Skip to content Skip to footer

What will be the next professional network?

The days of online resumes are over.

A few weeks ago, Brianne Kimmel published a piece in her newsletter titled “Why the next professional network will look nothing like LinkedIn”. 

We’ve had LinkedIn for over 16 years and it’s become the go-to place for recruiters. It’s become the new resume in a lot of ways.

LinkedIn has, over the last few years, moved a bit away from the online resume and into connecting peers to create business-driven communities. 

But, there is still a ton of focus on recruiting. Brianne pointed this out as why LinkedIn is broken. Over 75% of LinkedIn’s revenue is coming from recruiters. Which means the overall user experience is inundated with noise because your inbox is full of recruiters, not deep connections.  

Not everyone is receiving dozens of recruiter requests every week. It’s only a small sliver of candidates, often those with pedigree in the form of previous employers or where they obtained their education. 

The vast majority are applying for jobs and never hearing back. 
It’s a double-sided issue where some folks are receiving too much attention and most candidates never receive a word back from a potential employer. 

The internet should equalize hiring. However, in today’s world, it mimics income inequality where a small number of individuals hold a large percentage of the wealth. In this case, it’s that a small number of individuals are receiving a large amount of interest from employers. Some get all the attention, others get nothing. 

Brianne mentions another reason LinkedIn is broken: skill assessments. LinkedIn is still basically a digital resume, even with their recent assessment announcement, which means there is no way for companies to truly be able to assess abilities. 

We certainly agree that resumes are broken. Some predict that work samples will become the next key info…

For Brianne, the new wave of platforms that emphasize niche professional communities like Figma, GitHub, and Dribbble, will become the new LinkedIn. These platforms highlight the portfolio of work, like Dribbble with designs and Github with code, which give recruiters an inside look into a candidate’s abilities. 

…but we disagree.

There’s a problem with these platforms: they can easily become a popularity contest. 

Just like LinkedIn, it’s harder to get noticed when you’re small. If you’re already known, you get the space and are showcased on the homepage. It’s like Instagram influencers, if you’re popular you’ll be in the newsfeed. If you aren’t as popular or are just starting out, you likely won’t be as easily discoverable, even though your content could be just as amazing. 

Beyond the popularity contest, recruiters aren’t subject matter experts. But, they’re trying to recruit for subject matter experts. 

For example, a technical recruiter is looking for top engineers. But, they can’t look at code and tell if it is high-quality – they aren’t engineers themselves. 

These communities, although they showcase actual abilities, aren’t designed for recruiters. Recruiters need a true way to easily assess abilities while not being subject matter experts themselves. 

Previously, pedigree was a proxy for abilities. 

That’s why they use it in recruiting. It’s why recruiters search previous employers, specific universities, and other proxies for ability because they can understand these proxies. 

The new communities that are showcasing talent like Dribble and GitHub tend to only be used by internal hiring managers who are in fact subject matter experts… but this isn’t scalable. Yes, a small company can have the hiring manager look on these forums and communities for experts, but after a certain point, you hire recruiters and they aren’t experts in the specific field like the hiring manager is. 

We think objective skill information is the future.

That’s why we believe that the true replacement of LinkedIn will be in quantifying skills. If you can get a score of someone’s abilities against the larger community, you can begin to understand their actual abilities. It’s just like how banks use credit scores to make funding decisions. 

With the rise of automated skills assessment tools, we are already able to quantify skills at a large scale. We no longer need to rely on hiring manager’s opinions about someone’s skill level. For example, any programmer can obtain a certified coding assessment report and share it with potential employers or publicly on LinkedIn. Then a recruiter can simply search or request a certified report using a solution such as CodeSignal Certify to screen tens of thousands of candidates at once with objective skill data.

This blog post is based on the thirty-second episode of the data-driven recruiting podcast hosted by CodeSignal co-founders Sophia Baik and Tigran Sloyan. You can find and listen to this specific episode here or check out the video version embedded above.