What’s next for LinkedIn?

Almost two years back on a free afternoon I put together some random thoughts on what could be next for LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has been part of my daily ritual to screen my professional network, read any interesting articles etc. A lot of new features have been added in recent times but there still is a lot of potential to take it to the next level to extend it into an integral part of an organization.

It’s a great collaboration platform for professional community, houses a lot of data about it’s users, their skills, background, history and I would say it has data to predict how the future of tech will look like, the skills needed, the shift happening in professionals minds and how the workplace will transform in times to come. Anyone can extrapolate based on the trends but LinkedIn has the data to prove that hypothesis and that’s what makes it so unique.

The below slide was created almost 2 years back. I shared it with a LinkedIn product management employee via in-mail feature of LinkedIn to test my hypothesis of how effective is in-mail emails and unfortunately didn’t even receive an acknowledge for the message. So, I guess in-mail are really not that effective after all. Sharing it here because this is much better place for this viewpoint than in my personal Google drive.

The left side of the diagram lists the current portfolio, the right side list the art of the possible.

Skills: Many companies have competency measurements unique to their company. There is no scientific mechanism to vet a candidate coming from outside on those competencies except the subjective evaluation by the interviewer. On LinkedIn, one can select their skills and their connections can endorse on a skill however that’s mostly not accurate. There is no standardized evaluation behind it, many times people endorse each other to take and return favors. So, how can LinkedIn take it to the next level? It can create a standardize evaluation method for each skill which will make it 1) More quantitative 2) and bring all the professionals at par in the evaluation system which can be directly consumed by recruiters and hiring managers.

Learning: So there is a wide variety of skills on LinkedIn. They can start offering trainings for each skill and for each competency level. I believe a form of this feature has been released recently. These training can be free of cost, or with minimal subscription for end users per month (aka Netflix) or may be corporate subscription driven (So if I am Microsoft, I get training hosted for Microsoft organization). LinkedIn can have arrangement with training companies like ROI, or Coursera to make these courses available on their platform. Think about how easy it will be up-skill, switch on your TV and start your training.

Jobs: For jobs, imo current available features are not that effective. It’s just acting as a mediator and redirects you to organization’s job site. LinkedIn can start by offering a SaaS platform to manage positions and applicants. Will make it simpler for both applicants and recruiters by having one platform to interact with. If this happens, I as a hiring manager can be given data point on which candidates are more likely to join and a job applicant can be provided insights on how fast an organization can close a position. And there can be more complex analytics that can be drawn from the data.

Company Reviews: It’s very hard to understand the underlying DNA of any organization. Glassdoor and similar sites provide some insight into a company via users review but it has to be taken with a grain of salt since it’s a function of that person’s perspective. Collectively it does give a trend but not always accurate. As it happens with all the self submitted reviews, either the very happy or the very disgruntled provide feedback. LinkedIn has the opportunity and underlying information to provide that transparent and more real feedback for an organization.

Analytics: With massive data comes great analytics ability. I can think of so many ways to slice and dice LinkedIn data. In my wildest imagination, I think I can predict somewhat accurately how the IT business is performing in a particular country by analyzing LinkedIn data. How cool will that be?

I am sure LinkedIn is working on all of these above but doesn’t harm to share this perspective as an end user!