The small business guide to the new 'Apply with LinkedIn' tool

Professional networking site LinkedIn has introduced a new plugin that allows companies to receive applicants' LinkedIn profiles direct to their websites. Adam Shaw, MD of Assured Recruitment explains how the new feature will affect your recruitment process.

The company has made the code for the 'Apply with LinkedIn' button available to organisations to place on their websites. Applicants can then submit their LinkedIn profile wholesale, or edit their existing page to highlight particular aspects of their experience. They also have the option to add a personalised cover letter. 

The question is, what will this new feature do for companies looking to recruit?

Firstly, it's another string to your recruitment bow. The 'Apply with LinkedIn' tool makes it easier for prospective employees to apply for new roles, and help to streamline some of the processes that you are are likely to be doing already, such as checking applicants' LinkedIn profiles.

LinkedIn can be a useful window to see how prospective employees 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.

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 plugin 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:  for example, in identifying the cultural fit of the candidate to the organisation, and how they can contribute to the team.

For companies, it's important to retain perspective on what the plugin 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.

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