Many years ago, LinkedIn was just another aspiring social media platform like MySpace and Google+. In many ways Facebook has overshadowed the company which was bought out by Microsoft in 2016. Mainly because Facebook kept a lot of its features ‘free’, whereas LinkedIn was on a revenue generating mission from Day 1. Microsoft did pay over $26 billion for the StartUp, so there’s quite a lot of revenue to catch up with. Something that Zuckerberg at Facebook didn’t have to worry about so much.
Each country was affected differently by LinkedIn’s mission to dominate a section of social media dedicated to job searching and sales. In the UK the rise of database searching for candidates meant LinkedIn had a much harder time of winning market share. Other countries like Poland hadn’t had the time for their recruitment infrastructure to mature. Which made recruiters across the country far more reliant on LinkedIn than their counter parts in other countries.
Back in the early 2000s job portals like Cvonline, Pracuj and Jobpilot dominated the Polish recruitment market. Once Jobpilot was acquired by Monster, and Cvonline decided to focus on the Baltic States, Pracuj was left as the undisputed leader of the market. Monster went on a charm offensive, but never really hit the heights of Jobpilot’s heyday again. Even the savvy sales-focused Grzegorz Turniak was unable to get the only other competitor, Goldenline, to properly compete with Pracuj.
Initially things looked promising with Pracuj. The company offered unlimited advertising opportunities for recruitment companies in Poland free. Until 2007 that is. Like a bolt from nowhere Pracuj upped their prices creating a ripple affect amongst Poland’s leading recruiters. Galvanizing them to start co-operating with each other for the first time in the country’s history.
Up till 2007 recruitment companies had been able to use Pracuj free of charge. Pracuj needed traffic so it was logical to onboard the leading agencies in Poland to help share vast amounts of jobs with potential candidates. Once direct employers had joined the bandwagon, Pracuj decided that the free lunches for recruitment companies were over.
Recruitment companies across Poland were faced with bills of tens of thousands of zloties they hadn’t planned to spend in 2007. The writing was on the wall, with the extra revenue Pracuj would start to dominate the jobs market in Poland.
Most Western countries have developed the concept of database searching as part of the recruitment process to a mature level. By mature we mean where several external databases support the recruitment agency’s internal database. All helping in speeding the process of delivery up. Initially it looked like Pracuj would also follow this model of selling database access to the market.
They even had a pricing point for the service. With one big difference. Most websites like Monster, Stepstone, CV-library, Reed or others sell unlimited access to their databases for a fixed period. This helps with ensuring that candidates in their respective databases are used to being contacted about jobs. In Poland Pracuj did it differently. Charging companies up to 70 zloties per CV for contact details.
Recruiters started calling candidates only to find out that the candidate had found a job over a year ago. But Pracuj still charged the fee. Once a recruiter had gone through 20 ‘Nos’ they had already clocked up nearly 1500 zloties. The price of 2 job adverts on Pracuj at the time.
Candidates became despondent. Companies stopped contacting them at all in Poland. The ones in Pracuj’s database at least, arguably the largest database by far in Poland. All this meant that the culture of uploading your CV in any database in Poland failed to emerge. Meaning that databases don’t fill such a big role in recruiting in Poland.
Something that LinkedIn was paying very close attention to.
With Pracuj otherwise occupied in maintaining its position as the number one job portal in Poland. There was a huge opportunity for a company like LinkedIn to come in and clean up the database side of things. LinkedIn had been somewhat popular across the world, but in Poland if you didn’t have LinkedIn, you didn’t exist.
Which was great while LinkedIn was free for everyone. But, just like Pracuj in 2007, LinkedIn brought in charges as early as 2014. Which would have been fine, if they weren’t the same as they were in the U.S. or the UK. After a little analysis with some of our contacts from Global Recruiter in the UK, we found out that many UK recruiters were paying for LinkedIn themselves. Whilst the salary in the UK is what it is, this would appear to be ok. Polish recruiters at the time were earning about 25% of their UK counterparts though, but being charged the same price for their LinkedIn subscriptions. Meaning recruitment companies in Poland had to take the hit themselves and not force their recruiters to pay.
Rekruter decided to take this up with LinkedIn back in 2015, and Richard George from LinkedIn’s PR team came back to us with this response to our questions about pricing for Poland:
’We’re happy to be working with a fast-growing number of recruitment agencies across Central and Eastern Europe that are seeing great results from their experience with LinkedIn.’
Basically, tough. Pay it or don’t, and welcome aboard if you do.
The lack of any engagement with LinkedIn representatives about pricing was sad. But it wouldn’t have been terrible if LinkedIn would have done just one small thing.
When McDonalds started to hit the Central Eastern European markets, all that anybody really wanted was to have a Big Mac. With time, though, that changed, and so did McDonalds marketing strategy in the CEE countries. Suddenly you could buy the ‘Wiesmac’ instead of the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, and everything just looked a little bit more Polish. And, more importantly, it worked.
LinkedIn have the same opportunity in Poland. But instead, they push Influencers on their site from the U.S. and the UK. Richard Branson, James Caan and many others are on there. But no Polish Influencers. The only explanation being:
The question remains then. LinkedIn may currently dominate the Polish recruitment industry. But their lack of engagement with Polish recruiters and sales people may lead to their decline some time in the future. If they embrace Polish Influencers though, this may change. Joanna Parzydlo-Malinowska of HR Influencers or Rafal Brzoska of InPost are just two of the suggestions we would have for LinkedIn.
Maybe writing this story will shed some light on why Poland deserves better. From LinkedIn. From Pracuj. And from the rest of the World.
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