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LinkedIn CEO: The Forgotten Interview

Linkedin CEO Jeff Weiner (C) walks to the trading post after the ringing of the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange May 19, 2011 during the initial public offering of the company.
Stan Honda | AFP | Getty Images
Linkedin CEO Jeff Weiner (C) walks to the trading post after the ringing of the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange May 19, 2011 during the initial public offering of the company.

When I interviewed Jeff Weiner last summer on my show, it was the first time he was on CNBC. It obviously wasn’t about the massive IPO that’s all the buzz lately. It was the first Friday in June, so I asked him on to get his insight about hiring ahead of the jobs report that month.

“People are searching for you or people like you whether you like it or not,” Weiner told me about the site he refers to as a professional “matchmaking site.”

He said LinkedIn had reached what he felt was a critical mass of users. That, couple that with an uptick in online recruiting, and Weiner gloated of companies like Accenture , who did 40 percent of their hiring (50,000 people at the time) on sites like his and Home Depot , who hired 88,000 people on LinkedIn.

Oh, and he just loved the story of Oracle finding its CFO on LinkedIn.

“More often than not the ideal candidate is in a job they are already happy with. Historically it’s been challenging for recruiters because there hasn’t been enough scale in passive candidates,” he said.

Weiner knows size matters but long-term, he knew even back then, it’s not the only thing.

“It’s not just the size of the index, it’s the relivancy of the index,” Weiner told me explaining that the company plans to invest more in algorithims that let recruiters narrow down candidates like Pandora lets listerns narrow down their favorite music.

As Weiner kept talking about Linkedin in the context of other social sites, I asked the obvious Facebook and privacy question.

“Facebook is largly a social utility platorm—killer applications, status updates, social gaming, sharing images. LinkedIn is a professional network,” he told me. “Privacy is going to be fundamental to any era of the web that provides a lot of sharing, provides disclosure of your identity. The key distinction is that as a professional you want people to know want to know who you.”

So what can my conversation with Weiner almost a year ago tell us about today’s hullaballoo? Well, first: if Weiner expects to essentially take “market share” away from large companies HR departments, how will he monetize that? And, second: is privacy going to come back to bite them?

Those are today's $350 million questions.

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