LinkedIn vs. Indeed: The Apply Button Smackdown!

How seriously do we take site simplicity at ZipRecruiter?

So seriously, we have on multiple occasions REMOVED wholly built features because they weren’t receiving wide enough adoption by our customers. (Nationwide posting – we hardly knew you.)

Therefore while it may seem like a no-brainer to add LinkedIn and Indeed Apply buttons to the site, we took nothing for granted.

After a two-week A/B test last February, we reached statistical significance and concluded that adding the two apply buttons increased the overall volume of applications by 5%.

That was against a run rate of 200k+ applications, so a 5% lift was an additional 10k applications per month.

To put the magnitude of that win into perspective, were ZipRecruiter to try to buy enough traffic to generate 10k incremental applications it would  cost us between $20k -$30k. This was a big win.

After our first full month of running both buttons, the breakdown of application method on ZipRecruiter looked like this:


  • Indeed Apply: 6.9% (12,564)
  • LinkedIn Apply: 6.4%  (11,599)
  • ZipRecruiter Apply: 86.7%  (157,589)

Just one month later…it looked like this:


  • Indeed Apply: 10.1% (22,003)
  • LinkedIn Apply: 6.6% (14,377)
  • ZipRecruiter Apply: 83.3% (180,616)

The raw volume of applications through the Indeed Apply button shot up 75%!

We believe the substantial increase stemmed from the introduction of the “Indeed Apply” icon to Indeed organic results.

In essence, Indeed was calling out to job seekers that some jobs would have  a simple and trusted method for application. Clearly job seekers appreciated the option.

In June, things got silly. The raw volume of applications through the Indeed Apply button went up ANOTHER 66% over May.


  • Indeed Apply: 16.0% (38,610)
  • LinkedIn Apply: 5.4% (13,017)
  • ZipRecruiter Apply: 78.6% (188,747)

In just 4 months the Indeed Apply button utilization increased over 200% — from 12k applications to nearly 40k applications in a single month. What’s more, the bulk of these applications appeared to be incremental. More candidates out of the same volume of traffic.

So why did this happen? Clearly the ever growing use of mobile devices by job seekers (where they can’t upload a resume) will drive increased application through 1-click methods.

But why did use of the Indeed Apply button so dramatically outpace LinkedIn Apply?

We believe there are two causes.

  1. When someone gives their resume to Indeed, they do so with the explicit intent of finding a job or changing jobs. Even though LinkedIn has a multi-year head start collecting resumes, the majority of their users are not engaged in an active job search.
  2. Indeed is RAPIDLY building the size of their resume database. We asked Indeed for a run-rate and they told us they are adding more than 1 million new resumes a month. That’s a staggering volume of active job seekers set up to use the Indeed Apply button.

The final big question in our analysis was which type of candidates are using each apply method? We looked at 10 hard-to-fill job categories from June for an answer:

With both the Indeed and LinkedIn apply buttons available, the Indeed Apply button handily drove more candidates to skilled positions. The one category in which LinkedIn still maintains an edge is where you’d expect – Management and Executive roles.

As we said in last month’s job board rankings Indeed is not just growing fast, they are also innovating. The Apply Button is just one more way they’re attracting an ever-larger market share of job search on the web.

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Posted in HR & Recruitment, ZipRecruiter
  • Linkedintome

    This is weak analysis.

    Look at and see how much more traffic you get from and your apply rate from indeed should be even higher.

    Its not rocket science here

    • Ian Siegel

      You are correct Indeed sends more traffic BUT per our Google Analytics, overall traffic from Indeed has stayed flat over the four months analyzed. No change.

      The massive spike in applications is a real phenomena not correlated to traffic.

      • Linkedintome

        Youre not getting it. If 80% of your traffic is from indeed. This means nearly everyone viewing your jobs are indeed users.

        So using the Indeed apply button from indeed is obviously going to be the drastic winner of all button options.

  • Linkedintome

    In addition, if you still keep thinking its apples to apples because indeed traffic remained constant. Indeed launched the apply button not long ago. The increase is only due to indeed pushing their users to add their resumes to apply faster with “indeed apply” thats the correlation.

    If you took the sample from just google/yahoo/bing referred traffic then tell us how the comparison looked would be better.

    • Ian Siegel

      Pointing out that Indeed just launched their apply button a few months ago is reinforcing the core assertion of the post. Adoption of the Indeed Apply button is RAPIDLY outpacing LinkedIn.

      You can’t exclude Indeed traffic from the analysis because the fundamental question is do you get more applicants from the same volume of visitors with one apply button, two apply buttons, or neither.

      BOTH apply buttons were available as an option on every job. Regardless of where the user came from they were given a choice.

      (I think) a better follow up question to this post would be which button drives more hires? There may be a difference in the caliber of candidate using each button, but unfortunately ZipRecruiter doesn’t have that data. Maybe one of the larger Applicant Tracking Services will repeat our test and track it all the way through to hire.

  • Ray

    The bottom line is who provides the applicants and ultimatly the hire. LinkedIn has a great professional DB, but they are not a job search company. Indeed drives applications and hires. Companies who use Indeed Apply will generate more hires at a lower cost.

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  • Chris Forman

    Ian – great post. You’re the Nate Silver of recruiting.

  • fddyb

    I haven’t used ZipRecruiter for months because there’s no RSS feed. I thought I’d check again today, and ended up here. So, why no RSS feed?

    How would you like it if Gmail sent you one email per day, with all you other emails listed in it? Not optimal !! It’s the same with the job alerts.

    I can’t just go through them one by one and check them off in an email or in the web search, like I can in an RSS reader. Instead, from Ziprecruiter I would get 5 to 20 job listings in one email and didn’t even know if I had already investigated the jobs, or not, or if they were a good match, or not. I’d end up looking over some listings 3 or 4 or 5 times. Not to mention if I had free time I couldn’t just pop over and see if there were any new ones. I had to wait for the daily email.

    It was a huge frustrating waste of time. And the sad thing was, Zip was actually my favorite job board.

    If it’s because of ads and revenue … ads still show in the feed reader, so … why then? It really is 50 times easier in a feed reader.

    I put the other job boards in my feed reader and just look over the jobs one by one as the come in, and check them off as ‘not a good fit’, or apply to them.

    You say you are responsive. Put up an RSS feed, please.

    • Rachel Dotson

      Well, fddyb, I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but I don’t believe we’ve ever had a real conversation about adding an RSS option. Thanks to your comment, we’re now discussing it. I can’t promise anything, except that I will keep you updated with whatever we decide as soon as we decide. Thanks for the excellent suggestion and for taking the time to share it with us.

    • Rachel Dotson

      Update! An RSS option for job searches is now in our ticketing system. I’m not sure when it will be completed, but we’re officially on our way. Thanks again.

      • Rex Boyd

        Rachel, how is this ticket progressing? I too love Ziprecruiter, but without RSS, my use of it is significantly marginalized.

    • Rachel Dotson

      Rex, I’m sorry to say that we haven’t made any progress on RSS at this time. I hope I can tell you differently in the future. Thanks for checking in.

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