Today, I read an article titled ‘LinkedIn may be the nerdiest social network — but its strategy is working‘ on Moneycontrol website. The article cited how the number of users (200 million new users in last three years) and revenue of the company has been rising. It also states that the acquisition by Microsoft is a big win. The $10 billion revenue is highlighted as another big win ( it doubled in previous three years).
All of this, put together is considered a success story. But in reality, the analysis should be focused on LinkedIn’s success in achieving its mission and vision. So, let’s examine that.
When I referred the LinkedIn website, I found these two statements.
Is LinkedIn Fulfilling Its Vision?
“Creating economic opportunities” is closely intertwined with the job posting, application and selection process facilitated by the LinkedIn platform. So, I searched for some LinkedIn hiring stats. I found some data from 2015, but that would be irrelevant in 2021 (thanks to drastic shift in industry demands, COVID and LinkedIn’s user growth). LinkedIn’s recent blog post from 2020 on the jobs issue must’ve provided some concrete numbers. But, it doesn’t. The blog post talks about open jobs, skill acquisition, improving virtual interview skills, discovery of hiring managers and other features like ‘hiring’ or ‘open to work’ photo frames. Unlike its 2015 Hiring Statistics Report, the blog post is silent on number of people who made a transition through LinkedIn.
An Estimation Of The Number Of People Hired On LinkedIn
However, I found another data point that could help me find the approximate number of people hired through LinkedIn. The company says that three people are hired every minute on LinkedIn.
That amounts to 24x60x3 =4320 hires per day. Assuming that people get hired during weekends as well, the company would probably be helping 1.6 million people get hired every year. That sounds like an impressive number, but we should not be misled by this data point. We must compare this with the number of people on LinkedIn who are looking for jobs.
As per LinkedIn’s 2015 hiring statistics report, 30% of the workforce is usually hunting for a job.
Let’s assume that the number is the same in 2021 as well. That would amount to 740×0.3= 222 million active job seekers. Even if this number is 100% higher than the actual numbers, around 111 million people on LinkedIn would probably be looking for a job. So, LinkedIn is helping less than 1 percent of the job seekers to land a job. That explains why LinkedIn is going in the direction of empowering job seekers through skills, rather than focusing on ‘getting the job’.
Is LinkedIn Solving For Job Seeker’s Pain Points?
One can’t fully blame LinkedIn for this huge mismatch between demand and supply. The quality of people seeking the job might be poor. Or, the economic scenario in different countries might have led to a job squeeze. However, there are certain aspects of the job posting and job application features on the site that are contributing partly to the low hiring trends.
Let me list a few pain points faced by job seekers in general
- Job seekers don’t know if the recruiter has seen their application
- The job seeker is not aware whether he/she was rejected
- The job seeker does not know why he/she was rejected by the hiring manager
Currently, LinkedIn is not solving for any of these three key pain points. It does a good job telling where an applicant stands with respect to the competition (Top 10% or Top X %). Even the premium users don’t know whether their application was seen or not. Again, several factors might be at play.
Sometimes, more than 1000 people apply for a single job posting. In such cases, it is impractical for the hiring manager to go through and analyse all these applications. No matter what the situation is, the job seeker must get closure. LinkedIn must solve the first pain point and then look into the other two problems.
Is LinkedIn Fulfilling Its Vision?
Now let’s look at LinkedIn’s mission. “Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” Of course, the ‘Daily Rundown’ offers some useful Gyan. ‘People you may know’ feature helps me connect with colleagues and college mates. And the job/ work related content created by LinkedIn is useful. LinkedIn Learning has good content that can help professionals acquire skills. But all of that is accessible to premium users only.
The LinkedIn timeline, probably the most important and frequently used feature on the platform, is seriously messed up. I rarely see any content relevant to my job on my timeline. You can blame me for connecting with wrong people or being in the wrong industry. But, this pain point remains. I have no clue as to how I can leverage LinkedIn to be ‘more productive and successful.’
Even the so called thought leaders often share vague Gyan or personal updates on their LinkedIn profiles. I just scrolled by feed and found a post about how a sales VP found inspiration from a poor 70 year old lady who sold candies outside a hotel. The post might be written out of real empathy or inspiration. But how does that improve my professional life? This could have been a Tweet or Facebook post. The bottomline is, content on LinkedIn is moving farther away from the intended ‘mission’.
There is huge scope for improving ‘People you may know’ feature as well. Rather than suggesting folks from my company or college, LinkedIn can connect me with companies that are hiring. The user can be given more agency in filtering out potential people with whom he/she can network with. This feature should be closely tied to the ‘get hired’ vision of LinkedIn.
In my opinion, LinkedIn is not making drastic progress towards achieving its vision and mission. It might be acquiring customers, increasing revenue and growing. But it is turning out to be a typical social media platform that is focused on content, advertisements and eye-catching chatter.