About 20,000 clients are using LinkedIn’s talent solutions products. These tools have fast become the company’s financial backbone: Of the $364 million in revenue that LinkedIn reported in the second quarter, $205 million came from this division.
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In order to ensure that these products continue to be optimally valuable to recruiters, LinkedIn will have to work to ensure that it is not impeded by its own fast growth and popularity. As more members and talent professionals familiarize themselves with the tools, some recruiters say LinkedIn risks becoming an environment in which it is harder for their overtures to stand out from those of competitors.
Jennifer Boulanger, director of talent acquisition at Arlington-based Opower, said she’s already seeing this happen in certain high-demand job categories.
“Most engineers, they get probably 10 to 15 LinkedIn mails every day,” Boulanger said. “So we actually got away from doing a lot of LinkedIn for engineers.”
Still, she’s using LinkedIn Recruiter to fill a host of other positions. In fact, she has nearly 11,000 candidates in her applicant tracking system that were identified through this platform.
And while LinkedIn has increasingly become a search mechanism of choice for recruiters, some solid job candidates might still be flying under its radar. Many workers are not on the network, and some users have skeletal or out-of-date profiles.
Kathleen Smith of ClearedJobs.net, a career site for people with government security clearances, said that hers is a niche in which many qualified candidates are not easily found on LinkedIn.
“When you’re talking in the cleared community, people are not very comfortable sharing a lot of information,” Smith said, since they often work on classified projects and are accustomed to maintaining a certain level of privacy about themselves and their work.
Even some of the basics can be difficult to discern, as workers are typically advised not to disclose in their profiles that they have a security clearance. Smith said a good recruiter can often read between the lines as to whether a prospective candidate has one, but it still requires guess work.
“When we try to find the silver bullet tools, people are not going to find the talent that they want,” Smith said. “Social media is great, but it’s just another relationship building tool.”
Many local companies have made LinkedIn a core part of their strategy for finding top talent. McLean-based media giant Gannett has about 40 human resource professionals using LinkedIn’s Recruiter tool. Since it began using it extensively, the company has seen a drop in the amount of time it takes to fill an open position, according to Virgil Smith, vice president of talent acquisition.
Contracting company Science Applications International Corp. said it began investing more heavily in LinkedIn last year. As the company has ramped up its use of LinkedIn, Chris Scalia, SAIC’s vice president of talent acquisition, has noticed a change in the types of candidates he can find there.
“LinkedIn was always known for where you would go to find that really critical, challenging hire,” Scalia said. “It was never really where you would go for a PC technician or something at the lower end of the career mobility scale. Now I see both. It is completely flooded.”
At Advisory Board, recruiters have been able to zero in on promising candidates faster.
“We’ve found a real uptick in quality, [that] is probably that biggest tangible impact,” said Chad Chow, the firm’s director of career management. With traditional job boards, Chow said, “You spent a lot of time interviewing candidates in order to sort of narrow down the pool. Linkedin is a much more targeted tool.”
In addition to its use of the Recruiter, Advisory Board has had success with the Job Slots tool, another LinkedIn offering that allows HR professionals to post job openings.
With that functionality, Chow said, “the job actually finds the candidate.”