HR Tech Interview with Erica Lockheimer, VP of Engineering at LinkedIn

Journey into Tech

Hi, Erica, welcome to the HRTech Interview Series. Please tell us about your journey in the technology industry. What inspired you to start at LinkedIn?

I’m often asked what brought me to LinkedIn and what keeps me at LinkedIn. When I joined LinkedIn 13 years ago, I simply wanted to learn to build at scale. The problems you solve and build for 100+ million users are very different compared to what you build for only thousands of users from my prior experience. And wow, it did not disappoint. I had to learn to build at scale fast as we were growing fast. I needed to ensure our systems scaled, our site was up, and add all new instrumentation that didn’t exist to measure how we were doing to then improve and build better solutions.

What keeps me at LinkedIn to this day is that I get to continue to learn as the bar for building the right experiences for our members and customers increases. More importantly, it’s the mission of the company and that we truly impact people’s lives, equipping them with opportunities from learning a new skill, getting a new job, connecting to the right people to helping companies succeed. It feels great to work at a company that aligns my values to make the world a better place.

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What’s LinkedIn’s HR technology roadmap for the next 2 years?

In the coming years, we will continue to invest in tools that help recruiters and job seekers make connections that lead to economic growth and opportunity. This will include advancing our AI capabilities to help both job seekers and recruiters be more productive, efficient, and strategic.

How do you plan to integrate newer AI and machine learning models into your existing offerings for recruiters?

Building AI into our talent products isn’t new. From job recommendations to candidate recommendations in LinkedIn Recruiter, we use AI to help hirers attract the best possible candidate with the right skills for the role. Looking ahead, we’re excited to continue building new features that will help recruiters navigate the ever-changing hiring market.

We’re using AI to power features that support better matching, broaden talent pools, and give recruiters a smart jumpstart on creating content, like InMails or job descriptions, more efficiently. These features give both job seekers and recruiters more visibility and opportunity, and let them dedicate more time to building meaningful connections.

How does the AI capability in LinkedIn Recruiter make hiring easier for managers? Could we see complete automation of recruiter features in the coming months?

We know that the majority (75%) of hirers hope that generative AI can free up time for more strategic work and that two-thirds (67%) hope that generative AI can help them uncover new candidates, according to our research. That’s why we’re testing things like AI-powered job descriptions and AI-assisted messages to help hirers streamline their hiring process so they can focus on the most strategic parts of their hiring process – like speaking to and building relationships with candidates.

We also use AI in LinkedIn Recruiter to help hirers find the right candidate based on skills, shared values, and how and where people want to work.

With AI, recruiters can find and hire candidates based on their skills as opposed to work experience or where they went to school. We’ve recently launched things like Skills Match so that you can see a candidate’s skills within Recruiter and determine if the candidate is a match for the job you’re recruiting for, as well as Resume Search, which pulls relevant skills from a candidate’s resume and displays it in the Skills Match section of the candidate’s profile in Recruiter.

What are the biggest challenges you think AI could solve for LinkedIn users?

For recruiters, we know that some tasks – like writing job descriptions or candidate messages – can take a lot of time. With AI and our economic graph data, we can help solve this. That’s why we’re using AI to help streamline some of these day-to-day tasks so recruiters can increase candidate engagement and spend their time building meaningful connections with candidates.

We are seeing the rampant use of generative AI tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E for recruitment and talent engagement purposes. Could you tell us what are the limitations of using AI-assisted messages in the era of hyper-personalization?

We know that personalization works. When recruiters personalize InMails, they see a 40% increase in acceptance rates. But, we know that manually researching each candidate and personalizing every message is nearly impossible to do at scale. That’s where our recently announced AI-generated InMails for recruiters can help.

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However, maintaining the human element while utilizing these tools will be crucial to ensuring that recruiters and talent professionals make sincere connections with candidates and employees. As we continue to build AI-powered products and features, we’re utilizing LinkedIn data and insights to help recruiters and job seekers create personalized messages and experiences. We also offer LinkedIn members and customers the ability to customize AI outputs. This helps provide value in time savings while building lasting and strong connections and rapport with a network of candidates and recruiters.

Please tell us more about your technology partnership ecosystem and how it holds the key to building the future with AI in the HR Tech industry?

We use Microsoft’s powerful Azure OpenAI and in-house generative AI models to build tools that serve our members and customers by generating content in response to prompts. Moving forward, we’ll continue to use a combination of external and internal resources to enhance our products based on individual use cases and product needs.

Lighter notes:

  1. Burn the midnight candle or soak in the sun? Soak in the sun
  2. Coffee, or Tea? Coffee
  3. Your favorite LinkedIn feature you want everyone to try out? I can’t answer this. Too many things! The feed, messaging to connect, LinkedIn Learning, search to find and learn about people, and job-seeking capabilities to help people find that next opportunity!
  4. First memorable experience in your career as a technology leader? Finding the confidence and power of my voice to influence change for better outcomes. I’m grateful to be a Founder of Women In Tech at LinkedIn!
  5. One thing you remember about your employee (s): Always focus on trust and building a relationship first with the people you work with.
  6. Most useful app that you currently use: LinkedIn

Thank you, Erica! That was fun and hope to see you back on HR Tech Series soon.

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Erica Lockheimer is the VP of Engineering at LinkedIn, overseeing the LinkedIn Talent Solutions suite.  Her teams oversee LinkedIn Learning (formerly known as and LinkedIn Talent Solutions (connecting members to career opportunities and helping recruiters find the best candidates for their companies).She has been at LinkedIn since 2010, starting out as Sr. Director of Engineering where Erica created the Growth team from the ground up and deepened engagement with members across LinkedIn’s products.  During her tenure, Erica created the Women In Tech (WIT) program .


Founded in 2003, LinkedIn connects the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. With more than 850 million members worldwide, including executives from every Fortune 500 company, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. The company has a diversified business model with revenue coming from Talent Solutions, Marketing Solutions, Sales Solutions and Premium Subscriptions products. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, LinkedIn has offices across the globe.