LinkedIn’s brand hasn’t exactly been associated with small business employment over the years. The unspoken word for businesses that can’t maintain a robust company page has basically been to come back when you get an applicant tracking system and hire a team of recruiters.
Names like ZipRecruiter, Craigslist, and Facebook are more likely to be top of mind for SMBs these days. However, LinkedIn is hoping to add its name to the list with its recent product announcement.
Last week, the site synonymous with professional networking unveiled Recommended Matches, a service it says is designed to proactively bring quality candidates to small business owners based on the job details and criteria employers provide.
“Now, when you post a job on LinkedIn, these new features will work to deliver a pool of relevant candidates who you can’t find anywhere else,” wrote Monica Lewis, head of product for LinkedIn Jobs. “Our goal is to keep (small businesses) from spending time wading through hundreds of applications — many from job seekers who don’t have the skills or experience (employers are) looking for — and help (companies) find that right talent faster.”
Here’s a breakdown of how Recommended Matches works:
- After a small business posts a job on LinkedIn, they will get access to a series of potential candidate profiles whose skills fit the recently posted job description.
- If interested in the candidate, the employers can send an InMail to the candidate. If the prospect is not a fit, companies can click “not interested” and move on to the next profile card.
- With every message, save, or click, LinkedIn says its AI and machine learning algorithms will learn more about who the organization is interested in to present better matches over time.
“Job boards can be a scattershot approach to hiring,” added Lewis. “With unemployment recently reaching an 18-year low, the pool of out-of-work and dissatisfied candidates is likely to be small. And the job market is proving particularly tight for small businesses. Recommended Matches helps you reach professionals who aren’t actively looking for a new job but are open to opportunities.”
LinkedIn quotes a comScore number from May 2018 that says 57 percent of Internet users in the U.S. did not visit Indeed, Glassdoor, or Monster last month, which it categorizes as top job boards. LinkedIn says most of these candidates are exclusively on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn says there are currently 10 million small businesses that belong to its site. “And while larger companies can take advantage of our full suite of hiring products,” wrote Lewis, “we know that smaller businesses don’t have dedicated recruiting resources, so we’re excited to be taking this next step to meet [their] needs.”
It’s a smart move at the right time. Small business hiring is incredibly tight and remains a largely untapped opportunity for sites like LinkedIn. With competitors like Facebook and Google going after small biz in a big way, LinkedIn has extra incentive in addition to sites like ZipRecruiter doing well. Startups like Uncommon providing similar matching technology turn up the heat as well.
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There’s evidence LinkedIn is putting money behind tackling the SMB market. I heard a radio spot in Indianapolis today touting Recommended Matches, for instance. Additionally, LinkedIn is targeting small business hiring on Google (see image) and even producing content on YouTube highlighting small business hiring.
LinkedIn says companies pay only when candidates view a job post. Advertisers tell LinkedIn their budget, and LinkedIn estimates how many applicants you’ll receive. This pay-per-view model is in line with most pay-for-performance options that currently exist.
For companies that let candidates apply with their LinkedIn profile, use a title from their dropdown, and ensure your company has a company page, LinkedIn guarantees at least 10 applicants on your first post or you get your money back. Playing around with the platform, LinkedIn recommended a budget of $21.42 per day to get 32 applicants in 30 days for a sales job I drafted in Indianapolis.