‘Apply with LinkedIn’ Is a Double-Edged Sword

Nov 29, 2012
This article is part of a series called Opinion.
Image from LinkedIn vs. Indeed: The Apply Button Smackdown, ZipRecruiter Blog

Thanks to the Apply with LinkedIn button, 175 million LinkedIn members are just a click away from applying to any job on the network.

But is this good for recruiting?

Fred Wilson, celebrated venture capitalist who invested in Twitter, Zynga and Foursquare, believes it is:

As the world moves from web to mobile, the idea of one click to do something becomes more powerful. So what does this mean for the job seeker? It means you should get your resume on LinkedIn and Indeed. What does it mean for the employer? It means you should put these one-click apply buttons on your job postings.

I’m not convinced.

The advantage of one-click apply is that more passive candidates — recruiters’ most sought-after cohort — respond to job posts. The disadvantage is that more active candidates, eager but often unqualified for the gig, respond because there’s no downside not to. And this is where one-click apply is flawed: It increases the quantity of applications, not the quality.

So how does LinkedIn — and the recruiting industry at large — preserve a frictionless candidate experience while improving the ratio of qualified-to-unqualified applications? By setting limits on the number of job posts job seekers can apply to.

This is not a far-fetched idea. InMail, for example, LinkedIn’s direct messaging service, is capped at five per month between users who are not connected, with a $29.95/month subscription. I think twice before sending InMails. I don’t waste my quota. Likewise, if LinkedIn were to adopt a disincentive for over-application, job seekers would apply judiciously.

Recruiters: If you remove all the barriers to online job applications, the result will be just that. Applications. Lots of them.

This article is part of a series called Opinion.
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