Earlier today, LinkedIn announced several updates to their Recruiter and Professional Services products. Here’s a brief rundown of the updates for those of you who have access to these tools.
1) LinkedIn Insights was first described by Wade Burgess on the main stage at LinkedIn Talent Connect in October of 2014. It will help users understand the talent that is available for a specific candidate profile based on search parameters provided by the user. If one receives a new job order or requisition and wants to know how many candidates actually exist that fit the profile before committing to a time frame with the hiring manager, this tool will help. If the candidate pool is too small, users can change parameters to broaden the search. For years, savvy talent acquisition professionals have been doing this manually and using the information to influence hiring managers. LinkedIn Insights will simplify the process and provide recruiters with visual aids to help them with hiring manager discussions.
2) Personalized Search refers to a new search interface that allows users to more easily select the filters they use most often.
3) Perhaps the most interesting of the three updates is what LinkedIn is referring to as the Search Relevance Enhancements (available today). With the search relevance enhancements, LinkedIn will start to do more of the thinking for you.
In LinkedIn’s words:
Here’s how it works: Let’s say you search for a “Product Manager” in “94101” (downtown San Francisco) for your company, Company ABC. Search will identify all the LinkedIn members who meet 100% of your search criteria. Then it will prioritize your search results the same way it always has – based on how well each member fits your search criteria, using things like the prevalence of “Product Manager” on their profile and how close they are to downtown San Francisco.
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If search determines that the prioritization of your search results can be improved upon, it activates the new relevance enhancements. It places members higher in your search results if they’ve shown interest in your company or industry – either by following Company ABC’s Company Page, or a related company’s Company Page, or subscribing to relevant Pulse channels – or have skills, former employers, or education in common with product managers at your company or related companies. The relevance enhancements never exclude or remove members who would otherwise have appeared in your search results based on your search criteria; it merely re-orders them.
I typically get annoyed when search engines try to think for me. I’m of the opinion that most advanced searchers are better served with a search engine that doesn’t do all of the thinking for the searcher. I asked a LinkedIn representative if it would be possible to turn this feature off and he indicated that it could not be disabled. He went on to say, “Regarding your opinion on machine learning and semantic search, our machine learning techniques won’t hinder advanced searchers because search results are first and foremost based on the search criteria.” Another LinkedIn representative confirmed that LinkedIn Recruiter accounts are still using the Lucene search architecture while personal accounts are using the new Galene search architecture.
With all of this in mind, what should practitioners do to ensure they’ve exhausted the available talent pool in LinkedIn? I recommend sourcers and recruiters search from within LinkedIn Recruiter, then personal LinkedIn accounts, and then finish with a search of LinkedIn from Google or Bing. All three of these methods will provide different results so it’s a great way to uncover all of the candidates available for a particular set of criteria.