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How LinkedIn Has Changed the Way You Might Get Your Next Job

Washington Post, August 4
As LinkedIn has increased in popularity, there has been a major shift in the way employers find new workers. Gone are the days of a recruiter simply advertising a job opening and then idly hoping that good candidates will appear. Now, the process of talent acquisition is something of a hunt in which any employee at any time is vulnerable to being poached. According to a 2013 study, 77% of employers are using social networks to recruit, a sharp increase from the 56% who reported doing so in 2011. And among the recruiters using social tools, 94% said they are using LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has also shaken up the job candidate experience for workers. Satisfied employees in high-demand fields are frequently getting unexpected nibbles to gauge their interest in new opportunities. And active job seekers might now face increased competition, as they're often vying with candidates who don't necessarily need a new job. Recruiters say they are especially likely to use LinkedIn to fill mid-level and senior professional positions, precisely the kinds of jobs that are in great abundance here. While a basic LinkedIn membership is free, many employers are paying thousands of dollars a year for a special suite of "talent solutions products" that LinkedIn has built for HR professionals. The most distinctive of these offerings is a tool called Recruiter, which allows users to conduct sophisticated searches of member profiles based on a variety of characteristics.
And while LinkedIn has become recruiters' primary hub for chasing passive talent, it's not the only place they're looking: Facebook, Twitter and niche sites such as GitHub have also become channels for identifying prospective job candidates. What's notable in this is how job-seeking behavior is changing. LinkedIn has determined that 20% of its users are actively seeking new positions, while 20% couldn't be happier in their jobs. The remaining 60% fall into the passive job seeker category. It's this target group that LinkedIn has invested the most effort into attracting, using complex algorithms to predict what the right job will be for each member. About 20,000 clients are using LinkedIn's talent solutions products. As more members and talent professionals familiarize themselves with the tools, some recruiters say LinkedIn risks becoming an environment in which it is harder for their overtures to stand out from those of competitors. And while LinkedIn has increasingly become a search mechanism of choice for recruiters, some solid job candidates might still not be on the network or only have very basic profiles.

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