I’ve written like a bazillion times about Human Resources (starting with this post), and a handful of times about LinkedIn (starting with this one), and here now, the two topics come together based off a few recent activities in my life. I really don’t think LinkedIn has made recruiting that much better, in the sense of: “The goal of recruiting is to match the best people to the right opportunities, for both person and organization,” and frankly, I don’t think that’s happening at a more rapid clip in the LinkedIn era as before the LinkedIn era. I might be wrong — some would argue I am — and in reality, the problem is more likely about the overall hiring process, which is a fuggin’ mess.
Here are a couple of aspects of recent LinkedIn interaction that worry me, though.
1. I have a job now, so I’m not in the market for a job — and yet, I get a bunch of “Hey, I saw you on LinkedIn. Are you available?” e-mails and voice mails. Here’s the thing: if you saw me on LinkedIn, you would probably know I have a job and I haven’t had it that long. It doesn’t even require that much analysis to figure that out; it’s pretty much right there in front of you. I understand the mentality of a recruiter can still be “Well, there’s always a chance this person is available,” and that’s fine/great. But it seems like if you’re looking at someone on LinkedIn, you can glean a decent amount of information in about 10 seconds. It’s not rocket science, especially for someone like me, that throws up a lot of their life all over their profile.
2. The other day I got a message about doing this freelance thing, and the recruiter asked me for “a copy of my resume and some writing samples.” OK. That’s standard. Here’s the thing: we were talking via LinkedIn messages. I understand maybe she wanted a paper resume — it’s the same thing about people loving books instead of Kindles, in a way — but essentially, my resume is on LinkedIn. It’s right there. Just click my name and you can see where I worked, what I’ve done, etc. You won’t find that much strikingly different information on a paper resume. As for writing samples, everything I write posts to LinkedIn, and I self-publish on there too. So, uh, all writing samples are there too. Again, click my name and you can get all this stuff. It’s not rocket science. You’re actually adding a step by asking for it; you’re being less effective.
3. This isn’t a recent story, but when I was applying for jobs in Minneapolis, I set up a phone screen with a recruiter — again, through LinkedIn. She got on the phone and goes, “Your LinkedIn looks great! (pause) So you’re out of the Austin area, right?” Again … the second line of your LinkedIn profile says where you’re based. If you’ve been looking at me on there, it seems a reasonable assumption that you might know where I’m based presently. At least the state, no?
Here’s the bottom line with LinkedIn, IMHO:
- It’s definitely a cool service for finding people and making connections above your pay grade.
- In terms of recruiting, it made the process easier — but only for the recruiters. They can honestly be lazier now.
- It didn’t make the process more effective.
- You can make all the disruptive technologies in the world, but if the core people that need to use them don’t know the most effective ways to use them (i.e. find the people they need for the roles they have), the whole thing is kind of meh.
- I can also tell you from a mid-size sample size (my own job search last year) that many recruiters are middle-aged women (another large subset is 22 year-old women). I can’t understand the latter not mastering a web search technology, but I can wholly understand the former not doing so (and not wanting to change their culture of phone screens, etc.)