Monday, August 12, 2013

The Most Important LinkedIn Page You’ve Never Seen

By Alexandra Chang

Tucked behind your professional, yet pretty, profile picture, the descriptions of all your past jobs, and that column of “People You May Know” is a section of LinkedIn that most people have never heard of, let alone seen. And yet it’s the real reason why you should actually care about sprucing up your LinkedIn profile and network.

Dubbed LinkedIn Recruiter, it’s the company’s flagship product and the core of the professional social network’s Talent Solutions. Talent Solutions drive just over half of LinkedIn’s revenue, $161 million in the last quarter. While any LinkedIn user can see jobs and the pages companies build for themselves, Recruiter is only visible to companies that pay to use LinkedIn as a candidate sourcing and hiring tool.

Recruiter is a bit like a two-way mirror where companies and recruiters can see all of your profile information, without you knowing they’re checking you out. For example, recruiters can search for people with specific skill sets, flag them and add a dossier to their profile — all without that person knowing. They can all of the jobs they’ve listed and people they’re watching. Sure, there is a “Who’s Viewed Your Profile,” but those using LinkedIn Recruiter can make themselves anonymous (as can paying LinkedIn premium account members).

LinkedIn wants to make sure those well-paying recruiters and companies have the best possible experience so that they stick around, maybe even tell their HR buddies. To that end, LinkedIn recently unveiled a refreshed Recruiter home page more in line with its consumer-facing products.

The Recruiter search tool lets recruiters search for specific types of people. Image: LinkedIn

“We’ve seen the impact that simplification has had on member growth and engagement,” Parker Barrile, Senior Director of Product Management for Talent Solutions, tells Wired. “This new page is about bringing that same principle into Recruiter.”

Recruiter is basically getting “Katyfied”. The redesigned page features a new search tool, update stream, and section called “People You May Want to Hire.” Recruiters can more easily scour LinkedIn’s network of 200 million and growing profiles and keep track of who they are considering for jobs.

To date, more than 16,000 clients or companies pay to use LinkedIn Recruiter. The list includes big names like Google, Facebook, Unilever, BP, and L’Oreal, amongst thousands of other large, medium and small business and recruiting firms. The average cost per recruiter account is about $8,000, and it goes way up from there depending how many HR folks are hammering away on it. Suffice to say, even with volume discounts, the companies who have thousands of recruiters are paying a hefty amount for LinkedIn’s tools.

It’s easy to see what LinkedIn is doing here. The more it improves Recruiter, the more the service becomes money well spent. Happy recruiters mean more and more recruiters using LinkedIn, which in true network effects fashion translates to LinkedIn becoming the future of hiring (not to mention the fatter future of LinkedIn’s revenue stream). By design it’s going to be very hard for anyone else to catch up.

Recruiter already offers several unique features that are incredibly hard for companies to build or find elsewhere: a giant data set of more than 200 million users and growing, a way to engage passive employees, and the ability to build career branding around a company. The value of the LinkedIn’s data is clear — it would take companies years and years to build a candidate pool even a fraction of that size, and it would be nearly impossible to keep up to date.

Read the rest of the Wired article

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