LinkedIn is adding commute times for jobs on its website, the latest in a growing series of integrations between the business social network and its new parent company Microsoft.
LinkedIn worked with Microsoft’s Bing Maps team on this project, which aims to add an accurate address to job pages so that job-seekers can see how far they’d have to commute to work by car, public transit or on foot. In a blog post, the company said it decided to focus on commute times following a recent survey it did finding 80 percent of people would take a pay cut in exchange for a quicker commute.
Commute times are available now on Linkedin’s mobile app and will be added to the desktop website in the coming months. The company would not say exactly what percentage of jobs now have commute times.
For jobs with commute times, a notification pops up upon opening the job page that reads “tap here to see the address and your commute.” After entering a home address and preferred commuting method, LinkedIn estimates how long it would take to get to the office.
Pulling off this new integration was no easy task. LinkedIn detailed the process in the blog post authored by Senior Software Engineer Jeffrey Lee, and one of the biggest challenges has been getting addresses for jobs.
“At the time of the project start, we had only collected low-granularity information about the location of each job from job posters, such as the city or the region where the job was located,” Lee wrote. “In order to help job seekers understand their potential commute time, we needed precise locations of jobs, so our first step was figuring out how to get this data.”
Turns out, there isn’t exactly a repository for this type of data. LinkedIn added the ability for job posters to enter an address that wouldn’t show up in the posting itself but provide guidance for the commute map, hoping companies would voluntarily participate in the program.
Only a small percentage of posters added addresses for jobs, and most jobs on the site are pulled from company websites and other public information. So LinkedIn undertook a multi-team effort to collect data on company addresses and then use that information to infer where specific jobs would be located. Here’s some more detail from Lee about how it works:
“Since we can never be entirely sure that the inferred address is correct, we allow multiple addresses to match the job. We look for any addresses associated with the company that posted the job which match the postal code of the job posting itself. If none are found, we check to see if the company has any addresses associated with it within the same city as the job posting. If either search returns results, these are saved as inferred addresses.”
All the job-seeker has to do is enter their address and commute preferences. LinkedIn and the Bing Maps teams used an API to find and create commute time isochrones — a series of destinations that could be reached in a given time from the starting address given by the user. That informs which jobs a user could reach in a certain time with each commute method.
Microsoft closed the $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, its largest buy ever, in December 2016. Since then, the combined companies have been steadily rolling out integrations like adding LinkedIn data into Office 365 programs such as Outlook.
Most of these integrations have been adding LinkedIn features into Microsoft products. Commute times represents one of the first instances the companies have leveraged Microsoft capabilities for a new prominent LinkedIn feature.