The “Apply with LinkedIn” Button – End of the World?

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When I read the announcement last night by Gigaom about LinkedIn’s new Apply with LinkedIn button my first thought was “oh dear what are they doing now?”. My next thought was “how will this integrate with eRecruitment systems to the point that the profile information can be parsed into the appropriate fields in the system?”

As taxing as it was I had a further think. eRecruitment systems rely for the most part on applications from people and the submission of CVs which are then stored within a ring-fenced environment to be acted upon or searched upon at a later date. There is a fundamental problem that has caused anguish to candidates, software vendors and users of these solutions for as long as they have existed. They are cumbersome to use; typically the design by the user rather than the software vendor is at fault; they require the candidate to upload a new CV every now and again and they require the employer to store surplus data, which then in turn means compliance with various regulations related to Data Privacy and Protection legislation.

However if we dispensed with CVs altogether (not likely to happen but history is full of improbables realised) and just used LinkedIn (or as the BBC might say “other platforms are available”, but for the sake of this post I will refer to them all as LinkedIn) profiles as our career resume then all that needs to transfer between LinkedIn and the employers systems is a stub/pointer.

The impact points I see are

  • Candidates will have one accurate profile to maintain that is available to all
  • It will possibly reduce the instances of fraudulent CV claims
  • It will vastly reduce (not likely to eliminate) the number and unilateral dependence on CV’s
  • LinkedIn profiles will become more robust and dependable
  • eRecruitment systems will become challenged to offer something new rather than just a rework of the same old technology processes that have been around for 20 years
  • The profiles can be linked to different talent groups within companies and tracked and communicated with accordingly
  • Arguably it could signal the end of the eRecruitment systems, as we know them (or completely?)
  • It will definitely hit the agencies hard – let’s face it if there is one group of beings who love to think Candidate Ownership it is them. (I’m smirking already!)
  • No more mass storage requirements for employers to manage
  • Job boards are likely to have to adapt to the openness or their relevance and value is likely to fall away. Only the nimble will survive
  • This concept married with the Recruiter Tool get closer to a total solution for employer and candidate

I see so many advantages for this in the corporate space that I am excited by the possibilities.

On the down side it could encourage and increase in the number of applications received by a company. A problem scenario for already swamped recruiting teams. In the announcement made last night it claims that LinkedIn will provide some pre-screening questions to enable on-line filtering – they are never likely to be as robust as the specific filtering questions required by companies, when you consider the questions needed to be asked of applicants in the Financial Services, Pharma and Security spaces and you get the picture. One possible answer to this would be full integration with the eRecruitment systems to ensure that when the application is made using the button the eRecruitment system filtering then takes over.

Another issue is the question about the LinkedIn platform and its overall identity. LinkedIn is moving further and further away from a networking platform to a job hunting or candidate sourcing platform – dare I call it a career board. Is this a bad thing though? It’s flexibility as a networking platform is restricted by is linear structure and the controls it imposes and let’s face it, it knows what it has in terms of potential candidate data so why would it want to be anything else?

I am haven’t been a big fan of not using CVs but I can see and embrace the logic behind it. I know that it will take a while for many of the hiring managers embedded in traditional ways of doing things to adjust. It will also take companies a while to adopt and trust the profiles, it is change and a challenge to tradition after all. Also don’t forget that there be a huge challenge to the regulatory compliance people who are so intransigent and even resistant to change at this level.

All this aside I am in favour of doing away with the dependence on a CV and the assumption that one is needed and using LinkedIn (or similar) profiles in their place (so long as candidates recognise that they have to provide the data in the profile in the first place.

So after writing that little lot and having had a chat with LinkedIn today I can confirm that this is all speculation. Nothing has been announced or confirmed by LinkedIn …………yet!


  1. Thought-provoking post Gary. In my humble opinion, I believe that regardless of stating categorically whether this is a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ move, I believe that it is the way things are going – and LinkedIn, as a business, is simply moving to recognise that.

    It seems standard practice for many potential employers and recruiters to look at a potential candidate’s LinkedIn profile. From a job-seeker’s perspective, it also offers the benefit of being able to place recommendations, PDFs, SlideShare presentations etc. in front of consumers.

    The world, and indeed digital platforms, are becoming ever-more ‘social’ – and LinkedIn allows potential employers to see this, whether it’s through authentic peer recommendations on a profile, or to see a member’s ‘influence’ / comments in a group.

    I believe that it’s a great move from LinkedIn – but then I’m on one side of the fence. Recruiters may have a different view entirely!

    • Good comments there Cal. Love it or Hate it, LinkedIn is likely to be around for quite some time and as it has done from the start, change the way people look for work and the ease with which companies can search for and connect with potential applicants/job seekers.

    • Helen Buzdugan (Careers Service)
    • June 3rd, 2011

    A very interesting development indeed. Great post Gary, and thanks for sharing your thoughts from a recruiter’s perspective. As a university careers consultant, I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn, and regularly deliver training to colleagues and students on its use, but there is one more thing that concerns me slightly. As careers professionals, we always emphasise the importance of students tailoring their CVs to the employer in question. If students are applying for a few diverse opportunities a “one size fits all” LinkedIn profile may be less effective. Anyway, it’ll certainly be interesting to see how all this pans out!

  2. Great thoughts Gary and even if it is just speculation then it has certainly provoked some interesting discussions. I echo your sentiments on hopelessly outdated e-recruitment systems. At very least I would hope that this kind of move by LinkedIn might wake them up from their arrogant stupor and make them realise the infrastructure of the web has fundamentally changed for good

  3. Definitely an interesting addition to job pages if it’s true. However I think a lot of people tend to update their LinkedIn profile as often as they update their CV, in some cases only updating their LinkedIn profile, AFTER they have already found their new job to reflect the change in position/employer.

    Another potential downside would be that it wouldn’t allow candidates to tailor their CV for certain positions, a quick example would be myself – if I was applying for a UX role the focus of my CV would be my design experience, whereas if I was applying for a development role I would tailor my CV to focus on my coding experience.

    That being said, a very strong and up to date LinkedIn Profile backed with quality recommendations, would impress much more than a standard 3-4 page Word Document!

  4. Another great post Gary!
    One comment I don’t fully understand is “the end of eRecruitment systems”.
    The LinkedIn Apply button could indeed replace the front-end part of an ATS. However the bigger part in an eRecruitment solution is the back-end and how it handles the process before and after the candidate applies.
    LinkedIn is not replacing this… yet.

  5. “As careers professionals, we always emphasise (sic) the importance of students tailoring their CVs to the employer in question.” As stated by Helen above, this Linkedin approach runs counter to recent resume submission developments to tailor your resume to closely match the needs of the employer. Further, a “one size fits all” neglects the importance of including employer centered keywords to score as high as possible in computer matching systems.

  6. Interesting post. I think that recruiters will soon drop’apply by LinkedIn’ once they receive 100’s of cv’s from unqualified candidates. It will make the screening process much tougher.

  7. I’m going to give it Apply with LinkedIn a try. Maybe there is a way to extract level of experience or other “clever” data so you can you some filtering and and flagging potential spam. The applicants contact details and whereabouts are more interesting longterm.

  1. June 3rd, 2011
  2. May 6th, 2013

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