LinkedIn Gets Closer to Job Seekers

The application process for millions of job hunters will soon be simplified — as long as they’re on LinkedIn, that is.

Yesterday, the professional networking site announced a partnership with Taleo, the country’s largest job applicant tracking system provider, to allow job seekers to auto-fill basic biographical and professional history information from their LinkedIn profile into online job applications.

Taleo powers the careers pages of about 5,000 companies, including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and United Airlines. Job seekers applying with those companies will soon see that they can use their LinkedIn information to fill out job applications. Applicants already have the option of auto-filling information from the Taleo “Universal Profile” service. Users will still be able to manually fill in their data, or upload their resumes on Taleo-powered sites.

The LinkedIn option will be available with the next updated version of Taleo’s enterprise software on September 23. Each company will have the option of displaying the LinkedIn tool and Taleo expects a high percentage of them to do so, said Karl Ederle, the company’s vice president of product strategy.

“We want to make it easier for candidates to apply for jobs and remove the friction in the process,” Ederle said. “We realize that now people are digitizing their profiles, and LinkedIn has critical mass.”

As of August 4th, LinkedIn says it has 120 million users.

Taleo currently has 26% of market share by revenue in the applicant tracking system sector, according to research from Bersin & Associates, a human resources consulting firm. The company’s software also analyzes the data it collects from applicants, and ranks the applicants based on their qualifications. Competitors Oracle and Kenexa have 11% and 7% of the market, respectively. According to LinkedIn’s site, Kenexa has a similar partnership with the professional networking company.

“This is going to change the way people apply for jobs,” said Katherine Jones, an analyst at Bersin. “It takes hours, in some cases, to go through these applications online and it’s usually pretty painful. This is much faster and more economical.”

LinkedIn launched a similar feature with its “Apply with LinkedIn” widget in July. Companies like Netflix and LivingSocial have adopted the widget, which is free. The button on Taleo career sites won’t be branded as “Apply with LinkedIn,” but will be effectively the same, Ederle said.

LinkedIn declined to describe the financial terms of the agreement.