In a Thursday blog post, LinkedIn announced plans for a new feature that is expected to aid job hunters and hiring managers by helping users search for open positions by their estimated commute time.
The new feature, Commute Time, came in response to a recent LinkedIn survey that found that more than 80% of respondents would take a pay cut for a shorter commute time, the LinkedIn blog post stated. Commute Time will allow members to see the estimated commute time while browsing jobs, save their preferences, and see which jobs have shorter commute times.
The opportunity for this new feature arose after partnering with Bing Maps, another result of Microsoft’s purchase of the professional social network in 2016. The feature will appear as «Commute Time Module» on the job detail page. The phrase «Job Favor» will appear on a job listing if the commute time matches the user’s saved preference.
According to the blog post, the system will operate on an Isochrone API introduced by the Bing Maps team.
«Isochrones are borders of equal travel time containing the area reachable within a specified time duration, starting location and mode of transportation,» the post stated.
These isochrones are represented as multipolygons of latitude-longitude vertices. The post stated that a multipolygon approach was appropriate because transit commutes can often result in «forests» of polygons.
According to the post, the feature will generate an isochrone gradient while factoring in the user’s travel preferences to create more useful recommendations. If a user’s preferred travel time is listed as 30 minutes, the feature will not only recommend the isochrones for 30-minute commutes, but also for 15- and 10-minute commutes.
The blog post mentioned a problem in creating a database when job posters failed to provide an address for their place of business and only provided a city. To try to tackle this problem, the LinkedIn and Bing Maps teams created the «Bing Autosuggest API» that limits the types of entities to addresses and cities.
This feature adds to LinkedIn’s continued focus on making the social network into a more effective tool in the hiring process. The network previously added features that made it easier to ask for referrals and to connect professionals with mentors.
The Commute Time feature could be beneficial in house-hunting too, as many professionals are flocking to new cities in search of better tech jobs. Recent WalletHub research found that the three best cities for STEM professionals to live are Seattle, Boston, and Pittsburgh. The worst were Memphis, Northport, and Jackson.
Questions of whether or not this feature is entirely necessary could be raised considering the new push toward working remotely in tech. As noted in a TechRepublic report, the number of professionals working remotely continues to rise due to its benefits.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- LinkedIn’s new Commute Time feature helps professionals find a job with a preferred commute time, instead of geographic distance.
- Personalized data is helping the job hunting and hiring process, but commute times may be less critical as remote work grows in popularity in tech.