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SEEK eats LinkedIn for Breakfast

By August 23, 20122 Comments

Quick one this week.  As you read this I should be well on my way to the mountain to show my kids snow for the first time.  Hopefully there’s a spare carrot somewhere in Ohakune for the snowman’s nose.

It was good to see a number of you at the LinkedIn breakfast in Auckland yesterday, although perhaps not as many I would have expected for something so relevant to our industry, did everyone get an invite I wonder?  Great venue, I must say, please take note RCSA with your baffling insistence on hosting events at the Rendezvous.

Anyway, it all followed an expected pattern.  Polite chit chat over salty eggs benedict suffering from exposure in between sideways glances at the competition.  A well-delivered presentation from some LinkedIn bloke covering the basics of LinkedIn with 10 tips on how to maximise the effectiveness of the free stuff their site offers (my favourite one being the Outlook Social Connector which sounds well worth checking out).  Then having fed us, watered us, and delivered some freebie content to make us feel partially sated, none could begrudge them the real reason for their visit to NZ which was, of course, to punt their expensive premium products LinkedIn Corporate Solutions to us.

I have to say I really liked the look of LinkedIn Recruiter which is their Big Daddy of premium products and enables you to send unlimited InMails, set up search groups, with alerts when people change jobs.  I particularly liked the “Similar Profiles” tool where you can look at the person who has created a vacancy in a company and plunge into a cauldron of clever algorithms to produce a list of other people out there closely matching that profile in terms of skills, education, years experience etc.  Perfect for New Zealand where nepotism reigns supreme and more often than not a hiring manager will regard the best person for the job being the one most similar to themselves.

It did make me wonder whether New Zealand is a big enough market to warrant such a product though?  I would bet I’m a 1st or 2nd level connection to every recruiter in New Zealand already, so I can see you all on there anyway.  The “kiwis abroad” idea by searching on which Universities overseas professionals attended is useful but again, we have already done that for free.  Search LinkedIn for “recruitment” and “Otago” and you’ll find a long list of kiwi recruiters in London that were once a scarfy.

As for the other products on display they just seem like another job board really.  Claims of pushing ads in front of the right people are wide of the mark.  I’ve trialled a LinkedIn job ad and got a load of rubbish applying, barely relevant, and from all over the world.  What’s that you say?  Just like a SEEK ad response you say?  Well that might be how it seems, but then how is it that SEEK announced this week that they have posted record sales and profit for the third consecutive year?  And how about this press release aired on Shortlist earlier this week:

“Bassat claimed SEEK’s own research indicated that less than 1% of placements reported by recruiters could be attributed to social media platforms, “despite the time and effort expended”.

He said while SEEK took LinkedIn seriously as a competitor, it had so far had a “very limited” impact on SEEK’s jobseeker traffic or job ad volumes.

“LinkedIn’s core database product still feels complementary to job ads despite clear intent from LinkedIn to move in [the] job ads direction,” Bassat said.”

Clearly SEEK want to exist in perfect harmony alongside LinkedIn, but recognising their moves into the job board market have fired a surprisingly mild-mannered shot across their bows.  I doubt it will deter LinkedIn one iota, but SEEK remain undisputedly at the fore when it comes to attracting jobseekers via job boards (hey TradeMe Jobs I’m talking across both NZ and Aus!)  My tip to LinkedIn would be to push harder on the LinkedIn Recruiter type offerings rather than job ads.  Making a placement via a detailed and targeted LinkedIn search is a million times more satisfying than what really amounts to luck when you happen to have the right person apply to the right SEEK ad at the right time.

LinkedIn, when used in a proper, targeted and non-spammy way (you know who you are), is the future of recruitment.  SEEK is probably not, in its current form, but for now seems to still be reigning supreme.

Jonathan Rice

Director of New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice & Co, co-founder of freelance recruiter platform JOYN, and people-centric technology firm superHUMAN Software. Recruitment innovator, agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • George Smith3636 says:

    Only for roles that are professional white collar , the bulk recruiter won’t use it, and the bulk recruiters probably advertise the most – Seek is pretty safe

  • Kevin says:

    Yes, and at the cost they are promoting, I think it will be a long time coming!  The power of LinkedIn is the free-flow searching capability of key word searches and the way we can passively trawl through those who come up.  LinkedIn’s intent is great – they just need to get the product and price right.