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,
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