In the last 8 or so years we have seen a lot of disruption in the recruitment industry. The traditional advertising channels like job boards and newspapers have become increasingly under pressure and for good reason. Now the new disruptive competitors in the recruitment industry are taking their corners in what should be an interesting duel.


LinkedIn has proved to be a hugely positive disruptive force in the recruitment industry. First LinkedIn created its most important tool, a professional social network. This acquired the huge network of users LinkedIn needed to succeed. Then company profiles and social updates became increasingly important along with employees profiles and job adverts. Now we have LinkedIn Referrals and LinkedIn Elevate to go with the publishing side of LinkedIn called Pulse.

Part of the success of LinkedIn has been the fact that employers can reach active and passive talent. The below graphic shows the active/passive theory LinkedIn uses, 79% is largely passive with 15% of these being being tiptoers and only 21% actively job searching. LinkedIn's USP is that by using their platform you are able to attract the approachable talent pool where these candidate do not regularly visit job boards.



In recent years we have seen the rise of Indeed, an extremely popular job board. Indeed saw the opportunity in the recruitment industry to create a new idea of job board. This new idea would see one job board advertise almost every job in the regions they operate. Indeed have some seriously smart tech that crawls the internet, finds job listing and automatically adds them to their site. This was a big change for the recruitment industry as previously you had to pay for the privilege of having your jobs listed.

The ability to list almost every job that exists has made Indeed very popular with job seekers and helped Indeed's website see 140 million unique visitors per month in 2014.

More recently Indeed's Kevin Walker ,Director of Employees Insights, released a video attempting to dispel the much used 80/20 passive/active theory.

 Kevin makes some great points about inbound and outbound candidates and I love this as these are marketing theories. If you have read any of my other posts you will know I believe recruiters need to become hybrid marketers.

Kevin puts forward the theory that from their research 80% of candidates are actually active. Of course, he does not mention it is LinkedIn that champions the reverse theory but it is not hard to guess who Indeed are going after.

As usual with these type of statistics I am sure there is a slight amount of poetic licence used. Don't get me wrong, I don't think either Indeed or LinkedIn would publish doctored or fake figures but their stats would be greatly effected by their definition of active/passive candidates and the questions that are asked in surveys or the data points they use. To be honest, I doubt that 80% of the people in the UK or any other job market are actively searching and applying for jobs!

So how do you choose which you use?

To decide which channels you use means you have to cut through the noise and find out where your desired candidates are. Here are a few pointers:-


  • Good for professional disciplines where people see benefit in promoting their personal brand through social media
  • As a professional social network they have both passive and active candidates making it very effective for pro-active resourcing in talent sparse industries and disciplines
  • You can promote your employer brand to both passive and active candidates increasing your future talent pool


  • With 140 million active users per month you can have your job seen by a HUGE audience
  • Job adverts are free and you can promote your adverts using pay per click style advertising meaning you only pay for how many people click on you advert
  • Indeed offers job alerts, by having your jobs on Indeed candidates that want to work for your can be automatically updated with your new jobs

Both offer easy apply functions such as Indeed Apply and Apply with LinkedIn. Bothe also offer excellent industry intelligence reports.

One way to decide the recruitment channels you use is to ask your employees which they would use. If most of your employees use job boards and are not on social media then consider Indeed but be aware that if you have a talent shortage in your industry then LinkedIn might be the best choice. In a lot of cases you might find there is a good argument for using both job boards and LinkedIn. The main differentiator is that LinkedIn offers the ability to promote your talent brand to passive and approachable candidates who would not regularly visit job boards.

It is not likely that either LinkedIn or Indeed will win this duel any time in the near future so we can get used to having both of these great recruitment tools about for a long time to come. Its is up to you which you choose.

What are your experiences of using these channels?


Iain Hamilton

I have had the privilege of gaining a diverse array of experience in both in-house FTSE100 and recruitment agency style positions. More recently I launced People Traction. Check out our services here.

Throughout my career I have been passionate about providing a seamless and enjoyable application process and have lead projects to design company websites, careers sites and job boards.

I have been instrumental in creating and delivering global proactive recruitment strategies and training recruitment teams in how to pro-actively resource passive and active talent. The results of delivering a pro-active recruitment strategy have shown significant reduction in time to fill, improved candidate quality and significant cost savings.

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