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

The folks at LinkedIn have been busy lately, rolling outnew 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 andinvest 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 LinkedInSteal the good ideas. And pay attention to your customers.

Views: 2172

Comment by Feargall kenny on October 24, 2012 at 10:02pm

There is no doubt that linkedin is a game changer in many ways. It has changed the way candidates can market themselves, how recruiters can find candidates and how corporations can contextually market their jobs. The big danger for them is getting the balance between the member interests (which Linkedin say is still their #1 priority) and the revenue interests wrong and I think that, at least for more seasoned users, Linkedin is already at that tipping point. The Linkedin Recruiter product is very powerful but is also, in the wrong hands, a spam engine. The more it gets used to spam the more people will switch off (remember Myspace anyone?). Linkedin needs WAY more granularity on membership opt-in controls to address that for the long term

Comment by Suresh on October 25, 2012 at 2:56pm

Size is funny, its very similar to stores that we shop in. I prefer stores that have enough inventory and selection but not make me walk through 10 different aisles to get there. I may do that when the store is new to just browse, pretty soon the newness wears out...

Like everyone else online, it could be a struggle to keep it the Place to go for Jobs..

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