ATLANTA, GA - Today I received an interesting email from my friends at Linkedin, who just signed up their 100 millionth member. See below.
We've done a ton of business with Linkedin over the last -- what is it -- five years already? And in that time, I can honestly say that LI has done wonders for my recruiting business. My company owns two of the top five ecommerce groups on Linkedin, and my personal network includes 4400 ecommerce executives (and only three recruiters). Invite me to connect!
I'm amazed at how many clients and candidates actually READ my testimonials. Those things have been instrumental in helping me establish trust and credibility among my new users. I'll explain why this is important at the end of this post.
Not too long ago, I saw Reid Hoffman on Charlie Rose, and Mr. Hoffman said that he could envision 25% of the world's white collar workforce on Linkedin. Twenty five percent. With that kind of liquidity, it's not hard to see how Linkedin might develop a labor marketplace like Workmarket (backed by Fred Wilson's USV), or Elance. Check out the following video (also shown below), in which Mr. Hoffman confirms that Linkedin is a platform for the free agent nation -- and that all of us are basically micro-enterprises.
I can't wait to invest in Linkedin's IPO.
Imagine the revenue opportunity for any company that can monetize the trading relationships of +100 million people. Years ago, I wrote a white paper about a web-enabled U.S. beef industry and learned that the number of trading relationships in any market is (N*(N-1) / 2. Try that formula with 100 million nodes in the network ...
New Day Rising
Last year, my Linkedin sales rep told me that there are +900,000 corporate and third-party recruiters on Linkedin. That's insane, but it makes sense: 900K is less than 1% of the community's membership. Still, that's a lot of recruiters.
When I'm a party and I meet someone, they often ask me what I do. When I tell them I'm a contingency recruiter, they roll their eyes as if I were a real estate agent or an insurance salesman. It never occurs to them that I could be a marketer and an entrepreneur. There's a stigma: Being the best contingency recruiter is like being the tallest midget. That's cool. I get it.
But that stigma doesn't absolve a recruiter of his obligation to iterate; to look at how the wold is changing and search for relevance. Recruiters need wake up and realize that increasingly, they're working for their candidates -- not their clients.
The party's over.
I've long been a believer that the days of the 20% placement fee for throwing a resume over the fence are winding down -- especially for line level job openings. You'll see a decline of that kind of thing as solutions like Linkedin and TopProspect get traction. And, lo and behold, should Linkedin decide to become a full-blown ATS, then recruiters will be judged solely on the basis of their ability to attract the coolest searches that attract the best candidates, that, in turn, attract the coolest searches, etc.
Success will breed success, and recruiting agency "brands" will matter more than ever. Why? Because it will be up to the recruiter to leverage his brand (ie, trust and credibility) on behalf of his clients to attract the right talent. In other words, clients who don't have my trust and credibility will want to "rent" my trust and credibility to attract the candidates who can build their businesses. Make sense? It has more to do with positioning than salesmanship.
Anway, here's the email I received from Linkedin. Congratulations to them.
I'm thrilled to let you know that LinkedIn's membership reached 100 million professionals today.
Because you were one of our first million members (member number 143,XXX in fact!), I wanted to take this moment to thank you for playing a foundational role in building the LinkedIn community.
With your help, LinkedIn is revolutionizing how companies like yours find top talent and is well positioned to realize our mission of making professionals everywhere more productive and successful. We are so grateful for your support, and we look forward to helping you accomplish much more in the years to come.
On to the next hundred million!
Senior Vice President
LinkedIn Corporate Solutions