LinkedIn’s “Apply” button has arrived. Are you cheering or fearing?

by Rich DeMatteo on July 26, 2011 · 11 comments

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LinkedIn’s latest social hiring trick has arrived and whether you like it or not, it’s coming to an employer near you.

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The brand new, “Apply With LinkedIn” button should further LinkedIn’s comfortable position as the top social recruiting and professional networking website. According to a survey completed by Jobvite Inc., 87 percent of U.S. firms use Linkedin as a recruiting tool. While other social giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ can be used as valuable tools to job seekers, but just cannot match up to LinkedIn in this arena.

Career experts, recruiters, bloggers, and HR professionals continuously share stories about the effectiveness and power of LinkedIn. Still, many soon to be graduates and recently graduated folks haven’t heard of, or avoid using LinkedIn. It’s baffling.  I’m baffled.

This new button, which resembles the Twitter “tweet this” or Facebook “like this” button, will be easily integrated into company job descriptions. Job Seekers will need to decide if they’d rather apply through the company website and go through their probably long application process, or click LinkedIn’s button and submit their LinkedIn profile. This answer comes easy to those with a solid LinkedIn profile, a strong network, and a hefty list of recommendations.  Folks without LinkedIn profiles may go as far as creating one after this button pops up more and more in their job hunt.

While this is a humongous move for Linkedin, it’s difficult to say how this will play out for Job Seekers and Recruiters.  There are serious reasons to cheer, and also some to fear.  Before going into those reasons, here’s a quick outline of how the button works.

How does it work?

It’s just so very simple.

For the recruiter/company, once they’ve added a few lines of code from LinkedIn, their new button should be integrated and they are done!  Then all they need to do is sit back and watch as applications pour in.

For job seekers, the process has just a few more steps.  Since each company career site is different, you won’t find the Linkedin “apply” button in the same spot everytime.  This is what it looks like on the NetFlix career site.

Once clicking the “Apply with LinkedIn” button, another screen will surface, showing that user their LinkedIn profile and asking for one more click before submitting to the company.  Here’s a preview from my screen:

Once you’ve gone through this step, there is really just one more thing left to do.  LinkedIn will automatically pull up people that are in your network that work at the company you’re applying to work for.  With a simple click, you can send that person a note, asking them to write you a quick referral for the position.  It’s really that simple, and it is really that cool.

Why I’m Cheering

For Social Savvy job seekers, this is a no brainer.  One of the long standing frustrations for job seekers has been lengthy online application processes, which this easily eliminates.  With a couple clicks (and hopefully a few referrals) your application is off to company.  Many job seekers hate having to put together a resume, but find it somewhat easy to create their LinkedIn profile.  If this becomes a great success, the 87 percent of companies using LinkedIn should increase, and folks won’t have to worry about sending a resume at the first step.  

While many of my friends believe the resume may fully become extinct one day, I don’t believe that day is very soon.  Even after the LinkedIn application is reviewed, I believe many employers will ask candidates to supply a resume, even if just for HR record keeping.

As for the company, this can bring a stadium of cheers for a few reasons.  The first being that resumes are really quite awful to read.  Recruiters today have stacks of them to go through, and it’s really no fun.  With this Linkedin “apply” button, they’ll be able to save applications as PDF’s and choose to print them out if they’d like.  Also, not only is it easy to set up, but it should integrate with their Applicant Tracking Systems easily, and if not, I’m sure it will soon.

Why I’m Fearing

 As my friend Miriam at Keppie Careers says in her post about the “apply” button,  “Easy isn’t always the best approach for job seekers”.  Like Miriam, I believe that this button will create a surge of applications through LinkedIn.  The lengthy application process that job seekers hate so much, may almost serve as a screen in itself.  Being that, if you make it through the 25 minute application process, the company knows you’re very interested in their position.  With this Linkedin button, there isn’t much stopping job seekers from applying to anything and everything they see.

While it may seem like an easy win for job seekers, keep in mind that a busy recruiter means the chance of having your application reviewed has reduced.  If this incredible surge of applications does take place, using LinkedIn references and recommendations will be more important than ever.

If you’re looking to start up, or beef up your Linkedin Profile, check out the “Ultimate Beginners Guide to Linked In” that I wrote!

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