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On June 13, Microsoft announced the impending acquisition of professional social network LinkedIn in a cash deal valued at $26.2 billion. Microsoft expects to finalize the deal before the end of 2016 after receiving regulatory and shareholder approval. Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn effectively merges the world’s largest directory of professionals with the world’s most popular productivity software. Under Microsoft’s ownership, LinkedIn will retain its independence and corporate structure.
High-profile acquisitions are nothing new for Microsoft. The company’s recent purchases include game developer Mojang, online messaging company Skype and mobile phone maker Nokia. Investors and analysts have criticized some of Microsoft’s acquisitions for failing to bring the company substantial returns, and a few have expressed similar concerns about Microsoft’s prospects for seeing a return on what will become its largest acquisition to date.
One thing is certain: the acquisition merges the Office platform with a professional directory that’s 430 million members strong — and still growing rapidly. Companies looking online for talent will have access to more qualified individuals than ever, and reaching those individuals will be easier than ever. Is your company ready? Let’s take a look at the ways in which Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn can change your company’s hiring, training and assessment processes.
Connect With More Candidates
In speaking about the acquisition, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella clarified that although Microsoft Office and LinkedIn will eventually have the ability to share information, data won’t synchronize between the two services without users’ consent. Most people will give consent, though, leading to significant overlap between the two user bases. Merging LinkedIn with Office will allow Microsoft to gather a great deal of data. Applying machine learning algorithms to this data, Microsoft says, will simplify the hiring process by allowing recruiters to identify qualified individuals more easily than ever before.
With the larger pool of candidates that you can expect from the new LinkedIn, you’ll need a way to organize the process of pre-screening candidates via online assessments, tabulating results and scheduling interviews. That’s where integration with Office will come in handy; you’ll be able to select candidates from LinkedIn and automatically import their contact information directly into Outlook. From there, you’ll be able to send links to online assessments and schedule interviews. You’ll even be able to export candidates’ information back into LinkedIn and create groups for discussion and coaching if you wish.
Making Microsoft’s Tools More Productive
By giving Office the ability to draw information from LinkedIn, Microsoft expects to add features to its productivity suite that further differentiate it from the competition. When you connect your corporate LinkedIn profile to Office, LinkedIn will detect the types of projects you’re working on and automatically populate your profile with articles relevant to your industry.
Office, meanwhile, will be able to scan the contents of your documents and search LinkedIn for specialists with skills that might interest you. If you find someone who might be a good fit your company, you’ll be able to send a link to an online assessment without ever switching applications.
Microsoft also expects to give its virtual assistant Cortana an overhaul after acquiring LinkedIn. Cortana will be able to simplify the interview process by briefing your HR staff on candidates — using data drawn from their LinkedIn profiles — before they come in for interviews.
New Opportunities for Promotion
Some view Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn as a signal that the software giant plans to reenter the world of online advertising, potentially giving Microsoft an edge that Google and Facebook presently have. Google displays advertisements to Internet users based on the content of the websites they view. Facebook, meanwhile, displays advertisements based on users’ interests and demographics. By acquiring LinkedIn, Microsoft may give companies the ability to advertise to LinkedIn users based their job skills and career aspirations — something that’s likely to attract a lot of interest.
For corporate headhunters, identifying and reaching out to qualified candidates on networks such as LinkedIn is a way of life. It’s a highly effective way to recruit talent, but it can also be costly. In the future, you may be able to cast a much wider net when recruiting by displaying advertisements — targeted only to those with the skills your company needs — on popular Web properties such as Bing and MSN. You’ll even be able to pre-screen applicants by using online assessments as landing pages for advertisements.
When Microsoft completes its acquisition of LinkedIn, Microsoft Dynamics will become a more powerful CRM tool than ever before — and Dynamics experience is something you’ll want to test for when you conduct online assessments for new sales staff. Soon, Dynamics will have the ability to draw data from LinkedIn to recommend potential sales leads. Your sales staff will also be able to close more deals than ever, since they’ll already know about their leads’ interests and professional histories before making first contact.
Train With LinkedIn Learning, Test With Online Assessments
Microsoft plans to integrate Office with LinkedIn Learning, creating a new Office that will actually teach people how to use it. An employee will be able to open an Office application and take training courses on demand without leaving the application or even opening a browser window. Office will also have the ability to suggest an appropriate training course when it detects that an employee is having difficulty with a specific task. New hires will need less time to get up to speed, and existing employees will score higher in ongoing assessments.
By combining data drawn from Office, LinkedIn and online assessments, company executives will have access to more high-level data at a glance than ever before. It is already possible to log in to your corporate LinkedIn profile and see a snapshot of your workforce. In the future, you’ll be able to draw data from Office to see what people are working on right now. If a department isn’t meeting its productivity goals, you’ll know why. You’ll be able to hold online assessments, schedule people for training when needed and watch productivity increase — all from one interface.
Prepare for the Future Now
In acquiring LinkedIn, Microsoft will make Office more relevant than ever by adding social features. Office will even have the ability to train users automatically with integrated courses from LinkedIn Learning. HR professionals will be able to advertise open positions on some of the Web’s most popular properties and pre-screen them by sending them to online assessments that test their proficiency in required skills. Sales staff will be able to use LinkedIn to find more leads, and the information they gather will allow them to close more deals. Even Cortana will become more useful by briefing executives before meetings. Microsoft’s software will become more useful to businesses than ever by driving increased productivity and profitability.
Get ready for the future now. Use online assessments to test the proficiency of current and future employees at working with Microsoft’s tools and the LinkedIn network. Testofy allows you to create customized online assessments and send them to unlimited candidates. Pay a flat monthly rate, or pay only as individual candidates complete assessments. Get started for free today!