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LinkedIn connects big data, human resources

Sarah Halzack (via Washington Post/ SMH) | Aug. 13, 2013
As the network grows moment by moment, LinkedIn's rich trove of information also grows more detailed and more comprehensive.

In fact, the imperative to think big is literally written all over their walls - on white boards plastered with colour-coded Post-it notes and others covered in diagrams and numbers and then others with sketches of dinosaurs and Hello Kitty.

Barrile said one big target is the recruiter on the go. Like every other tech company, the growth opportunity in the mobile market is considered exponential. Smartphones and tablets now account for about 30 per cent of visits to LinkedIn, but the company expects that share to only grow.

This trend has forced Barrile and his team to learn how to tailor recruiting products for smaller screens and thumb typing.

"What we're learning is that they're in response mode - they're not in proactive mode," he said.

In other words, they likely want to be alerted to a new message from an applicant or forward a profile along to a colleague, but they're not likely to conduct a long, detailed search for a candidate while travelling on public transport.

In May, LinkedIn announced a new mobile application called CheckIn that is meant to be used at career fairs. Instead of collecting resumes at these events, recruiters can have candidates enter their names and email addresses into the app. It will instantly add that person to the recruiter's LinkedIn dashboard, even if the prospect doesn't have a LinkedIn profile.

CheckIn was devised to solve a problem faced by LinkedIn's own talent acquisition team: They were burdened by the stacks of paper resumes at campus recruiting events.

"Literally you have to divide it up to make sure you can physically get it home so you're not over the weight limit with your luggage," said Brendan Browne, LinkedIn's director of global talent acquisition.

Also, once home, it took so much time to log the resumes that sometimes the candidates had already been scooped up by other employers. A paperless system would be much more efficient, and their colleagues on the products team came through with CheckIn.

A lurking challenge for the company is engagement. LinkedIn said in its most recent quarterly earnings filing, "a substantial majority of our members do not visit our website on a monthly basis, and a substantial majority of our page views are generated by a minority of our members".

The company has moved aggressively to move the needle. Last October, it launched Influencers, a series of published content written by business titans, thought leaders and even President Barack Obama.

LinkedIn's home-page traffic has more than doubled compared with last year, an increase it credits in part to the success of the Influencer feature.

Two recent acquisitions also suggest an emphasis on user engagement: In April, LinkedIn purchased Pulse, a news reader for mobile phones; last year, it bought Slideshare, a service for sharing presentations.

 

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