LinkedIn is Disrupting the Global Recruiting Market

Posted on February 12th, 2012.


Last week LinkedIn reported amazing financials (stock jumped almost 20% in one day). The company reported 105% YTY growth in quarterly revenues to $167.7 Million, putting the company on a 2012 plan of $860 Million.

But the real story is the huge jump in revenues from LinkedIn’s recruiting services (“Hiring Solutions”). Revenues in this segment grew by 136% to $84.9 Million, making the company the fastest growing public provider of corporate recruiting solutions.

To give you a sense of how dramatic this is:  LinkedIn’s recruiting revenues are now greater than Taleo’s (which was just acquired by Oracle for $1.9 Billion) and within the year could reach the size of Monster.com. Monster’s recruiting revenues were $250 million last quarter and only grew by 2%.

[To better understand the spending and marketplace for talent acquisition, read the Talent Acquisition Factbook®.]

And this growth is just beginning. The company offers a wide range of recruiting solutions now includes:

  • LinkedIn Recruiter (the company’s recruiting platform) gives companies access to the entire database of 150 million professionals to find and seek passive candidates,
  • LinkedIn Job Postings, lets you post jobs and buy highly targeted ads (LinkedIn ads are very intelligent and they promote themselves to LinkedIn users in a very powerful way), and our research shows that they can be much more effective than ads placed on Facebook for professional positions,
  • LinkedIn Employment Branding services now let you build out a career website within the LinkedIn network, to attract candidates, promote jobs to the right people,
  • LinkedIn Talent Pipeline manages your stream of incoming candidates, giving you capabilities similar to a candidate marketing and applicant tracking system.

And there is more to come.

Even though LinkedIn’s original vision was to become a professional social network to bring people together, it has become “the place” for professionals to network, look for jobs, and “be found” by employers.

There are many elements to the recruiting marketplace, including the market for applicant tracking software (Taleo, LumesseKenexa), assessments (SHL, Kenexa, DDI, and hundreds others), recruitment services providers (often called agencies or RPOs), candidate relationship management systems (hot tools like like Jobs2Web), social referral systems (like JobVite), and interviewing tools (hot companies like HireVue). But the hottest part of this market is tools for sourcing.

Sourcing is the difficult and often highly secretive process of “finding the right candidates” – seeking them out, contacting them, getting them interested in your position, and then bringing them into your screening and assessment process. We used to have to hire a contract recruiter (or Korn/Ferry, Heidrick & Struggles, and hundreds more) who has deep skills in locating candidates, vetting their skills, and attracting them to your position.

Now, these companies are all using LinkedIn to replace their own networks, and corporate recruiters are going through an enormous transformation as they learn how to source passive candidates themselves. Not all companies are going to bring this in-house (many are), but no matter where you go, LinkedIn is now the most powerful tool on the web for sourcing (professional candidates).

LinkedIn is not Facebook. This is a company with a very different business model, personality, and focus. While we know that LinkedIn does live and die by the size of its membership, the company is now becoming very focused and educated about the needs of corporate recruiters and talent management professionals.

LinkedIn is disrupting the market for job boards, advertisers, recruitment service firms, and recruitment software companies. Maybe Taleo sold to Oracle at just the right time – the market for recruiting tools is shifting, away from tools for resume management and workflow toward new tools for sourcing, talent analytics, assessment, interview management, and search.

We estimate that the total worldwide recruiting market is over $130 billion in software, services, content, consulting, and staff.  (The Bersin & Associates Talent Acquisition Factbook® has all the numbers.)

LinkedIn has a lot of runway ahead.

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Josh Bersin is Principal and Founder of Bersin by Deloitte, a leading research and advisory services firm in enterprise learning and talent management.

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