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: 2298

Comment by Jeff Dickey-Chasins on October 24, 2012 at 9:18am

FYI, if you want to see a very cool infographic that covers the above (i.e., created by me), go here: Infographic

Comment by Jerry Albright on October 24, 2012 at 9:19am

Hey Dan - I'm not yanking any chains here.  I've always felt you could make any of this stuff work if you simply decide "This is how I'm going to do it." and develop a plan and stick with it.  I'm convinced one could probably make a few placements stalking people on Twitter - but it's not my plan of attack.


My old boss told me decades ago "There are hundreds of ways to do this.  Pick one." and it's never been more true.

Comment by Bob McIntosh on October 24, 2012 at 9:21am

You sound a little protective, Dan. My job is to help people find jobs. Do you find that "silly?" Yes or no?

Jerry and I have had our little run-ins. I figure he should be the one to tell me to take a leap. Sorry to offend, Dan.

BTW: Jeff, I took a look at and hope my customers can benefit from joining it, if they're not already a member.

Comment by Dan Hunter on October 24, 2012 at 9:25am

Ok Bob, i was perhaps a little harsh but let me ask you a question.  You have found a sweet little niche place and you're killing it for good candidates, are you going to tell other recruiters and have them all pile in and ruin your special place?  If you answer yes then you're either a liar or a fool. 

Comment by Jerry Albright on October 24, 2012 at 9:27am

Dan - I don't look at it the same way.  I've always lived with the "everybody knows about this - so you better just get on it!" rather than think I have some special honey-hole.

Comment by Dan Hunter on October 24, 2012 at 9:29am

And yet you've not told everyone where you're getting candidates have you?  Pray tell us Jerry, or are you going to say 'its not a secret and a good recruiter can find it'?  I suspect i know what you'll reply with. 

Comment by Jerry Albright on October 24, 2012 at 9:39am

GitHub and Stack Overflow.  There you go Dan. You're now a millionaire. :)

Comment by Dan Hunter on October 24, 2012 at 9:40am

Awesome, dont worry i wont forget you Jerry.  I've got my copy of The Secret and i'll be sending you some of the gold dust i generate. 

Comment by Dan Hunter on October 24, 2012 at 9:41am

I like how you mentioned the sites that have already been mentioned, well played sir, well played. 

Comment by Jerry Albright on October 24, 2012 at 9:44am

I'm not quite sure of the direction this is going here.  I'm here to help - always have been, always will be.  I'm picking up a pinch of contention.  Hopefully it's just my imagination.  :)


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