For an online tool that just celebrated its 10-year anniversary, LinkedIn has come a long way fast. The good news is it is not slowing down. Reid Hoffman (the founder) and his team continue to push the professional social-media networking site to be as relevant as possible in today’s constantly changing business world.
The traditional recruiting industry has already been disrupted by a process that is proving to be even more effective. Writing in the current cover story for Fortune, Jesse Hempel describes the dynamic and cites the example of Citigroup (“Everything You Need to Know about LinkedIn” July 1, 2013, pp. 68–74):
“Companies are becoming more strategic about the ways LinkedIn can help them connect to employees, potential job candidates, and the professional community at large. . . . A year ago [Citigroup] partnered with LinkedIn to launch a women’s network called Connect on the LinkedIn platform. . . . Citi has seen impressive results from its LinkedIn partnership. So far, 120,000 people have joined the group.” (p. 73)
I happen to think LinkedIn is going in the right direction and for all the right reasons. Stop and consider the site now has 225 million members. Out of the Fortune 100 companies, 88 use the site’s recruiting software to find and track potential job candidates. Hempel explains:
“When everyone with a job—from a corporate salesman to a nurse practitioner to a construction manager to a fisherman—is connected and able to use those connections, then LinkedIn will provide a real-time measure of where jobs exist, where customers aren’t being served, and where people need training.” (p. 72)
The potential for exponentially enhanced collaboration and synergy is overwhelming to me. This is why I completely agree with Hempel’s assessment:
“LinkedIn has built a tool that allows it to push beyond recruiting into other business services such as sales, publishing, and technical training. In fact, it’s hard to overstate the potential power here: As it reaches critical mass, LinkedIn is becoming the dominant global forum for businesses of all kinds.” (p. 70)
Finally, in the words of Hoffman:
“‘If everyone in the country understood how to use LinkedIn, it would raise the GDP.’” (p. 71)
If you are a serious company, and you are not already using LinkedIn as an integral part of your talent management and how you do business, then I encourage you to start doing so today. If you are a serious professional, and you are not already using LinkedIn as an integral part of your career planning and how you manage your professional persona, then I encourage you to start doing so today. LinkedIn has a lasting luster, and that is good for everyone who chooses to be involved.