LinkedIn starts India-specific product for students

LinkedIn Placements offers a platform mainly to graduating students to find their first job by networking with recruiters and hiring officers in campuses


India produces more than six million graduates in a year, and students account for the fastest-growing segment among LinkedIn users across the world.
India produces more than six million graduates in a year, and students account for the fastest-growing segment among LinkedIn users across the world.

Mumbai: Professional networking site LinkedIn.com on Wednesday launched an exclusive product for India called LinkedIn Placements for students and young professionals in a step towards developing solutions tailored for Indian users.

The new product is the first of its kind built outside of LinkedIn’s headquarters in the US. Developed by a team of more than 40 engineers and designers in India, it offers a platform mainly to graduating students to find their first job by networking with recruiters and hiring officers in campuses.

“Our conversations with students, placement officers and recruiters involved in campus recruitment point to an unmet need for efficiency and effectiveness,” said Ganesan Venkatasubramanian, LinkedIn’s head of engineering in India. Through this product LinkedIn aims to help streamline the process of campus recruitment in India, he said.

India produces more than 6 million graduates in a year, Venkatasubramanian said, adding that students account for the fastest-growing segment among LinkedIn users across the world.

LinkedIn Placements allows students to track suitable jobs, apply for them and get updates in real time on their mobile phones, LinkedIn said in a statement. For recruiters, the platform offers the option of filtering the candidates they want to hire and coordinate with placement officers in campuses, it said.

The company has tied up with 14 colleges in four cities, including the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management and Faculty of Management Studies in Delhi and Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering in Bangalore, to test the product among 10,000 students.

The launch of a new product exclusively for India comes at a time when LinkedIn has emerged as the most popular platform for job searches in India. The company saw its user base in India expand almost three-fold in the last four years to 33 million.

India is the second largest market for LinkedIn in terms of number of users after the US, where the company has 122 million users. Globally, it has 400 million users, of which roughly 10% are students.

With its networking strengths, experts say LinkedIn is fast emerging as a competitor to mainstream recruitment platforms such as Naukri.com and Shine.com and an array of job consultancies in India. Shine.com is a unit of HT Media Ltd, which publishes Mint.

“There is a certain level of credibility which comes through a LinkedIn profile which allows recruiters to do reference checks on prospective candidates,” said Prashant Sankaran, a mentor at the N.S. Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning at the India Institute of Management, Bangalore.

The endorsements and recommendations options on LinkedIn offer a lot more insights into a candidate’s strength than what is presented on a resume, he said.

LinkedIn, which set up a technology center in India in 2011, started its operations here as a support centre to maintain the basic technology infrastructure of the global networking site.

Through the years the company has built a 100-member software development team in India that helps develop new products for its global and domestic users.

While announcing the third quarter results last week, LinkedIn said it plans to develop a number of products tailored to Indian market—a strategy similar to that of China, where the company launched Chitu, a networking app exclusively for Chinese users.

Venkatasubramanian said for the time being the new product will be part of the company’s main page LinkedIn.com which could be accessed through a browser on the mobile. The company may create a separate mobile app for the product based on the insights from the pilot, he said.

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