Today, if I were asked to become the CEO of any jobs site, I would refuse the offer. It is a bad time to be one. Those that are already on the job, will be looking for a way out – the old-world job site business, the business of resume arbitrage is all but over. In fact as recent as mid-2012, the Monsters CEO had expressed his interest in selling his company.

jobs sites in IndiaThe only reason for this is the resounding success of Linkedin and eventually the popularity of its premium services, which help both a job seeker and a corporate to come together. Just for the record, Linkedin makes $ 16.4/hour spent by its users. In comparison, the next best Facebook makes $ 0.7/hour spent by its users – such is the popularity of Linkedin’s paid services.

And why not? From a corporate perspective Recruitment agencies are costlier than Linkedin, besides being more labour-intensive. From a potential job seeker’s perspective a good percentage of all job openings are ALSO posted on Linkedin and a good percentage of all job openings posted on Linkedin are available only on Linkedin.

In the graphic below see how the job sites have been declining in popularity (this is Google Trends data). Note that there has been a brief period where a few of the job sites were under the illusion that spending ad money will help their cause (the period between the red & green lines):

job sites popularity decline due to linkedin

The only concern that Linkedin has today is that of the time spent on its properties by its users. That this is already a concern within Linkedin as well is pretty obvious by observing three indicators:

1) They have intensified the frequency of their email alerts. Today I get far more email alerts from Linkedin than what I was getting earlier.

2) They have started focusing a lot on their Mobile app. For instance, for their iPhone app they have released eight updates in 2013 so far…compare this with zero updates from Whatsapp or four from Skype in 2013. Focusing on their mobile app will ensure their users are reachable all the time, and thus will login more often and increase their time spent/user.

3) They have become a content publisher. Internally the initiative started in October 1012, and now their offering titled ‘Linkedin Today’ where they offer thought leadership through articles by 250 plus industry leaders  (see full list of Linkedin’s Influencers) has come a full circle. The idea was to simply provide its users more reasons to login to Linkedin every day, thus increasing time spent/user.

But this issue of time spent is small, and I am sure Linkedin will be able to handle and solve it gracefully.

As for the maturity of Linkedin, I think they aren’t even at the halfway stage – there still lies a workforce of  3.5 Billion all over the world which needs to be tapped.

Finally a word of unsolicited advice to all those guys running sites such as Naukri.com, Timesjobs.com, Jobsahead.com, Careerbuilder.com etc – please sell off and exit immediately. Or fork out in a niche – the way Glassdoor.com is doing. Popularity of Glassdoor hasn’t seen a decline because of Linekdin’s rise since they are focusing on a niche – an inside look at people who are working, rating of companies, reviews about interview processes etc.

If I were to draw a parallel with Glassdoor, I would say Glassdoor is doing to Linkedin what Instagram did to Facebook. There was no way Instagram could have challenged Facebook if they had started a social network exactly like Facebook so they decided to focus on a social network around photographs alone. And eventually became so good at it that Facebook had to acquire them.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if after a few quarters Linkedin acquires Glassdoor.