Today we have a guest article from Eddie Vivas. Eddie is the founder of Bright.com, which was acquired by LinkedIn in 2014, and is now product director for LinkedIn Talent Solutions.


What if the talent acquisition profession wiped the slate clean, did away with all the processes, platforms, products, software, and current thinking when it comes to recruitment, and started again? What would we build if we could start from scratch? If we had a blank canvas?

Those are some of the questions I’ve been asking myself for the past 18 months since I joined LinkedIn after its acquisition of Bright, the company I founded with the simple objective of helping people better find the right career opportunity.

In that time, the number of jobs on LinkedIn has grown from a little over 300,000 to nearly four million at last count, and I’ve spoken to hundreds of job seekers, recruiters, employers, hiring managers and business leaders to gain fresh insight into what they really want from their job seeking and recruiting efforts.

In a complex world of interconnected sourcing tools, applicant tracking systems, and candidate databases, the results are disarmingly simple. Their ideas are pointing the way for some of the innovation we’re working on at LinkedIn today, as we continue to invest in new ways to help our 35,000 customers find the talent they need to achieve their business goals.

Smart people know smart people

A typical company hires 30-40 percent of employees from referrals, making them one of the most important sources of talent for a company. But while social media and network effects have had a massive impact on some elements of recruiting, including search and building a strong employer brand, referrals hasn’t benefitted at the same scale.

Recruiters want to be able to better tap into the connections of the great talent they have today to source great talent for tomorrow. Today, companies employ a range of tactics to motivate their employees to refer connections for relevant jobs. Of these, referral bonuses is perhaps the most common but, as Google’s head of people operations recently pointed out, this doesn’t work effectively.

We know that referrals make for the best candidates because they already have relationships within the company – people they like – and data shows they’re more likely to stay with the company for longer, have shorter on boarding times and so on. Being able to get insight into and leverage the relationships between employees and their networks could improve both the recruiting and job seeking process.

We want to build on these insights to enable recruiters to be much smarter about who to contact and how regarding job opportunities. We have the data to do it and these insights are within reach. More than 380 million professionals across the globe use LinkedIn to network, strengthen their professional brands, and garner professional insights; we know a company’s job opportunities, it’s employees, and the skills of their connections. This puts us in a unique position to help companies tap into their employees’ relationships to fuel hires.

We are all recruiters

Recruiting isn’t an isolated function that sits separate to the rest of a business; there are many people involved in the process from hiring managers to HR and other non-specialist recruiters that would benefit from access to the powerful recruiting tools available today.  

Up until now, most recruiting tools have been designed for full-time recruiters; those who are comfortable with using more complex tools and techniques such as Boolean search strings.

By making recruitment tools as powerful as LinkedIn’s accessible to more non-specialist recruiters, we can mobilise the employees of our existing customer organisations and, at the same time, we can open up the power of LinkedIn to a wider set of businesses. This includes smaller businesses where recruiting might be the responsibility of a business leader wearing many hats, potentially impacting millions of companies with small or non-existent recruiting teams.

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Uncovering less obvious talent

LinkedIn Recruiter has made it possible to quickly get from the 380 million members on the network to the handful that are the most relevant by adding filters such as location, skills, past experience and so on. However, there’s another approach that could uncover yet-unexplored talent pools.

While following a company on LinkedIn is a great way for candidates to express their interest in working for the organisation, it’s not yet easy for those organisations to separate out potential candidates from the followers who are fans of their products or services, or competitors keeping an eye on the industry.

What if we could enable members to confidentially signal their interest in specific jobs, team, office locations or functions? If we could enable people to easily signal to companies that they’re interested in working for them, no matter the closeness in terms of geography or skills match, we could open up a much wider spectrum of the professional population with relevant jobs.

This would give candidates more control, and help recruiters quickly identify people from a much larger talent pool who are interested in working for their company.

We’re continually giving our clients more access to LinkedIn’s recruiting power, whether that be through their mobile device or new sources of data insights, such as talent pool reports. We’re also continually refining our matching algorithms to better understand the relationships between people, companies, and the opportunities at those companies.

We believe that by better understanding the relationships between a company’s current employees and their networks, putting the power of data-driven recruiting into the hands of the wider organisation, and by enabling professionals to better signal interest in companies they want to work for, we’ll be able to continue to innovate the way in which we connect talent with opportunity.

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