The previous part of the series covered LinkedIn’s offerings and the way they have shaped up its finances. Premium Subscriptions and Marketing Solutions make up 20 percent each of LinkedIn’s finances. Its most significant contribution comes from its Talent Solutions business, which is used primarily by recruiters to manage the entire gamut of services including sourcing, classification and recruitment.
With 60 percent of its revenue coming from this line, it is unlikely to take a back seat. Contrarily, LinkedIn might pursue other initiatives while ensuring the continued pace of growth for its flagship solution with such a wide user base and proponents of its benefits.
Its solution for recruiters is changing the way sourcing and recruitment are carried out by HR professionals across the globe. The trigger for the research of this series, the article by The Economist, Workers of the world, log in, cites several recruiters who use LinkedIn for different purposes, deriving varied benefits and confronting newer challenges. This post shall cite the purposes of Talent Solutions, as cited by recruiters in the article, and benefits from readily available data on LinkedIn.
1. Wider applicant pool
The primary and obvious benefit from moving to a digital platform for recruitment is the much wider applicant pool that can be harnessed, ranging from “active” job seekers, to “passive” job seekers, who are not quite looking for a change but might consider one if a lucrative opportunity arose. By using LinkedIn to source such candidates and segment them accordingly, recruiters are finding more benefit than they did earlier with outsourced recruitment agencies, which relied on the cumbersome tasks of sourcing candidates manually to form their talent pool.
Rakesh Ahuja, senior recruiter in Europe and Asia at Infosys, and Steven Baert, head of human resources at Novartis, the pharmaceuticals giant, have been cited for their use of LinkedIn to source candidates. Ahuja spent a lot of time, effort and money on external recruitment agencies a couple of years ago, but he now relies on LinkedIn’s talent solutions to source candidates in-house, diminishing the reliance on agencies from 70 percent to 16 percent. Baert also hired “at least 250 people through LinkedIn last year”.
The much wider availability of resources increases the chances of finding the perfect fit for a role. Moreover, due to the vastness of skills available on LinkedIn and the aggregation that can be made from it, finding people with the requisite skills is not a hassle. Recruiters no longer have to rely on head-hunters extensively to find people with a particular niche skill; they can do so in-house with their own sourcing teams.
2. In-house recruitment
Rather than relying on recruiting candidates into an organisation, a practice that often turns out to be more expensive, exploring candidates from within an organisation proves to be much more beneficial from the HR’s perspective. Sourcing the right candidate for an internal posting has become easier because of the availability of data on LinkedIn. For multinational corporations with operations that extend across transnational boundaries and varied HR practices, sourcing internal candidates is a much better deal than having to undergo the grind of finding a match from the labour market.
The Economist’s research cites that larger organisations such as IBM, HP, Accenture, Deloitte et al have over 80 percent of their workforce on LinkedIn. This then necessitates recruiters such as Marie-Bernard Delom at Orange to at least source candidates in-house to fill an internal job position.
Numerous studies have been carried out in the field of recruitment to investigate which method is more handy – recruiting an external candidate or in-house recruitment. When the need is dire and the candidate is expected to hit the ground running with almost no leeway to establish oneself in a new organisational environment, in-house promotion or recruitment comes in much more handy than recruiting a person from the job market. LinkedIn’s data enables large organisations to better manage their employee records and scour for “active” job-seekers internally who might be interested and fit for the internal posting.
3. Competitive analysis
In high-attrition industries such as IT, where the practice of job-switching is much more prevalent, LinkedIn is used as a tracking tool to study and analyse the popularity and brand value of competition. Google, Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and others not only get a fair idea of how they fare in terms of brand following but also obtain insights on their aspirants. It becomes easier to follow updates and information from competitors and also keep a track of their popularity in terms of the number of followers. With swathes of followers on LinkedIn, these companies find better brand connection and broader engagement when followers respond to their public information.
LinkedIn’s In-Demand employer list published each year is a good indicator of the popularity of an organisation relative to peers. LinkedIn ranks organisations in terms of the demand they generate based on the content they publish on LinkedIn. Several companies such as Google, Apple, McKinsey have consistently featured in the list, magnifying their visibility and drawing in hordes of more followers. By garnering so much interest on LinkedIn, they can also learn about their competitors and how they fare in the industry or geography or demographic or any other such parameter.
Such benefits are surely going to keep LinkedIn at the top of recruiters’ minds. But like everything else in the world, this also has its flip side. It is not a hunky-dory tale for all. There are challenges that need to be overcome with such widely available data. LinkedIn has begun to pervade the recruitment industry, but hasn’t achieved it all just yet, as the next post highlights.