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What Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn means for social recruitment

The recent acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft has put social recruitment in the spotlight. The purchase, seen as a means for the software giant to get in on the social media boom, had many speculating what its plans are for LinkedIn.

The acquisition gives Microsoft a business-orientated social networking tool and access to high net worth individuals. Add to this its current applications such as contacts and calendars in the cloud, and it opens the door for it to offer the social business community many more integrated tools.

The partnership may also innovate the business of recruitment. Social recruitment, also referred to as social hiring or social sourcing, is a growing recruitment strategy as it allows recruiters to reach passive candidates. More than 75% of recruiters and employers use social media profiles to reference a candidate and they are increasingly employing social recruitment tools to engage candidates who are not necessarily actively looking to change jobs.

An online profile is a powerful tool for active and inactive job seekers as it allows them to gain wider exposure and increase their chances of being head hunted. LinkedIn is often the first site recruiters use to confirm a person’s professional acumen whereas Facebook is also looked at fairly often as it gives an indication of the person’s character.

What are the benefits of the LinkedIn purchase for the industry?

LinkedIn users’ data can become naturally integrated into Microsoft’s Office products and those apps can then in turn share their data with LinkedIn.

Another integration is that Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana, can give users background information on the people they’re meeting, by accessing the participant’s LinkedIn profiles. This tool can be integrated with email and other communication apps. All the integrations have to be optimised for mobile as many users are accessing their emails from their mobile phones rather than desktop interfaces.

Insights gathered from two recruitment and staffing conferences, Rectech 2016 held in Amsterdam and Apso 2016 that took place locally, reaffirm that South Africa is on par with developed countries in terms of online recruitment and career portals. In fact, in some instances South Africa is ahead on the mobile front just like other emerging markets. This may be due to the high mobile phone penetration rate in emerging economies. In these countries, online career portals aren’t just accessed by job seekers who want to browse for jobs.

The portals enable job seekers to upload their CVs to the site and apply for jobs at the same time via the portal. Job seekers no longer have to open an email app to send their CVs to recruiters or employers.

Mobile is a massive opportunity

Mobile accounts for nearly three-quarters of traffic on local job portals and therefore sites have to offer a satisfactory user experience as job seekers update and embellish their profiles from their mobile phones while on the go.

The latest Ericsson Mobility Report states that smartphone subscriptions continue to increase and that the number will surpass those for basic phone subscriptions during the third quarter of 2016. According to the report, the growth will continue, especially in markets such as Africa and the Middle East, where smartphone subscriptions will increase more than 200% between now and 2021.

What does the future hold for social recruitment? The same report states that video will account for almost 70% of mobile data traffic in 2021. Today’s teens are streaming natives and they are the heaviest users of smartphone data for video streaming apps.

Will the digital natives of today, in other words Generation Z, be looking at video profiles from streaming natives, also known as Generation Y, on LinkedIn in the near future, to get a better understanding of the person they want to hire?

Perhaps LinkedIn will make suggestions, in applications such as email, chat and documents, of professionals that teams can collaborate with on a project in real-time and on demand.

A wait and see approach is necessary to find out what the future holds for LinkedIn and what value users will gain.

Author | Angelique Robbertse

Angelique Robbertse
Angelique is the product and marketing manager for Job Mail, an online career portal that has been connecting job seekers and employers since 1997. Job Mail, part of the Junk Mail Digital Media stable, enables job seekers to create online profiles, upload their CVs and apply for vacancies for... More