Why LinkedIn should be scared of Slack

or, how Slack can become the most powerful recruitment tool on the market

Kelsey Conophy
3 min readJul 13, 2015

Disclosure: I love Slack. Ever since our team started using it last year I’ve been an admirer of the product. Yes, it’s killing email (finally). Even more exciting, Slack has the potential to change almost everything else that is core to how businesses run, and I’m not just talking about small businesses like mine.

Let’s take hiring as an example. New talent has always come through one of three channels: promotions, consultants or connections. Companies can blast out openings through job boards, marketplaces, social media channels, and their careers page; they can hire 3rd party recruiters/agencies to source candidates for them; and they can recruit through their personal and employee networks.

If you ask any hiring manager, they will tell you employee referrals produce the best candidates, hands down. As a candidate, the chances of you receiving an offer after getting a referral are significantly higher than through any other channel. However, there are two big issues with referrals:

  1. Referrals are limited to the size of your employees’ personal networks.
  2. Employees aren’t always thinking about hiring for their company and candidates, especially passive candidates, don’t always ask for referrals.

Now, let’s talk about Slack. I recently started joining private Slack groups like NYCTech and DesignerChat. There are a ton of these. Whole sites have been built to help people find groups that might be relevant/interesting. (See www.chitchats.co and chats.directory) I rarely know more than a handful of people in each of the private Slack groups I’ve joined, which means as soon as I sign in I’ve exponentially grown my accessible network. By expanding my personal network, I’ve also expanded the network from which my company can recruit from.

It’s also worth noting that almost every single group I’ve joined has a #hiring channel. This creates a useful dynamic for candidates, where job posts tend to be relevant to the interest of the group (whether it be NYC Startups or Design). Even better is the fact that the people posting the jobs are accessible. A direct connection to an awesome opportunity is a simple DM away. Candidates can ask for details about the company and role, while employees can get to know the candidate and what they’re looking for.

Why should LinkedIn be scared? LinkedIn struggles to pull people back into it’s platform on a regular basis (their acquisition of Pulse and the creation of a Facebook-esque newsfeed are evidence of this). Interacting with LinkedIn is disruptive and takes time away from your work. Some companies don’t even want their employees to have profiles on LinkedIn because of poach-ability. In contrast, people are always on Slack at work. Slack is inherently more accessible and less intrusive as a recruiting tool. Slack is your daily workflow. Slack has the potential to do what LinkedIn does (connect people to relevant opportunities), and to do it much more effectively.

The fact these #hiring channels exist indicates a need. The opportunity to engage with passive (and active) candidates is massive and untapped, and something LinkedIn has struggled with. The product opportunities to take advantage of and service this need are huge, and that’s just within recruiting. Performance management, peer-to-peer feedback and learning & development could all be greatly improved with Slack, but, I’ll leave that for another post.



Kelsey Conophy

Creating bits, bobs, & big ideas. Product @ Attentive, Amazon, ARTA, Rent the Runway & Birchbox. Founder @ WorkZeit