Will the “Apply with LinkedIn” tool help you embed new hires?

Professional networking site LinkedIn has this week introduced its new plugin that allows applicants to send their LinkedIn profile direct to the websites of companies looking to recruit.

The company has made the code for the “Apply with LinkedIn” button available to organisations to place on their websites. When applicants click the button, they can edit their existing LinkedIn profile to highlight particular aspects of their experience, or simply submit their existing profile. They also have the option to add a personalised cover letter.

The question is, what will this new feature do for job-seekers, and for companies looking to recruit? It will make it easier for prospective employees to apply for new roles, and will help to automate some of the steps that a cautious applicant would take anyway – such as flagging up contacts already in the applicant’s network who already work at the company.

For companies, it will help to streamline some of the processes that they are likely to be doing already, such as checking applicants’ LinkedIn profiles to see how they use public networking sites, what interests and news feeds they use, and of course to see what connections they may already have within the organisation.

More volume, less detail

However, the downside is that the automated tool’s ease-of-use may encourage more unsuitable applicants to go for positions that they aren’t qualified or suitable for – meaning more work for a company’s recruitment team in sifting through larger volumes of applications.

Furthermore, from the company’s perspective, the plug-in can only show how a candidate’s qualifications and background match the requirement at a relatively superficial level. More to the point no formality or quality checks exist which is where the real recruitment should begin: for example, in identifying the cultural fit of the candidate to the organisation, and how they can contribute to the team, which needs far more specialised skills to identify and establish.

So for job applicants, I’d say that this new development further emphasises the importance of carefully managing and maintaining their personal profiles on LinkedIn and other networking sites. But remember, those profiles are just the starting point, the first hurdle in a recruitment process.

The majority of companies already refer to social and professional media when looking for new talent. However there’s no substitute for real search and speaking to an established network to find the best talent in the market not necessarily on the market.

Getting personal

For companies, it’s important to retain perspective on what the plug-in can do. It can help in further automating applicant tracking, in quickly gathering a number of applicants, and in making the ‘first cut’ on the applicant long-list.

However, it’s only when recruiters start to engage with applicants that the real work can begin: such as establishing whether a candidate will align their objectives with the organisation’s, or if they have the potential to be disruptive.

The key element in engaging the right person for a business, especially at a senior level, is establishing the culture fit and how effectively the person can apply their experience within their new company – an element which can’t yet be done by software.

Adam Shaw is MD of Assured Recruitment, which specialises in permanent and interim recruitment solutions for the telecoms, technology, banking and financial services, and retail/e-commerce sectors.