LinkedIn — the social platform used by 400 million professionals looking to network or find work — has taken a major tumble in the markets in the last few months over weak financial guidance amid slowing growth. So this week, ahead of its next quarterly earnings on April 28, LinkedIn is shoring up in areas where it’s either already strong or banking on growing more.
Today, LinkedIn launched a vastly overhauled new version of its Recruiter platform, the interface and paid product used by those who mine the company’s database to fill jobs, which makes up a large part of Talent Solutions, LinkedIn’s biggest revenue stream. (The main product is sold on a license basis, with the average price starting at around $8,000 per user annually, the company tells me.)
The new version — first previewed in October last year — includes a new interface and other enhancements, but perhaps most notable is the fact that it will now feature smart search and suggestions of similar candidates. As part of LinkedIn’s artillery of services to woo more paying users (even as prices for those services continue to rise), Recruiter is now being offered as a free upgrade to about 80% of the 41,000 people who already subscribe to Recruiter globally (with the rest to come soon).
LinkedIn appears to have slowed down on its acquisition rush to build out its wider capabilities — it’s been a year now since the acquisition of Lynda for $1.5 billion — but it’s still trying to show investors that growth and diversification are coming. Just yesterday, the company launched its newest mobile app, LinkedIn Students, to capture more younger, university-aged users with a Tinder-like swiped interface that offers a low-pressure LinkedIn experience of some career and leadership essays, a few suggested jobs and tips on improving your profile.
This is the company’s latest attempt to court younger users, which make up only around 22 percent of LinkedIn’s total user base, according to Pew. The Students app arrived at the same time that LinkedIn sunset most of its Student portal, which was initially launched in 2013 and included lowering the minimum age for using the network to 14, along with college-finding tools and job tips, but clearly wasn’t getting enough interest or traction to keep updating it.
Turning back to services that are more established and already bringing in lots of sales, the new Recruiter platform is about bring new users and continuing to attract existing ones to a platform that has not been updated to any significant extent since 2013 — a very long time, considering the many startups that have sprouted up hoping to muscle in on LinkedIn’s stronghold on this market, banked on its own database of hundreds of millions of professionals.
To link up with the company’s wider push to infuse the platform with more intelligence and predictive actions, the company is adding in a new search feature to suggest different job categories, locations, and skills, to better link up what you are looking for with what is in LinkedIn’s database:
The other area that is interesting, and resonant of a once-competing service called Connectifier that LinkedIn has now acquired, is that LinkedIn now gives you the option of looking for candidates across a wider pool by letting you find potential people who share similar profile characteristics with people who you have already rated and decided are good (possibly even existing employees).
(And in case you were wondering, LinkedIn tells me that for now it’s continuing to keep the Connectifier business as a standalone service and is not merging its functionality with that of Recruiter. I don’t expect that to be the case for the long term, though: LinkedIn acquired Connectifier earlier this year, while it started to rebuild Recruiter last year, and possibly even earlier, so may have been a case of being too late to try to turn the ship, so to speak.)
In addition to these two areas, some of the other areas that LinkedIn is also updating include new smart suggestions, which give those who are not Boolean search nerds the ability to choose pre-selected filters, made up of the most common terms, to speed up how you find things, which come up in a column on the left as buttons you can add or remove. After this you can also reorder your prospective hires base on how much they appeal.