A few weeks back I posed the question“What is a job board?”. In the process of trying to answer that question, I mentioned LinkedIn as a prime example of something thatlooks like a job board, acts like a job board, butclaims not to be a job board. The folks at LinkedIn aren’t stupid – they know that job boards are out of fashion with the recruiting and HR pundits. They also know that by creating their own category(i.e., LinkedIn), they don’t have to compete with other potential rivals for precious recruiting dollars. So a tip of the hat to their marketing team – they’ve done a fine job of selling the site.
But…I promise that if you put more than two job board operators in a room and give them a few seconds (and perhaps a few beers) to chat, the subject of LinkedIn as a competitive threat will come up. Along with LinkedIn’s marketing team, job board operators are not stupid – they recognize a competitor when they see one. Based on my own surveys of HR and recruiting professionals, we know that almost all (99%) companies are using LinkedIn in some fashion. The ‘use’ may range from an occasional glance through profiles to see if any likely job candidates are around, to daily or even hourly use of the recruiting search tools and job posting products. If companies are using LinkedIn to find job candidates, then LinkedIn is competing with job boards. Period.
Ok. So LinkedIn is a competitor. Are they actually a threat? Do they havefeatures or advantages that make them more fearsome that the run-of-the-mill (or even out of the ordinary) job board? Well…yes. To wit:
So if you’re a job board, the above-mentioned threats are certainly real enough. LinkedIn is a well-heeled ‘we’re-not-a-job-board’, with high name recognition and reach. What are you gonna do?
Yep, LinkedIn is a competitor – one with deep pockets, lots of reach, and some market forces on its side. Sounds a bit like Monster a few years back, doesn’t it?