LinkedIn’s guidelines for third-party job postings are a masterclass in how the platform is using “authenticity” as a weapon to further monetize the relationship between a bevy of ATSs and the XML feeds of thousands of Recruiting Agencies that rely on “free” postings to engage with active applicants. In short, recent changes to protect the network should be a moment to pause and reflect for recruiting agencies or Agencyland. Under the auspices of the new August 2024 requirements, stricter visibility rules for third-party jobs kick in. While LinkedIn’s audits are intended to ensure compliance, non-adherence means your listings might get the boot.

While transparency, quality, and user protection are non-negotiables for LinkedIn, the specification of two particular conditions activated my Spidey-sense:

  • The company name must accurately represent the employer as on the source listing of the job and must not hide the employer name (for example, jobs with employer name of “Confidential” are not permitted).
  • Beginning in August 2024, certain third-party jobs may no longer be visible on LinkedIn when they are ingested as Basic Jobs or Limited Listings from third-party sources such as applicant tracking systems (ATSs) and job boards. These limits are designed to prevent abuse, improve product quality, and increase transparency while ensuring that job seekers have access to the best possible opportunities. Please note that LinkedIn reserves the right to require promotion of jobs.

Since these jobs will face stricter visibility rules to ensure higher transparency and quality, Agencies must ensure their listings are genuine, complete, and not duplicated. Non-compliance could lead to their job postings being removed. This means third-party Agencies will need to be more diligent about the accuracy and integrity of their job ads to avoid penalties.

Let’s not ignore how they throw Recruiting Agencies under the bus.

With new, tighter rules, this means Agencies will have to jump through more hoops, ensuring every job post is pristine—no fakes, no duplicates, and detailed to the bone. Sounds great, right?

Wrong. This move is a double-edged sword.

Recruiting Agencies are pivotal in bridging the gap between talent and employers, especially in niche markets. By imposing stricter controls, LinkedIn risks stifling the very intermediaries that fuel the job market’s dynamism. Agencies will now need to invest more in compliance, which means higher costs and more red tape. Smaller Agencies might struggle to keep up, leading to reduced competition and innovation in the recruitment sector.

Moreover, the threat of having their listings removed for non-compliance adds a layer of unpredictability and risk. Instead of fostering an open and competitive market, LinkedIn’s guidelines might inadvertently favor larger Agencies that can absorb these changes, further consolidating their power; this environment of constant vigilance and the potential for penalties disproportionately affects smaller Agencies that lack the resources to maintain rigorous compliance protocols.

In contrast, larger Agencies, with more substantial compliance teams and budgets, can more easily absorb these regulatory changes. This dynamic inadvertently strengthens their market position, reducing competition and innovation. Instead of fostering a diverse and competitive market, LinkedIn’s guidelines could consolidate power within a few dominant players, undermining the ecosystem’s health and diversity.

Another carveout that scares the hell out of me:

Further, LinkedIn reserves the right to remove partners and immediately terminate the Basic Jobs contract for any third-party job site that fails to adhere to these guidelines after one warning and/or generates an excessive number of member complaints.

LinkedIn’s policy of terminating contracts with third-party job sites after one warning or excessive complaints is a classic case of corporate overreach. This carveout creates a high-stakes game of compliance, where Agencies constantly fear the hatchet.

One slip-up or a few disgruntled members, and it’s game over. This environment disproportionately hurts smaller Agencies that can’t afford to tread water in this high-risk pool, effectively handing more power to the big players who can.

Does this mean that more Agencies and ATS’s will be corralled into more costly job-posting packages? Candidly, I don’t know, but if history and the changes to the inMail policy nearly a decade ago are any indication, then I’d say that LinkedIn is looking for new ways to monetize.

What’s next: LinkedIn’s version of Blind or Glassdoor?

In retrospect, LinkedIn’s execution, or extortion, leaves much to be desired. Job seekers might find a cleaner interface, but at the cost of a potentially less dynamic job market. It’s a classic case of good intentions, poor implementation.

Linkedin Guideline Job Postings Article Here

Brian Fink

As a Talent Acquisition Partner at McAfee, Brian Fink enjoys bringing people together to solve complex problems, build great products, and get things done. In his recent book, Talk Tech to Me, Fink takes on the stress and strain of complex technology concepts and simplifies them for the modern recruiter to help you find, engage, and partner with professionals.


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