Our Jobs In Games special, in association with OPM, takes a look at the fast-growing social network LinkedIn, which boasts more than 175m members.
MCV speaks to David Cohen, LinkedIn's director for Northern Europe about how the site makes it easier for applicants to learn more about the companies they are applying to, and how employers can both promote their vacancies and find the new talent they are looking for.
What is the advantage of using social networks to seek out new job opportunities vs traditional methods such as recruiting agencies?
There are two primary advantages associated with social, and more importantly, professional networks when thinking about career change: scale and context.
When a professional considers their next professional move, he or she may wonder which opportunities are the best match for their skills and expertise. Networks are able to do things much faster and more broadly than humans can do, matching the background of the professional to hundreds of thousands of opportunities instantly.
Take LinkedIn, for example. Every day we have nearly 200,000 jobs posted on the network and we proactively match jobs to our members based on the information in their profile. As a result a member with a 100 per cent complete profile will see the most relevant jobs appear automatically when they visit their LinkedIn home page.
In addition, we selectively show our members jobs for specific companies when they visit the LinkedIn profile pages of companies they are interested in. For example, if I go to the LinkedIn profile of an employee at Google, I will automatically see all jobs at Google that are the best match for my background. When I click on one of those jobs, I'll also see the people from my network who can help me land the job or learn more about working for Google. This scale and context very efficiently allow me to speed up my search and my ability to an effective job seeker.
Similarly, how do social networks make it easier for companies to promote their vacancies?
The same concept applies to companies. When a company lists their job on LinkedIn we automatically search the network and match the job to the most relevant of our 175m+ members. We then make recommendations to the recruiter who posted the job to help him find the best possible talent for that role.
In addition, we help companies take advantage of their single greatest asset, their people. Many companies take advantage of their employees' profiles as a place to market their jobs and the notion of their company being a great place to work. Because the viewer is likely looking at the profile of someone they have an interest in or a direct relationship with, this is the perfect time to show them that opportunities also exist for people with their skill set and background.
What should applicants be aware of when searching sites like LinkedIn for vacancies?
We believe there is no formula for job searching. For example, we now host over 1m professional Groups on LinkedIn, which are places where our members discuss everything from their industry to their area of study to the place they attended university. These Groups may be yet another place where our members are sharing information about jobs or companies that are interesting for a variety of reasons. This is just one of a number of channels through which a candidate can find out more about an interesting company or about jobs they might take an interest in.
What should employers be wary of when reaching out to potential new employees?
Employers are quickly learning that this is truly an ecosystem and differs from the traditional methods of online recruitment. Due to the availability of information over professional networks like LinkedIn, it's important that they consider the various ways that candidates will find out about their jobs.For example, a company that posts a job on LinkedIn but ignores their Career Page will help the candidate understand the specifics of the job but will not give them a meaningful sense for what it's like to work for the company.
Top tier candidates are savvy and they have many alternatives from which to choose. In order to attract the very best talent to your organisation, we have found that companies need to consider the entire experience of the candidate and be sure that they are marketing a career decision rather than simply a job. Doing so successfully requires an understanding of candidate behaviour, which is increasingly well-educated about the marketplace.
How has the number of people/companies seeking jobs/applicants grown over the years on your site, and what have you done to fuel this growth?
Currently, our membership is growing at a rate of about two new members per second. We are seeing record high levels month after month of both jobs on LinkedIn and those who are being hired through the site. Because we focus on the experience of the member first, we are creating an environment in which fluid communication between employers and candidates is increasingly efficient.
We will continue to invest in the day-to-day products that our members use to become more productive and successful so that they continue to have a reason to come back and spend time on LinkedIn. As we do so, we will naturally create the demand for our talent solutions that attract employers and candidates. This virtuous cycle is at the heart of the LinkedIn ecosystem and is helping us to connect talent with opportunity at massive scale.
Is social recruiting like this set to replace traditional methods like recruiting agencies in future, or can the two complement each other?
Professional social networks will play an increasingly central role in the identification and recruitment of the world's best talent. With more than 175 million members and growing at one new member per second, LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network and a source of talent for companies in a wide range of industries around the world, from mining and automotive to marketing and finance.
Tools like LinkedIn enable active recruiting instead of companies waiting for written applications. It is no longer enough for to announce a vacancy and to wait for applications – especially when it comes to the recruitment of the best talent.
However, saying that, recruiting through professional networks and traditional methods go hand-in-hand, and will continue to do so. Some of our best customers and business partners are recruiting agencies, who obviously benefit from our solutions. Because we are focused on connecting talent with opportunity at scale, we believe that we can help all companies engaged in the war for talent.
Many companies prefer to use agencies over in-house recruitment teams. For these, we believe that investing in their employment brand is even more important, and we help them to do so. However, they may continue to work with agencies with whom we have a relationship and who are interested in accessing our 175m+ member network. We're a bit like a matchmaker in that regard.
What plans do you have to improve how people can find jobs/applicants via LinkedIn in future?
We will continue to invest in all ways to help our members and customers ease their searches. We want LinkedIn to work wherever our members work. We are constantly working to add new features to LinkedIn which will continue to make our members more productive and successful, both on LinkedIn.com and across the web.
One example of this is mobile, where we are seeing exponential growth in page views and time spent on the site. We adore mobile because it's yet another means by which we can connect talent with opportunity. By allowing employers to find candidates via mobile and vice-versa, we simplify the process even further.
We will continue to seek new ways to ease the hiring process and have a number of exciting new products in the pipeline that will transform the way companies hire and candidates find great jobs. To date, we have LinkedIn platforms for Blackberry, iPhone, Android and, most recently, iPad.