LinkedIn's new recruitment and career development features - first tests

This post was originally posted at LinkedIn, October 13th 2016: A few days ago, October 6th, LinkedIn announced 3 new services for recruiters and job applicants. I started testing the features immediately, and here are the first pictures and analysis.

Some of the new features are available immediately, some are only available for a few global bluechips for now, and even with them the features are only available in the States. LinkedIn never announces exact dates when features come available in Europe or other continents, but quite often there seems to be a roughly 6 month delay after all american users have accessed to the new features.

I've been a bit sceptical about the Careers-page, to me it seems much too static and expensive for anyone but global bluechips to consider. Then again the new-ish Showcase Pages are of great value, and can easily be used to build employer brand or even post jobs totally for free. On top of that, you can use them to attract followers, they are dynamic (means that you can post any kind of new content without having to update the whole page), you can build the content to focus on specific target groups, use different language, promote different business units or branches, and you can promote the updates to target just the right audience. And of course Showcase Pages being free, why bother using a Careers-page?

With the new updates, I'm for the very first time positive about the possibilities a Careers-page could offer. I'm still not saying it's something I'd use, as it's pretty expensive, but it's looking much more attractive than before, and if you've considered using it before, perhaps the new features now turn you into a paying customer. Here's why.

The second coming of Careers-page

I'm sorry, but a static page with a cover picture, a few photos or a video, and a couple of employees vouching for their employer, doesn't convince me! We're living in a world where people want to uderstand the organisation's values, products, customers, attitude towards employees and customers - it's personality. In a world where people google everything and make life-changing decisions based on what people comment on Facebook, you just can't have a stiff feature like the Careers-page. Especially not, if you're a social media yourself.

That's why I love some of the features the new Careers-page and the other 2 new features have to offer.

The new Careers-page focuses significantly on employer branding content. The layout as such is very different to the old version, and it puts more weight on multimedia - which is great!

The content at a company profile is now divided into 3 "categories"; Overview, Jobs, and Life.

Overview is what the company description used to be. Added with Recent Updates, a new Company Photos section, information about how you're connected to the company, and a new stats field called "Explore company life".

The Jobs-section collects all job adverts a company has posted to the actual Jobs-page (topbar), so there's not much novelty here. The biggest change is how the jobs are displayed, and the new order presents you first the jobs matching your skills (apparently compared to the Skills & Expertise section), and only then other jobs a company has posted to LinkedIn.

So the next time someone gives you an endorsement, consider twice if it's a real skill or not, before adding it into your profile. Same goes when giving endorsements. Consider carefully whether the person has the skill or not, as it directly effects what kind of jobs a person is being linked to.

The "Life" section is cool! This is what the page should have been all about all along.

Notice the "Discover IBM:" text under the Overview tab? This is a great new feature, it allows content to be tailored to different regions / countries / languages, thus being especially interesting to multi-regionally or globally operating organisations. How in fact is the content created and focused on different regions is still a mystery until I get my hands on the feature myself, but so far only a handful of global bluechips have got this feature, so not too much information available yet...

Finally we can also link external blogs and websites to the Careers-page with relevant pictures and blurbs / summaries. Another very positive little addition. Also the "Company photos" section right below the blog link looks great. Whether the photos have been specifically uploaded to this section or collected from individual status updates, is another mystery that I'm working on solving. Could the photos be linked here from Instagram, Flickr, or somewhere else in the future? An interesting thought...

By far the most interesting of these small additions in my mind is the "Employee perspectives" section. Even if I think it's great, I also think it's potentially dangerous.

The Employee perspectives section's content is collected from LinkedIn Pulse. To be exact, from company employees' blog posts. And as far as I've understood this feature, these posts are brought here automatically, so you don't have an option to choose whose content and which posts are brought here. And employees don't have a chance to opt-out. So anyone claiming to work for the company has a possibility to write posts that end up here... Tricky! Potentially even dangerous. But great, if you forget this potential risk for a second.

I mean, employees are the honeypot for new customers and for more and better job applicants. Sometimes it's hard to make them understand that they shouldrepresent and they DO represent the company even if they don't want to - they are the face and voice of the organisation towards their personal networks. Their skills and expertise as well as personal status updates - no matter what they are saying - can be seen as representation of the company, it's skills, services, and even values. (I'd suggest you start running internal social media workshops and training right now!)

There's no better way to build employer brand than to put a lot of effort on employee satisfaction and internal community building, and then to give them the freedom of speech what comes to their work. Make them your advocates, they are significantly more trustworthy than the company itself. not to talk about the reach they have compared to the company.

"Cultural insights" is another nice new feature, collecting data from employees' profiles and presenting statistics like "Languages we speak", "Causes our employees care about", and "Organizations our employees support". This gives a whole new meaning to the "Volunteer experience..." fields in personal profiles!

Let recruiters know you’re open…

Personal profiles have got 2 new features as well. The first one here is a feature with which you can announce that you're quietly looking for new challenges, without your boss or company HR knowing.

At the Jobs-section (topbar) you will find 3 tabs; Discover, My Jobs, and Preferences. The Preferences tab is fairly new, and contains a feature "Get more relevant job recommendations", where you can tell a bit more about your interests, so that LinkedIn can suggest you more relevant job ads. You can list locations, experience level, industries, etc.

In the new version LinkedIn has added a new field on top of the "Get more..." field, called "Let recruiters know you’re open".

You can tell recruiters about your job search with a few criteria, such as job titles, job type, availability, and a short introduction about yourself (300 characters is pretty short). LinkedIn promises that this information is not made available to anyone with your current employer, but of course the feature is easy to go around and all data is available when using an external recruiter or analyst to evaluate employees.

Once you turn the feature on, you access the settings.

Share your full profile…

The third new feature is called "Share your full profile", which you can use when applying for jobs at LinkedIn's Jobs section.

There are normally 2 options available for a recruiter to choose how they want to receive applications; "Apply" and "Apply on company website". "Apply" enables applicants to apply directly within LinkedIn, using their LinkedIn profile and nothing else, if they don't want to add resume, cover letter, pain letter, or other attachments to their application. So it's a really straight way to apply, just 2 clicks of a button and that's it.

"Apply on company website" is just what is says, it directs applicants to leave their application to an external ATS or a signup page to the company career portal.

With the "Apply on company website" option the applicant can now also send their LinkedIn profile in addition to applying at the website with traditional means. Actually, this new option is not even available when the job ad contains the "Apply" feature, as it's just about the same process.

But the main point being, that the applicant can now now decide whether the LinkedIn profile is used in the process or not, and that's a nice touch! After all, most people have public recommendations in their profiles, and endorsements, even if they don't mean much.

And that's not all, folks

LinkedIn is notorious for pushing out new features one after another, and in many cases by surprise and without much prior notice. Features come and go, and it's sometimes hard to understand the reasoning for all the changes, and for a LinkedIn trainer like myself, it's pretty damn annoying to try to guess what may lie ahead and when all the new features come available in each region. And even within regions, people get new features at different times.

So be prepared, new features will roll out frequently. Just now while preparing this post, I noticed changes in one of my LinkedIn profiles. Yes, you read it right, I have several LinkedIn profiles. Why? Main reason being that I have many premium services in use and you can only have one running in a profile at a time.

It seems like Learning is now part of the topbar (when you have a Premium account that allows you to use Learning), and the new ProFinder service is made available at the Interests-section as "Freelance Marketplace".

For non-U.S. users: ProFinder is a new way to manage public tenders, freelance work, and to buy and sell subcontracting services within LinkedIn. ProFinder has just become publicly available in the U.S., expecting it to other regions (early) 2017. If you want to know more about ProFinder, you may want to check out my earlier blog post "LinkedIn ProFinder - the first 2 months".

Right now I'm eagerly waiting access to the new mobile apps LinkedIn Referrals, Elevate, and hoping to see the LinkedIn video app "Record" to come publicly available. And who knows what other new features and apps LinkedIn is planning to announce and when... They sure keep me guessing!

NOTE: Some of this information has been outdated, LinkedIn has announced new information about the Careers-page, Life-section and how photos, blog posts, and targeted content is produced and managed.