The marketplace of online recruiting platforms has become increasingly competitive over the past few years, as both big tech companies and startups alike have sought to establish themselves as the platform of choice for both candidates and employers. This week brought news that three of the most-watched competitors in this field are growing, adding new features, or expanding their geographical reach.
LinkedIn announced on Tuesday that it was moving all of its core talent solutions — Jobs, Recruiter, and Pipeline Builder — onto one platform, which it calls the intelligent hiring experience. This consolidation will enable recruiters to “to see all their candidates … in one unified pipeline,” no matter which of these three tools they came from, John Jersin, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn Talent Solutions, explained in a blog post on Tuesday. The company is also “releasing more than 15 new product enhancements for LinkedIn Recruiter and Jobs over the next few quarters,” Jersin added.
In addition to the single pipeline, LinkedIn’s new features include new AI capabilities, which will enable its tools “to talk to one another and leverage machine learning to simplify the hiring process”:
The more you interact with candidates within a project, the more our tools learn about what you like — and don’t like — and then we can surface better candidates for your open role. Based on the applicants, leads, and search results you interact with, the intelligent hiring experience automatically builds a list of recommended candidates for you to consider reaching out to.
The platform is also adding a shared messaging system that will show all candidate communications in one place, a slide-in profile view to more easily look at candidate profiles in the middle of a search, and a feature called “Closing the Loop,” which makes it easier for employers to send rejection messages to applicants, either individually or in bulk. This functionality is meant to address the lack of communication that adversely affects candidate experience and can discourage rejected candidates from applying to other jobs at the same organization for which they might be more qualified. LinkedIn’s mobile app is also getting a call-to-action feature that will enable anyone at an organization to quickly let their LinkedIn network know about a job opening there.
LinkedIn’s latest round of updates to its job posting tool includes features designed to help smaller organizations without dedicated recruiting functions to more easily source and track qualified candidates, Monica Lewis, Head of Product at Linkedin Jobs, announced on the professional networking platform’s Talent Blog last week:
Now, when you post a job on LinkedIn, these new features will work to deliver a pool of relevant candidates who you can’t find anywhere else. … Once you’ve posted a job on LinkedIn, Recommended Matches will scour our network to find candidates who have the experience and skills you’re looking for. And, most of these candidates are exclusively on LinkedIn: 57% of our users in the US did not visit the top three job boards last month.
We put these potential candidates right in front of you, giving you access to their full profiles. In one click, you can indicate if you’re interested in a candidate and start a conversation with them about the job opportunity. Based on how you rate candidates, our algorithm learns your preferences and delivers increasingly relevant candidates.
LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft, has also reconfigured its matching algorithm and given organizations the ability to add their own targeting preferences, giving them more control over who sees a job post. The update also makes it easier for users to keep track of candidates they are considering or wish to contact.
The new features are deliberately designed to encourage smaller and medium-sized enterprises to use LinkedIn as a job board. ERE’s Joel Cheesman calls this “a smart move at the right time”:
LinkedIn users browsing job listings can now get a sense of what their commute would be like if they took the job. The new feature, which senior product manager Dan Li announced in a blog post last week, adds to the growing pile of information LinkedIn helps job seekers find about the roles they are considering:
When you visit job listings on LinkedIn from your mobile phone, you’ll start to see a “See Your Commute” module. From here you can enter your address to calculate how long it would take you to get to your new office walking, driving or on public transportation. Soon, you’ll also have the option to save your location information locally on your phone so you don’t have to type it in every time you’re looking at a role.
You can also set your commute preferences within your Career Interests dashboard so we can provide you with more relevant job recommendations that fit your lifestyle.
The feature was introduced after LinkedIn surveyed 1,000 of its users last October and found that 85 percent of them would take a pay cut in exchange for a shorter commute, Fortune’s Rachel King added. Times and maps for the See Your Commute feature are processed by Bing, the search engine owned by LinkedIn’s parent company Microsoft; in that regard, it’s evidence that Microsoft is making good on its plan to augment LinkedIn, which it bought for over $26 billion in 2016, by integrating it with other elements of the tech giant’s vast suite of software products.
LinkedIn is developing a major new training program to teach its employees about artificial intelligence, which it predicts will be a part of everything they do in the near future, GeekWire’s Nat Levy reported last week:
The AI Academy program will start with classes for engineers, product managers and executives, but the company hopes to expand it so every employee can gain some degree of AI expertise. The first cohort from LinkedIn engineering just started going through the program, but the company is already looking at making the AI Academy part of its onboarding process for all new employees. There are four levels of classes, each one a deeper dive than the last. When participants are done, LinkedIn wants them to have an understanding one of the most important issues in the field: which problems AI can solve and which ones it can’t.
LinkedIn’s Head of Science and Engineering Craig Martell writes in a blog post about the program that AI is “like oxygen—it’s present in every product that we build and in every experience on our platform.” There it has common ground with parent company Microsoft. Like LinkedIn, Microsoft has infused AI into many of its major initiatives, and it offers an online training program for developers.
Microsoft has made huge bets on AI and sought to position itself as a leader in the field, hiring thousands of scarce and expensive AI experts and building AI functionality into its suite of enterprise products—with which LinkedIn is also becoming increasingly integrated. In that context, it’s no surprise to see LinkedIn make AI knowledge a priority for its own workforce: They’re going to need it.
Facebook announced on Wednesday that its job search tool, which launched in the US and Canada about a year ago, is now available in over 40 countries. The expansion, which includes countries like the UK, France, Germany, and Spain, comes as part of the social media giant’s efforts to focus more on local issues, which in turn is part of its campaign to improve its reputation and regain public trust, Richard Nieva notes at Cnet:
The company retooled its iconic news feed to focus more on posts from friends and family, instead of viral videos and news. Part of the new ranking also includes a bigger focus on local news. For the job search tool, Facebook also put the emphasis on the local impact. “The jobs product is about local businesses connecting with people in their communities,” Gaurav Dosi, a Facebook product manager, said in an interview.
TechCrunch’s Josh Constine sees it becoming more of a “blue-collar LinkedIn”:
The Job posts rollout could help Facebook steal some of the $1.1 billion in revenue LinkedIn earned for Microsoft in Q4 2017. But the bigger opportunity is developing a similar business where companies pay to promote their job openings and land hires, but for lower-skilled local companies in industries like retail and food service.
Screencap of Dear Tech People's Rankings
“Most of us agree that tech could be a little more diverse,” says the homepage of Dear Tech People, a project that uses diversity data scraped from LinkedIn to provide approximate diversity figures for a specially selected group of 100 American technology and online media companies. The initiative, launched by three graduates of the University of Pennsylvania, seeks to help improve the visibility of the industry’s diversity problem. The site ranks companies based on the combined gender and racial diversity of their workforce, leadership, and technical staff.
While several high-profile tech companies have publicly released their diversity data on an annual basis over the past few years, Dear Tech People helps provide greater transparency by charting diversity across a broader segment of the industry.
“Our belief is that while the LinkedIn data isn’t perfect, it’s the best data available, and some data transparency is infinitely better than the opaque state of diversity numbers right now,” Adina Luo, one of the site’s co-founders, told Fast Company. Luo and her two other co-founders all have full-time jobs and are working on this initiative on the side. For companies that self-report their diversity figures, Dear Tech People offers verified partnerships, which allow them to signal to candidates that they are committed to diversity. The site also advertises a pipeline analytics tool and benchmarking reports to help companies improve and check their progress toward their diversity and inclusion goals.
LinkedIn has announced two new features for its platform: one to help improve pay transparency in the job market and the other aimed at making scheduling easier for recruiters. The social media company, acquired by Microsoft in 2016, announced Salary Insights and LinkedIn Scheduler in separate blog posts on Tuesday.
LinkedIn Scheduler is an InMail feature that will allow recruiters to share their schedules and easily set up interviews with job candidates, creating a more seamless experience for both parties. Rather than engaging in back-and-forth messages to set up a time to speak after agreeing to an interview, LinkedIn can sync with Office 365 or Google calendars to provide a listing of available time slots so candidates can select and confirm their appointment times. They will then need to enter their contact information, and those details will by placed onto a meeting invite on the recruiter’s calendar.
“Imagine sending a dozen InMails before lunch, grabbing a bite, and coming back to see your calendar is suddenly full of candidate calls for the next week, without you lifting a finger,” the blog post states. “That’s the power of LinkedIn Scheduler.”
Salary Insights will allow job seekers to see a salary range for job listings, either reported by the employer or estimated based on data collected from LinkedIn Salary. LinkedIn claims that this feature will help companies attract applicants whose salary expectations are more closely aligned with what the company is prepared to pay for the listed position, so they won’t need to spend time dancing around the compensation conversation. Companies will be encouraged to post their own salary information; if they don’t, the LinkedIn estimated salary will appear. In some instances, LinkedIn may not have the data to provide an estimate, which will be the only cases where a job posting won’t include any sort of salary estimate.