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: 2313

Comment by Dan Hunter on October 24, 2012 at 8:02am

The most frightening thing about this article is that i have 757 connections! 

Comment by Bob McIntosh on October 24, 2012 at 8:06am

Very thorough article, Jeff. I'd be curious to know what percentage of recruiters use LI more than the job boards (I still don't see LI as a job board). Thanks. 

Comment by Jerry Albright on October 24, 2012 at 8:11am

We're already moving "beyond" Linkedin for lack of a better word.  We recruit IT people - and they're already setting up shop in other places rather than LI.  It's almost as if LI is old school now.  Just gotta keep up with it!

Comment by Bob McIntosh on October 24, 2012 at 8:55am

Where, pray tell, are they moving to? 

Comment by Jerry Albright on October 24, 2012 at 8:59am

We're finding success in connecting in other locations.  Over time Linkedin has become more or less a job/resume board.  Often times the candidates we're looking for are found in places where they're just talking about the work - the tools, code, techniques, etc.  So it's really more of an approach of connecting with people who show interest in particular topics vs. finding their resume on LI.

Comment by Jeff Dickey-Chasins on October 24, 2012 at 9:09am

Jerry, sounds like you're talking about places like Stackoverflow, Github, etc. What I would call 'skill-based community sites'. 

Comment by Jerry Albright on October 24, 2012 at 9:11am

Jeff - "could be....."



Comment by Bob McIntosh on October 24, 2012 at 9:13am

Or I take it to also mean at professional groups where employed and unemployed are "just talking about the work - the tools, code, techniques, etc." But more so online, right? 

Comment by Dan Hunter on October 24, 2012 at 9:15am

He's not going to tell you,stop fishing you're making yourselves look silly and validating someone who you 'think' has magic beans.  He doesnt.  He just has a little niche thats working for him, and thats only 'probably', he could just be yanking your chain.

Comment by Jerry Albright on October 24, 2012 at 9:17am

Linkedin (to me at least) has become yet one more place where the pile of resumes is getting old.  Quite a few of the "newer" crowd (though I hire just as many "older crowd" people) are just not on Linkedin.  They don't think about it.  With the overwhelmingly "hot" IT market - these guys just don't ever find themselves in a "how do I get a job" mode.  They're being contacted in many ways every day/week. 


Linkedin (in my opinion only - who knows if this is true of not) is more of a "OK. I should get my job search going.  Better update my LI profile." - or so the "experts" keep proclaiming.


Most IT people (for now) don't need to get that far.


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