Using the LinkedIn API

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 9:37pm Tuesday 01 December 2009

Last week, I wrote a blog post about how LinkedIn has released a public API for developers to build 3rd party applications using the database. Today, I thought I would show you how easy it was to create a application utilising the LinkedIn API. I want you to forget that LinkedIn is a social networking site, and think about it as a massive information database. A database you can now use to connect your job board/recruitment system with.

So what kind of integration could we build? Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post titled Share Your LinkedIn Profile showing how JobScore had integrated with LinkedIn to allow job seekers to attach their LinkedIn profile while applying for a job.

Candidates would authorise the application to connect with their LinkedIn profile and the ATS/recruitment system would pull the remote data back to the local system. I would assume the system periodically reconnected with LinkedIn to see if the profile has changed and update accordingly. 

Great! Now we have technical ability (providing the candidate has given consent and not revoked our access) to pull the remote data and automatically update our recruitment system.

I can see this integration being adopted with more job boards over time. In the future, there will be no need to upload your resume every time you apply for a job - you will store your resume on one site, and authorise the recruiter to remotely access your data at any time. A "universal resume" with a one click application process.

In the following example, I have used the LinkedIn API and PHP classes provided by LinkedPHP to connect and pull my profile data from the system.

There should be NO EXCUSE why your recruitment technology vendor is unable to integrate with LinkedIn. The interface script took around 5 hours to build and the hardest part of the process was the initial connection using oAuth.

The first step is to fully understand the documentation, basic profile fields available and signup for an API key.

To connect with LinkedIn, users will need to first authenticate your application using oAuth protocols.

Once the user has authorised your application, they will be redirected back to your website where you can place remote calls to access the data.

As you can see in the example below, I have nearly pulled all the allowed profile data as well as my connections details. You can also try out the online demo here or contact me for the PHP script. 

UPDATE 17th July 2010: We have removed this API demo, please see our new blog posts on LinkedIn methods