Sunday, August 14, 2011

LinkedIn's Algorithm Taps Talent Graph, But Still Needs Human Touch

BY Austin CarrWed Aug 10, 2011

Imagine if your prospects for beating the 9.1% unemployment rate depended not on a meticulously crafted cover letter and résumé, but on a complicated algorithm that helped companies determine the best matches for open jobs. Such a Brave New World-like future is rapidly becoming a reality--but don't fear just yet. Your career will still very much rely on strong credentials, networking, and a good pinch of serendipity. (For now, at least.)

Over the last year, LinkedIn has rolled out a set of new premium tools to its 100 million users. And they've worked. On the consumer end, what would normally cost businesses and HR departments time and money now just takes a few clicks. On LinkedIn's end, the network is gathering so much data, says Adam Nash, VP of product and user experience, that it's "starting to really get an understanding of who the best are in their fields, and more important, who are the best fits for your team." Internally, the company refers to LinkedIn's search algorithm as the "Pandora for people," a system that combs through the network's "talent graph" for ideal job candidates. (Not another Pandora analogy!) When it works like it should, all employers have to focus on is the final interview.

"We're starting to see recruiters do queries where they literally put, 'I want someone who has worked at one of these twenty companies and a startup, and gone to one of these twenty schools,'" Nash says. "You're never going...[read more]  

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