ProFinder is a new professional services marketplace that LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) is piloting across the U.S. It is a “freelancer for hire” site similar to Fiverr, Flexjobs or Upwork, designed to help businesses find local freelance talent.
How LinkedIn ProFinder Works
To request a service, the business owner or manager goes to the ProFinder website and answers the “What service do you need?” question located on the home page. Service types cover categories from accounting to design, legal to real estate and business consulting to photography, plus much more.
From there, ProFinder takes the person through a series of queries that help to define the specifics of the request. The person clicks the “Get free proposals” button to complete the submission.
Once a person makes a request, ProFinder then attempts to get up to five responses from local freelance professionals within 24 hours of the submission. Currently, LinkedIn members from any valid U.S. zip code can file a request for service.
LinkedIn sources a freelancer’s ProFinder profile information from their LinkedIn profile. It recommends that freelancers include their skills and experience in the profile summary and get a few recommendations from clients and colleagues if they don’t already have them.
“Whether or not you get hired can often depend on the quality of recommendations you have on your profile,” LinkedIn says. “Make sure you have relevant recommendations featured on your profile to attract more leads.”
LinkedIn also suggests that freelancer’s use Pulse, the publishing platform, as a venue to demonstrate their industry knowledge, expertise, experience and career accomplishments. LinkedIn displays posts on the person’s ProFinder profile.
Price for LinkedIn ProFinder
The cost to use ProFinder is free for anyone looking to post a project and hire freelancers.
Freelancers can submit up to ten proposals at no cost but after that must upgrade to the LinkedIn Premium Business Plus subscription ($48 per month) to continue submitting proposals.
ProFinder Takes Advantage of Shift in Human Capital Economy
The launch of ProFinder represents a fundamental shift in the human capital arena.
While LinkedIn’s platform has traditionally been the domain of “white collar” business professionals to grow their careers, this new tool reveals its understanding that a shift to a gig economy is taking place — one where each job seeker is a free agent and the employer-employee relationship becomes more of a collaborative business transaction than a hierarchy, as in the past.
Fred Goff, workforce advocate and CEO of Jobcase, a work-life social network frequented by 50 million members each month, has seen this transformation first-hand. In a telephone interview with Small Business Trends, he said that three challenges and opportunities characterize the shift in the human capital market:
Employers no longer manage employees’ careers — workers now take control of their own trajectories;
This new economy is even more prevalent for those without 4-year degrees;
Traditional job boards are dead — meaningful employer-employee relationships are made via networking.
“Right now, in the human capital space, we are all free agents,” he said. “The employee-employer relationship has broken down, and each person is in charge of his own career.”
Goff noted that the average 25-year-old has already held up to seven jobs, quite a shift from the Baby Boomer who had no more than a dozen across the span of his entire career. As such, the stigma associated with job hopping no longers exists.
“ln addition to employee-employer loyalty bonds breaking, there is also serious economic inequality happening among the working class,” Goff said. “Forty-seven percent of all households can’t cover a $400 expense. You couple that with free agency and what you see are people taking on work in addition to their day job. People are either switching to 1099 altogether or are augmenting their income.”
To reinforce Goff’s point, a post on the ProFinder blog states that the number of professionals who freelance while working full-time has “more than doubled in the past five years,” mainly for economic reasons.
Goff regards ProFinder not as disruptive but representative of a natural evolution for LinkedIn, where it acknowledges that a shift is taking place.
“With ProFinder, LinkedIn isn’t creating a trend but responding to one that currently exists,” he said. “It’s merely an extension of LinkedIn’s functionality.”
He mentioned that platforms like ProFinder are breaking down jobs into skills proficiencies, to accommodate the quickly changing work landscape.
“The types of work change so fast that it’s necessary for workers to distil down what they do into core elements so prospective employers can get insight into what else they could do,” he said. “ProFinder lends itself to that type of approach. It makes a person’s skillset discoverable.”
How Small Businesses Can Transition to New Human Capital Economy
Goff had this advice for small businesses transitioning into the new human capital model.
“Don’t waste money posting jobs or paying for access to resumes in a database,” he said. “Instead, small businesses should free up their talent acquisition spend to promote their local talent brand — what it’s like to work at your shop. Focus on retention hiring and avoid attrition. Get your local talent brand out there, and you will have a stickier hire.”