The world's biggest social networking site designed for business, LinkedIn, has this month launched a new plug-in that allows its users to apply for jobs with the click of a button.
The 'Apply with LinkedIn' feature is aimed at both making the recruitment process easier for businesses and ensuring that those looking for work can instantly send applications to the right recipient. It's a logical step forward for LinkedIn, who have over 110 million registered members, many of whom already use the site as a place to advertise employment vacancies or their personal services.
LinkedIn's new tool makes this process simpler. Instead of users having to search for jobs on the site, find the appropriate email address and send off their CV and covering letter, they can simply click a logo and their LinkedIn profile will be submitted immediately to act as their résumé.
The new plug-in can also be embedded into external sites, and major companies such as Netflix and Photobucket are amongst the first businesses to debut it, according to LinkedIn's Technical Product Manager, Jonathan Seitel. "LinkedIn will also show you your professional connections that work at the company to increase your chances of getting hired through a referral", Seitel added.
Apps like SmartRecruiters already allow Facebook users to apply for jobs with their profiles, but with these more personal accounts often hosting embarassing pictures of drunken nights out it seems unlikely that this idea will take off, as SmartRecruiters themselves suggest.
The new 'Apply with LinkedIn' button is therefore no doubt incredibly useful, bringing a huge database of professional contacts into a more direct reach.
But given the fact that the site was launched back in 2003, it is a little surprising that it has taken this long for such a move to be realised. The news has also received a mixed reception from employers, some of whom have raised concerns about the inevitable spam applications that will have to filtered out.
In terms of the future, there are lots of further developments LinkedIn could make. One possibility could be to improve the next step of the online job application, the interview stage. Some sort of video chat interface might help employers 'meet' applicants, and would offer a cheaper, quicker alternative to traveling to an interview location. It could even be called "LinkedInterview".
It is clear that there is a lot of unexplored territory in the world of social media for employment services. LinkedIn's news this month is a sign this may be about to change, slowly, but surely.
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