LinkedIn and Modern Recruiting (A)

By Kathryn Shaw, Debra Schifrin
2015 | Case No. HR41A | Length 16 pgs.

In 2015, LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, was experiencing explosive growth, and it needed to hire the very best people quickly to support and fuel that growth.  This case discusses LinkedIn’s hiring approach and details how the company used its own online recruiting products, such as LinkedIn Talent Solutions, to attract and retain talent.  At the same time, the company was creating new recruiting models that put it at the forefront of modern recruiting.  LinkedIn had done well so far in bringing in top talent.  Nevertheless, as it rapidly scaled, the challenge was making sure the company could compete with other tech firms to attract enough highly skilled engineers.  The case explains specific techniques that LinkedIn’s recruiting team of over 100 people used to attract talented candidates for positions in engineering, sales, and other departments. Those techniques included: 1) replacing cold calling potential candidates with finding “warm connections” to them through their LinkedIn networks; 2) using a data-driven approach to identify the best candidates to pursue; and 3) developing personalized online relationships with top candidates. LinkedIn made internal hiring a priority.  For external hires, the company focused heavily on recruiting passive candidates—people were who already gainfully employed and not necessarily looking for a new job.

The case also discusses LinkedIn’s employee value proposition, focusing on the extraordinary opportunities employees were given for “transformation” once they joined the LinkedIn team.  These opportunities included personal advancement through a smooth path to change jobs within LinkedIn if they wished, as well as formal and informal programs designed for employees to pursue their passions—and share their experiences. “LinkedIn and Modern Recruiting (B)” goes into more detail about LinkedIn’s data-driven approach, new recruitment innovations, and diversity scorecard. 

Also see HR41(B): LinkedIn and Modern Recruiting (B).

Learning Objective

The objective is for students to evaluate the recruitment techniques of a fast-growing organization and determine the advantages, disadvantages, risks, and potential unintended consequences. Students should also consider which type of company could successfully implement these techniques (and benefit from them), and what the impact on larger workforce issues such as diversity, collaboration, and career advancement might be if this recruiting approach is widely implemented.

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