LinkedIn Referrals Set to Close Down Later This Month

If Indeed getting out of the candidate referral business wasn’t enough to convince you that it’s a failed business model, how about LinkedIn? According to the company’s website, LinkedIn Referrals will no longer be available after May 18, 2018.

According to a release, LinkedIn is “always looking for ways to simplify and improve your experience, helping you to be more productive and successful. This sometimes means removing features that aren’t heavily used to invest in others that offer greater value to you.”

Adding a referral feature was part of LinkedIn’s acquisition of Careerify back in 2015. The idea was to use Careerify’s technology to use an employee’s social connections to figure out who in an individual’s network might be suitable for a job opening in that employee’s place of business.

At the time of the acquisition, a Techcrunch writer opined, “The referral software developed by Careerify fits right into LinkedIn’s bigger strategy as a business, which parses and crunches data that people input into their profiles (or is otherwise associated with them) to come up with synergies with other users, potential jobs, and other professional connections.”

LinkedIn Referrals provided LinkedIn users with a way to refer candidates for open jobs via a company’s applicant tracking system. Referring people was enhanced by offering suggestions by matching open jobs to qualified candidates within a user’s first-degree connections. People could also run a search if they already knew what job or candidate they were looking for.

LinkedIn Referrals joins a long line of failed attempts at nailing the referral market, going all the way back to the turn of the millennia, including names like H3, Zubka, YorZ, Jobster, Refer.com, KarmaOne and, mentioned above, Indeed. The business model that looks good on paper, and may actually work in practice, just never seems to stay airborne.

“I thought Careerify had great functionality,” said Mason Wong, recruiting systems and integrations consultant at ZWD. “But, it obviously went unused.”

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LinkedIn recommends if companies have a new employee referral process, that they begin strategizing how they’ll communicate the new process to employees. For those who currently have referrals in the system, LinkedIn recommends getting a list of all current applications by logging into your account, navigating to Applications, and clicking Download applications.

Current customers of the product can continue using it until May 18.

Joel Cheesman

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to Jobing.com. He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.