LinkedIn recently announced that it is getting into the applicant tracking system (ATS) business and plans to release its Talent Hub ATS for small and midsize companies in 2019.
The system pairs with LinkedIn Recruiter, the company’s candidate-sourcing platform. Twenty customers are test-driving Talent Hub; a pilot program begins next year, and the ATS will be globally available in the second half of 2019. It is being marketed to organizations with 1,000 employees or less.
“Not only have we worked to make our products more integrated, we’re completely reimagining the candidate management experience with LinkedIn Talent Hub,” said Sarah-Beth Anders, LinkedIn’s product marketing lead for Talent Hub.
Talent Hub is intended to make it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to collaborate on a single platform, allowing them to manage candidate leads throughout the entire process, sourcing through onboarding, without leaving LinkedIn.
Anders said that disconnected systems and overlapping tools create inefficiencies for many employers and slow down the hiring process, in some cases resulting in lost candidates.
An integrated system will also support collaboration, she said. “One of the biggest complaints we hear from hiring managers is that the hiring team doesn’t have visibility. Hiring managers are often frustrated that they are not part of the process and don’t know the status of their open req. [With Talent Hub], you can share interview feedback, post comments, and even follow the status of offers and background checks.”
The system will also let users take advantage of LinkedIn’s massive dataset to make more-informed hiring decisions. “You’ll be able to tap into our wealth of data to get an accurate sense of the available talent pool and to see how candidates are engaging with your company,” Anders said. “Arming yourself with data can help you set realistic expectations and often leads to stronger hires. What’s more, you’ll see who is already following your company, who’s open to new opportunities, and who is connected with people at your company—all at a glance.”
Shannon Pritchett, the editor of SourceCon, a website and international conference series for sourcers, was impressed with the reverse engineering approach LinkedIn took to construct the system. “Generally, most applicant tracking systems aren’t built around search,” she said, making them frustrating to use for sourcing.
Pritchett, who viewed a demo of the system, explained that once the recruiter opens a new requisition, he or she will immediately receive talent data related to the open job and a list of candidates on LinkedIn that match the job’s requirements. “As soon as the position is live, you are instantly taken to view search results,” Pritchett said. “Naturally, this was my favorite part, and a sourcing dream come true. I can’t recall a time when any sourcer or recruiter has ever uploaded a requisition into their ATS and has had immediate access to a full pipeline of qualified candidates.”
Candidate search results can feature top candidates who have previously applied to your company, candidates currently in the hiring process with the company, and candidates who have signaled that they are open to new opportunities. Filters can show different slates of diverse candidates.
Talent Hub isn’t limited to only candidates on LinkedIn, Anders said. It functions as an ATS with the ability to import candidates from outside of LinkedIn, and while the system is geared toward employers’ doing the majority of their sourcing on LinkedIn, there are plans to integrate with other talent sources and job boards.
Being open to candidate sources is where HR technology veteran George LaRocque, founder and principal analyst at HRWins in New Providence, N.J., sees room for the product to grow. “LinkedIn’s depth in job advertising and candidate profile data allows them to approach hiring workflow and the ATS category from a completely new angle, but a true ATS can’t have just one source—Talent Hub will have to become source-agnostic to be a truly valuable ATS,” he said.
LaRocque, who also viewed a demo, said Talent Hub was impressive, but “everything was based on a closed environment of jobs entered into LinkedIn and candidates found there. LinkedIn is a major source of talent, especially in the market segment Talent Hub is focused on, but it is not the only major source of talent,” he said. “In order to provide real value and insights for customers, they will need to distribute jobs to other competitive sources of talent and accept talent from those same sources.”
LinkedIn already has integrations with 18 ATS partners, including Cornerstone, Greenhouse, Lever and Taleo, through its Recruiter System Connect, which allows users to share important candidate information between LinkedIn Recruiter and various ATSs.
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Microsoft vs. Google
The Talent Hub announcement propels the clash of the tech titans forward, as it follows Google’s 2017 launch of Hire by Google ATS, focused on the same small and midsize companies market.
“Having a large captive audience of small and medium-sized businesses using its G Suite of products; being the leading search engine for everything, including jobs; and providing customers with key hiring workflow features integrated throughout the G Suite is a very similar model to LinkedIn,” LaRocque said.
The battle brewing between Google and Microsoft (LinkedIn’s parent company) will be good for the industry, he added. “We’re sure to see employers benefit, both directly from adopting Talent Hub and by the innovation it is going to spur from new ATS vendors.”