LinkedIn is Building an ATS

Yesterday at its Talent Connect user conference in Anaheim, Calif., LinkedIn announced that it will deliver what it says its customers have long been clamoring for: an applicant-tracking system for mid-market companies.

The new ATS, called TalentHub, is currently in beta with 20 customers and will be made commercially available next year, said John Jersin, vice president of product management for LinkedIn Talent Solutions. TalentHub is designed to make it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to collaborate on a single platform, he said. Recruiters and hiring managers will be able to evaluate candidates together, share notes and extend job offers without leaving LinkedIn, said Jersin.

LinkedIn (which was acquired by Microsoft not long ago) also announced an acquisition of its own: Glint, an employee engagement platform, which LinkedIn acquired for reportedly north of $400 million.

“We’re really excited about this acquisition,” LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner told attendees, adding that LinkedIn itself has been a longtime Glint customer. “This lets us go beyond the anecdotal to help us measure how well we’re actually engaging our employees.”

LinkedIn is also rolling out a new suite of tools and enhancements designed to help companies diversify their workforces. It’s introduced a new “gender tab”  within its Talent Insights tool that will show recruiters the gender breakdown in a given talent pool. If, for example, the pool of qualified candidates for a marketing manager position is 60 percent male and 40 percent female, each page of potential candidates a recruiter scrolls through will reflect that mix. Another new feature will show companies how their job postings are performing among different genders.

The new tools are designed to make it easier for companies that are intent on diversifying their employee base (especially in tech occupations) to find sources of talent in places where they might otherwise not know to look, said Monica Lewis, group product manager and head of jobs and diversity.

“You’ll be able to see which industries have a better gender balance in areas such as C and C++ programming skills,” she said. Rather than being limited to searching by geography, recruiters can see that healthcare, for example, has a greater supply of women with those skills and target their searches accordingly, said Lewis.

During his opening keynote, Weiner told attendees that the current skills shortage “is unlike any I’ve seen–there’s a sense of urgency among companies I’ve spoken with.” Filling the skills gap is leading many organizations to be more open to hiring people from nontraditional backgrounds and turning to apprenticeships to create more skilled workers, he said.

Later on during the conference, recruiting consultant John Vlastelica warned attendees that the biggest obstacle to talent acquisition isn’t lack of supply–it’s often recruiters themselves.

“We end up getting in our own way,” he said.

Vlastelica, founder and managing director of Recruiting Toolbox, said that in the course of his work consulting with hundreds of companies he’s found that many are plagued by “misalignment” between recruiters and hiring managers over questions such as what “good” looks like in a candidate.

“Pedigree carries a lot of weight when you’re evaluating a candidate, even though most of us know that it’s not a great predictor of success,” he said.

Vlastelica recounted horror stories of hiring managers who were convinced that they knew how to spot ideal candidates even though their methods for doing so were often questionable at best.

“I had a hiring manager, a vice president, who truly believed that asking people what animal they felt best described themselves was a great way to identify a top performing salesperson,” he said.

Great hiring teams at companies that consistently lure the best talent distinguish themselves by “building hiring manager capability,” said Vlastelica. At one company, recruiters are asked to rate the hiring manager’s performance after a position is filled, he said. “Now, how great is that?”

Hiring managers who are engaged “get the best talent,” said Vlastelica, while their disengaged counterparts “get the leftovers.”

Talent acquisition leaders also need to decide what their team’s priorities are going to be: speed, quality, consistency? Recruiters cannot do all these things, he said, especially given the resource constraints and high requisition loads so many are burdened with.

“Have a serious conversation with your boss about the kind of organization they say they want versus the one they’re actually funding for,” said Vlastelica.

Andrew R. McIlvaine
Andrew R. McIlvaine is former senior editor with Human Resource Executive®.