quite accurate. Whatever the Linked In boffins have built, it matches well from what I have seen.
The one drawback with automated matching from linked In is the variety of profiles which are set up in different ways and of very different standards between one profile and another. This is due to the profile being entirely free text, with the users being able to fill the available space as they wish, and they do.
The solution to this for Linked In could be to move to template led profiles, leaving less choice, greater coding and restricted free text. Still room to sell yourself via the summary, but tighter control on those fields where the matches happen. This would change the nature of linked In considerably, not necessarily for the worse. it would make automated searching and matching far more effective, and results more consistent. The easier linked In becomes to use, the less need for hiring companies to look to third-party recruiters to carry out these tasks.
This is all entirely speculation, and thinking out loud on my part, but it does make you think.

How do you see the referral engine impacting on recruiters? How well do you see this working?

Keep being ambassadors,


Links In This Post

Linked In launches referral engine

Facebook launches job search app

9 comments on “Will Linked In Referral Engine Damage Recruiters? #SocialRecruiting

  1. I think this is a very exciting product and I look forward to offering it to @socialhonesty customers!

    I do however believe that it is nice to have all our contact possibilities (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter) in one tool like SocialCruiter.com 🙂

    Companies can upload all their employee’s email addresses and mobile numbers to send jobs to them and then their employees can extract referrals from their LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook networks to refer jobs to.

    Just yesterday I had an ex-colleague connect with me on LinkedIn and wanted to connect on Facebook but I like to keep my Facebook contacts as private as possible. This means I have different contacts on different networks and they are all relevant to refer jobs to directly.

    Great post Bill, you inspire me!

    • Thanks michelle,
      I think increasingly we are combining channels, though Facebook remains the private domain for many. (fanpages less so.)
      referral recruiting is going to grow via the social networks in my opinion, so lets watch closely and see how this works.
      The inspiration is mutual!

  2. […] us who are not born into huge networks or attend schools that naturally facilitate those. In 2011, LinkedIn is updating their platform so that more people can directly connect with their network around work and jobs. Now is the time […]

  3. […] us who are not born into huge networks or attend schools that naturally facilitate those. In 2011, LinkedIn is updating their platform so that more people can directly connect with their network around work and jobs. Now is the time […]

  4. As I’ve said before (and no on agreed with me so they probably won’t this time!) this could a big one. Even if it doesn’t work in this iteration then it will pave the way for companies to adopt more network centric social recruitment. Bad news for some third party recruiters and great news for most in house recruiters.

    Have to disagree with you on the prescriptive data fields thought Bill, that is a bit old school web. I think LinkedIn actually gets the balance right at the moment, their search and filtering will have to be what improves not the hoops they make users jump through


  5. I think this and other approaches, that link the latest technology and resourcing thinking, will hit the market in the next year.

    Will it have a big impacy on Rec Cons? I think so. Having said that I thing the skills and ability of quality Rec Cons will continue to be valued.

    Those that will be hardest hit will be the stack’em up, CV trawlers that add little to the recruitment process. Some of what will soon hit the market will by-pass this style of recruiter and what’s more deliver better results for less cost.

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