The Flaws with LinkedIn’s Job Matching, and How Its Recent Acquisition Might Help

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This past February, LinkedIn acquired Bright, a job matching service, for $120 million. This left some people wondering: Why?

What Was The Incentive?

What was it that Bright had to offer LinkedIn? How did the online networking site stand to benefit from the purchase of a much smaller job matching service?

LinkedIn, while used by professionals to connect with other professionals, is hardly considered a job search site. Typically, people use LinkedIn as a forward-looking measure. They network with others who might, one day, be able to help them land a job. However, the social media website is typically not considered a job search engine.

That’s why the purchase of Bright seemed a bit odd to many analysts.

SEE ALSO: LinkedIn Acquires Bright.com for Job Matching Technology

The question became even more puzzling when LinkedIn shut down Bright’s job board shortly after the acquisition. Why would LinkedIn purchase Bright and then shut down what was arguably the company’s most significant online presence? Clearly, LinkedIn wasn’t looking to earn revenue from Bright’s existing online presence.

A Theory

The bottom line is this: LinkedIn probably purchased Bright to use its job matching algorithm.

That’s the theory put forth by RealMatch CEO Gal Amog. He put his theory to the test by using LinkedIn to post an online job opening in an effort to determine what kind of pre-Bright matching technology LinkedIn utilized.

Not very effective matching technology, it would seem.

The Position

The position advertised was for an Account Manager. LinkedIn used its matching technology to produce a list of candidates for the position that were, to put it mildly, underwhelming.

Basically, LinkedIn listed the position as a “Sponsored Job.” It promoted the job to people with profiles that, according to LinkedIn, were an appropriate match based on their skill set and experience. The company says that this service produces three times more applicants than a regular job posting.

The aforementioned Account Manager job listing required someone with the same type of experience that a sales representative would need. This means that the ideal candidate would be able to forge new business relationships, ensure that clients are happy, respond to client concerns, and follow the usual day-to-day work typical of account managers everywhere.

So, you might think that the LinkedIn algorithm would match that position with members that demonstrate sales experience. Instead, Amog received an email with the following profile descriptions: Manager of Software Engineering, Senior Accountant, and Software Technician.

None of those profiles came close to matching the requirements for the position. Clearly, the old LinkedIn matching algorithm left a lot to be desired.

It’s clear that LinkedIn doesn’t actually have a job matching algorithm. Instead, the company uses standard keyword matching, which can (and, in this case, did) produce grossly inaccurate results.

This is almost certainly why LinkedIn purchased Bright. The company needs a better job matching algorithm.

Certainly, as it stands right now, LinkedIn can’t do any worse.

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