LinkedIn rolls out new features to help job seekers

The social network adds to its recent face lift with an "open candidates" feature and updated company "career" pages.

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LinkedIn is launching updated Career pages for businesses.

Fresh off of its announced acquisition by Microsoft, LinkedIn has been busy giving a makeover to its social networking services. On Thursday, it announced new features designed to steer job seekers in the right direction.

The new "open candidates" feature gives LinkedIn users a way to indicate to recruiters that they'd be interested in a new job -- without tipping off their current employer. By simply adjusting a few settings -- indicating factors like the fields they'd like to work in, what role they'd like or when they could start -- users can send a private signal to recruiters. The recruiters, meanwhile, get access to this information as part of LinkedIn's standard enterprise license.

LinkedIn built this feature because currently, "the process of searching for a job is really inefficient, often," Eric Owski, head of talent brands at LinkedIn, explained to ZDNet. Recruiters face a sea of potential candidates, while those candidates may not be ready to go through the process of actually applying for a job. With this feature, recruiters can zero in on potential candidates who are twice as likely to respond to outreach.

LinkedIn recently began testing the feature at scale and has seen about 50,000 members opt into it every day. There are now close to 1 million members using the feature. It's now available in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia on desktop and mobile web, and it will be rolling out globally soon.

Meanwhile, LinkedIn is also updating its company "career" pages -- the page a job seeker might go to for more information about a firm after hearing from one of its recruiters. The new pages are "really designed to give professionals a personalized tour of the company they're researching," Owski said.

Companies paying for the "jobs" and "life" tabs on their LinkedIn pages can create different versions of those tabs for different audiences -- such as job seekers interested in different roles.

A company's employees can also upload their own content. LinkedIn users, Owski said, "really want to hear from a company's employees, and they want to hear from them in their own words."

Job seekers can also get a better idea of who works at a company, with employee insights on the page, such as where employees are located and their skill levels.

LinkedIn says there are around 30 enterprise customers who are charter customers of these new pages, including Uber, Apple and GE. Since launching them, those new career pages have seen a 175 percent increase in job views.

"Delivering a personalized experience, allowing prospective candidates to hear employee voices and see their peers at the company ...is a great way for people to become informed" about a prospective employer, Owski said.

If a job seeker is coming to the company page through a job posting, LinkedIn directs them first to the "life" tab. Through a global survey of job seekers, LinkedIn found that 56 percent said culture and values were the most important aspects of a company they'd like to learn more about.

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