Social Hiring: The Right LinkedIn Connection that Helps You Land a Job
36 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2018 Last revised: 21 Jul 2019
Date Written: October 5, 2018
According to a recent survey, LinkedIn comprises over 500 million professionals, and the majority of recruiters utilize LinkedIn to identify qualified job candidates. Recognizing recruiters’ increasing reliance on professional networking sites, job seekers strive to create as many professional connections as possible. In particular, a common tactic is to make LinkedIn connections with professionals who work for the target companies in the job seekers’ target fields, as they can offer timely information about new job openings and become potential referrers. This paper empirically investigates whether such a networking tactic is actually instrumental in obtaining referrals. For empirical analysis, we use unique data from a global consulting company that utilizes LinkedIn for its hiring. Much to our surprise, the analysis reveals that this common tactic is not a promising way to get referrals: We find that job seekers are less likely to be referred by employees who are in the target company and the target field. We attribute this result to peer competition: Employees tend not to refer qualified candidates with similar expertise in order to protect themselves from future competition. We further find that this adverse effect of job similarity on referrals weakens as the hierarchical level of the referring employee gets higher than that of the job candidate, because they are less likely to compete directly. Although one might expect that gender homophily may weaken this competition effect, we find that it does not.
Keywords: Social hiring, employee referral network, job similarity, gender homophily, word embedding
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation