LinkedIn Unveils New Recruiting Products

Referrals program launches Nov. 2015; Recruiter updates available spring 2016

By Roy Maurer Oct 14, 2015

LinkedIn’s new recruiting products aim to revolutionize the employee referral process and simplify data-driven recruiting for hiring teams.

Eduardo Vivas, head of product for LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions business, revealed Oct. 14, 2015, what his team has been working on over the past 20 months at the Talent Connect 2015 recruiters’ conference in Anaheim, Calif.

LinkedIn Referrals will be available Nov. 1, 2015, providing a solution to employers’ most critical sourcing dilemma: Employee referrals produce the best candidates and hires, but getting employees to participate in referral programs is a struggle.

“That’s because referral programs rely on employees who aren’t recruiters, and have day jobs, to keep track of their company’s open jobs, mine their networks for qualified referrals, and then decipher their company’s cumbersome referral software,” Vivas said. “And if they complete that process, they rarely receive updates on their referral’s status.”

LinkedIn Referrals automatically identifies employees’ first-degree connections who are a match for open jobs on LinkedIn. Employees who sign up for the program will be able to see who among their connections match up on their company’s dedicated LinkedIn Referrals page. Employees can send matched connections the job posting via InMail or e-mail and can share jobs with all their connections through status updates.

How will employers’ jobs show up on LinkedIn? For the first time, LinkedIn is integrating with applicant tracking systems. When companies sign up for Referrals, the back-end flow will not change: Referrals will show up on employers’ internal systems and integrate with referral incentive programs if the candidate applies for the open job, ensuring companies only receive referrals for interested candidates.

“LinkedIn Referrals takes the work out of referrals for you and your employees,” Vivas said.

Analytics will track referrals and measure employee engagement with and return on investment of referral programs. Recruiters and hiring teams will be able to see from within the company’s applicant tracking system which candidates are referrals and which employees referred them.

Plus, LinkedIn Referrals “automatically keeps employees updated on where their referral is in the hiring process, and even prompts them to congratulate their referral when they receive an offer,” Vivas said.

LinkedIn Referrals will cost employers $10 to $12 annually per employee, according to Joe Roualdes, a spokesman for the company. Roualdes stressed that the cost is per employee, not per referral, and that there is no cap on the number of referrals.

LinkedIn Recruiter Evolves

The next version of LinkedIn Recruiter—a free upgrade for current users that will be available in the spring of 2016—will “unlock the full potential of LinkedIn to empower almost anyone who recruits to be a data-driven recruiter,” Vivas said.

He recounted that after months of conducting research and collecting feedback from recruiters and hiring managers, he heard that two of the biggest challenges in the talent acquisition process were writing search strings for hiring managers’ ideal candidates—often someone already in the role—and lacking knowledge of domain and Boolean searches and thus not being able to best use Recruiter.

“We asked ourselves a simple question: How can we empower almost anyone who recruits to be a data-driven recruiter by making our products more intuitive?”

Besides featuring an upgraded user interface, the next generation of Recruiter allows anyone tasked with hiring to easily find candidates using an existing employee’s profile, to create and modify search strings, and to sift through talent pools to prioritize and differentiate talent using various customized subsets.

“It all starts with a much simpler, faster and more intuitive search experience,” Vivas said.

If you’re trying to match skills and attributes for a rockstar employee, all you need to do is enter the employee’s name into the search field, select her profile, and LinkedIn Recruiter will automatically provide a list of similar members with similar skills. It will also show the terms it used to build the search string and allow users to add or remove terms to modify the search.

“That helps you identify members who are a match for your open job even if you don’t know which terms to include in your search string,” Vivas said.

And those recruiters and HR generalists who aren’t proficient in creating Boolean searches can now provide a term like “architect” into the job titles search and Recruiter will help write the search string using LinkedIn data. Recruiter will automatically provide a list of architects’ top skills, the companies with the most architects and the top architectural schools. The list of members that match can be refined by adding or deleting terms. Advanced recruiters can continue to use their own Boolean search strings.

Talent pools can be further sliced and diced through a new feature called Spotlights. “This feature provides visibility into the different talent pools that exist,” Vivas said. Spotlights, which are customizable, will take members who already fit search string results and break them into in various subsets, including first-degree connections with your workforce, people who have engaged with the company brand on LinkedIn, people who have previously applied for jobs at your company, or those that belong to affinity groups tailored to recruiters’ interests such as “Marine Corps Vets” or “Hispanic Professionals.”

One of the most exciting Spotlights will alert recruiters as to who is actively seeking new opportunities. These subsets will help hiring teams gauge whether or not leads are interested in the company and then prioritize who to contact and how to contact them, Vivas said

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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