Mike Isaac

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LinkedIn Beefs Up Recruiter, the Company’s Biggest Revenue Driver

recruiterAsk any tech trader on the Street — LinkedIn is consistently crushing it every earnings season. Question is, how does the one tech company outperforming all its peers on the public market keep up that momentum?

LinkedIn gave at least one answer to this on Wednesday morning: Juice up your largest revenue-driving product.

The company debuted a redesigned version of its Recruiter product, an update solidly in line with the company’s revamped consumer-facing profile pages introduced late last year.

It’s pretty much a de-uglifying of the company’s previous version of Recruiter, which, while obviously heavily used by talent recruiters, was just plain unattractive to look at.

But yes, it’s also more than that. Aside from making the old page look quite similar to users’ profile pages, LinkedIn has placed heavy emphasis on the search bar, located at the top-left-hand corner of the page. Scroll down the page, and the search box follows you persistently. Hover over the box, and a history of your saved searches and some auto-suggested options will drop down in the menu below.

It’s pretty clear from the update this morning that strengthening search is a priority. Part of LinkedIn’s power is much akin to Google’s: People who go to the sites have a clear intent, whether it be to find a potential new job recruit, or in Google’s case, to find the price of a fine French Camembert (or whatever it is people search for).

At the same time, LinkedIn — like Google — must remain “sticky.” Instead of having its users visit the page and then immediately leave after finding a result, adding features like suggested searches, the suggested “people you may want to hire” section and an increased focus on messaging give the company a better chance at increasing engagement in the long term.

The aesthetic revamp of Recruiter is long overdue. As I noted previously, out of LinkedIn’s three revenue streams — subscriptions, ads and “talent solutions” — the talent solutions product is the company’s largest revenue driver, responsible for $161 million in revenue during Q4 of 2012. That was a massive 90 percent year-on-year jump, but I questioned at the time how the company could sustain that rate of growth in the long term. This redesign is the first step in that direction.

The redesign seems to have worked for the consumer-facing products. After the profile redesign last year, “All the metrics we care most about are way, way up,” said Parker Barrile, senior director of talent solutions products.

Eager headhunters should expect the new version of Recruiter to roll out next week.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google