Asian biz using LinkedIn for employment branding boost

The region's businesses are growing fast and in order to meet their recruitment needs, they are relying on platforms such as LinkedIn to woo the right candidate even if these people are still hired by another company.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor on

SINGAPORE--As LinkedIn marks its 1-million user milestone here Tuesday, it reveals how companies in Asia are increasingly using the enterprise-friendly social networking platform to boost its employment branding and talent scouting efforts.

According to Hari Krishnan, managing director for LinkedIn Asia-Pacific and Japan, the company has gained significant traction in the region and has the critical mass of 40 million users. Besides the million users in Singapore, India is tops with 19 million subscribers while Australia has over 4 million users.

Philippines and Indonesia each contributed 1.5 million users while Malaysia has more than a million, he added during the media event to commemorate the Singapore milestone held here Tuesday. 

In terms of revenue, Asia-Pacific contributed 3 percent of LinkedIn's worldwide revenue back in 2009. Three years on, its contributions account for 8 percent of overall revenue, he said.

Companies in Asia are increasingly using LinkedIn to pursue "passive candidate recruiting" tactics as they grow rapidly.

Connecting prospective hires with employers

Speaking to ZDNet Asia at the event sidelines, Krishnan noted how companies in the region place great emphasis on employment branding and talent scouting.This is particularly critical now given that Asia's economy is growing faster than many other global markets and companies here are eager to hire the right people and improve its reputation among prospective hires, he explained.

In fact, "passive candidate recruiting" in the region is growing in popularity as a result of such recruitment trends. He explained this was a process whereby companies realize the "perfect" recruit is currently employed in another organization, but they would still correspond with these professionals on a social media platform such as LinkedIn to woo them over.

Joanna Yeoh, vice president of Singapore Post's talent management department, who attended the same event, said the company was one which had successfully leveraged LinkedIn to acquire two employees for its e-commerce and warehousing division.

Singapore Post's vision is become an e-commerce leader in Asia-Pacific and to reach that stage, the company had to increase its brand presence and reach out to the right talents, Yeoh explained. Many people also view the national postal service as "traditional", so by interacting with candidates on LinkedIn its image improved, she added.

"We used LinkedIn as a platform to research on who is right for the job, communicate with them and bring them on board, and this in turn helped business transform to the next level," she said, adding the firm's talent brand index on LinkedIn increased from 2 percent to 18 percent within 6 months and is currently at 32 percent.

Walmart, too, used LinkedIn as a resource to build its business when entering Asia's e-commerce market. It managed to build its e-commerce team in six weeks by finding the right people through LinkedIn's Recruiter tool, Krishnan revealed.

LinkedIn's reach extends beyond desktop access given that the adoption of its mobile app is "very strong" in Asia, as seen by it having the fastest-growing mobile traffic compared to other regions. Some 27 percent of the social networking site's traffic came from mobile devices at the end of 2012, Krishnan said.
Moving forward, with the strong adoption of smartphones and LinkedIn's mobile app in Asia, the company will be focused on an overarching mobile strategy for the region but localized for different markets according to the respective needs, he revealed.

Still trying to understand China

Asked what LinkedIn's strategy is for China, Krishnan noted it currently has three million users in China and is currently in the early stages of understanding the Chinese market.

"We want to focus our needs on understanding the needs of individuals and companies before rolling out tailored solutions for China," he said. 

Back in 2011 following LinkedIn's IPO, Arvind Rajan, LinkedIn's international vice president, had said it is eyeing China but will be cautious in its approach and will not rush in with a product which does not work, a Bloomberg report noted.

The business social network is not the only player in China either. Local Internet giant Sina unveiled its platform, Sina Wei Renmai, in November 2012 while Tianji is another popular networking site for professionals in the country.

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