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LinkedIn Redux

On June 22, 2016, in HRExaminer, by John Sumser

photo of chess board with combination Linkedin Microsoft logo img via pexels cc0 published on HRExaminer.com June 23, 2016 John Sumser article LinkedIn Redux

Hiring and personnel data are critical bits of competitive intelligence. After being acquired by Microsoft, LinkedIn look’s like a leaky sieve to anyone who either competes with Microsoft or lives in a supply chain that competes with them.

The MSFT-LinkedIn transaction is providing a windfall to smaller competitors in the Silicon Valley ecosystem. In an environment where Microsoft is a critical adversary, no one wants them to have access to hiring plans and strategies. When LinkedIn was a stand-alone player, they got the benefit of the doubt. Now, they look like a leaky sieve to anyone who either competes with Microsoft or lives in a supply chain that competes with them.

That’s most of the valley.

It means something very different when Microsoft is the holder of your employee data than it does when a social media company is handling it.

Hiring and personnel data are critical bits of competitive intelligence. Being able to see the movement of your competitors’ employees and to understand their evolution is one half of the equation. Understanding how that company is rearranging its team through the medium of job postings is the other half.

Knowing both means that your strategy is hung out for everyone to see. Many companies don’t think this is a very good thing.

In hindsight, it’s really surprising that the deal didn’t account for this dynamic. The moment the deal was struck, the phone started ringing off the hook from tech companies who wanted to get off the service as quickly as possible.

It’s breathing some new life into companies that have been facing problems finding the next round of funding. It’s helping some directionless operations find direction.

This doesn’t bode well for the continued viability of LinkedIn. It’s likely to become the business network for people who don’t compete with Microsoft.

Developers have always had a mixed (well, not really mixed, downright negative) view of LinkedIn. Any valuable player faced an avalanche of recruiting spam if they were listed on LinkedIn. They will look like visionaries as the rest of the technical community comes out of the LinkedIn fold.

Then you have the question: what good is a professional network that only has some of the professionals in its membership. In other words, Microsoft is going to have to keep on buying if it wants to have a comprehensive set of MSOffice customers in its new found social network. LinkedIn, in turn, is going to have to open up its data in order to continue to reach its audience.

This means that sourcing aggregators like TalentBin or Dice are going to have a renewed lease on life. In order to have a complete view of the labor force (and your potential employees), you will need to have a disciplined relationship with multiple sources.

And that is just what competitors as varied as Smashfly and CareerBuilder didn’t expect but are thanking their lucky stars for.


You’ll also enjoy this take on the deal: Refounding LinkedIn

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