LinkedIn to Launch LI Referral to Solve the ‘Get Me More Like’ Problem #InTalent

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there, to paraphrase Lewis Carroll.

Now that might have worked for Alice, but when your hiring manager’s criteria is along the lines of “I’ll know it when I see it,” what do you do? One solution is to ask, “Who on your team is most like the person you want to hire?”

Building a search that way isn’t easy and takes time. Soon, though, LinkedIn customers will have a shortcut. This morning at Talent Connect, LinkedIn’s annual user conference now underway in Anaheim, California, the company announced a coming update to LinkedIn Recruiter that will simplify those “more like him and more like her” searches.

Described in detail below, that feature and something called Spotlights, which you can think of as search specific dashboard with customized filtering capability, will be included in the next generation of Recruiter rolling out early next year.

LinkedIn Referrals Employee RecommendationsComing November 1 is LinkedIn Referrals, an automated way to alert employees to job matches among their connections. First-degree connections get matched to all the open jobs in your ATS. Employees have the option of sending their connection a note about the job. If the connection applies, the recruiter gets alerted that it’s an employee referral. And the employee gets updated where their referral is in the process.

In a blog post about the new products, Eddie Vivas, LinkedIn’s head of talent solutions, noted that while referral candidates are a recruiter’s preferred source of hires, “most companies struggle to get employees to make more referrals.” LI Referrals, he boasted, “takes the work out.”

That same could be said of sourcing talent when the hiring manager points to a staffer and says, “Get me more like her.”

Instead of having to suss out all the details of a rockstar’s background, the upcoming Recruiter iteration lets searchers plug in that person’s name, pick their profile, and get a list of LI members with similar backgrounds and skills.  In many cases, that may well unearth exactly the right candidate.

Next Generation of LinkedIn RecruiterTo finesse the search further, LinkedIn Recruiter displays the terms it used to build the search string so you can modify them to narrow — or widen — the results. Adding your own search elements, you might include some specific keywords or additional geographies, or accept alums of schools other than the one the rockstar attended.

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What happens though if this is a new position or there’s no one the hiring manager can point to as someone they want to clone?

LinkedIn has a solution for that, too. Maybe all you know is the job title, the example LinkedIn used in describing this feature. Just enter it into the titles field and Recruiter will return a list of the most frequently skills people with that title have. You’ll also get a list of the most frequently listed schools and companies with the most people holding that title.

As convenient as these new search tools are, they should come with a warning: “Use of the ‘More like him, more like her search’ may cause complacency or lead to cloning.” This may be as obvious as the suffocation warnings on plastic bag, but just because the candidates sourced this way have resumes similar to the top producers doesn’t guarantee they will be one, too. It’s a start, but it will take recruiter effort to sift the candidates to find those with the traits and other characteristics that will make them rockstars, too.

The other warning — about cloning — has to do with the diversity of experience and background that makes for a robust and creative environment. It was advice that Steve Jobs gave in his famous graduation address.

One other caution might be in order: Know why your hiring manager taps the person they do as the model for you to source. Is it because they are truly highly productive, effective people? Or is there some other reason?

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.