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LinkedIn Job Roulette: A career suicide game?

In the July 18, 2017 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, LinkedIn members reveal how they use the network to commit career suicide.

Question

Do you think LinkedIn has lost whatever promise it once had for people hoping participation would lead to job leads and better positions? Does it have any value now to the job seeker, or to the person seeking a better position than the one they currently have? Thank you for your thoughtful commentary.

LinkedInNick’s Reply

LinkedIn once showed promise as the leading professional network. Sadly, today it is at best merely an online directory. I think CEO Jeff Weiner sold out LinkedIn’s original mission when he first hired a boiler room of phone jockeys to sell “seats” to recruiters. This instantly turned LinkedIn into just another job board. The Microsoft acquisition seems to have had no meaningful impact on LinkedIn’s business model.

LinkedIn sells dope to dopes

When it told members to upload their contacts and tacitly encouraged them to connect to every connection of everyone they knew, LinkedIn devalued all those professional relationships. In generating every meaningless “contact” possible, LinkedIn could claim that every person and employer could make every possible job match. All its members had to do was ask.

And ask they did — and ask they do. You and I get their requests every day.

LinkedIn turned the delicate matter of approaching the right employer about the right job into a game of roulette. Every spin through millions of “contacts” leads to a beggar’s banquet at the world’s biggest professional-data dumpster, where everyone gambles for scraps.

Job search as gambling addiction is now the preferred way to commit career suicide. While publishing “career content” that urges members to make only quality connections (wink, wink), LinkedIn’s system facilitates and speeds up random, stupid, embarrassing and potentially self-destructive begging for jobs.

LinkedIn’s connection engine — LinkedIn messaging — is the new mail merge. It makes otherwise intelligent, capable, respectful people look like idiots. LinkedIn sells dope to people it turns into dopes. Every time I get a LinkedIn message announcing that someone I don’t know wants me to read their profile and lead them to “an opportunity,” I want to connect them to an addiction clinic. They’re not looking for jobs — they’re avoiding talking to employers.

Do you know what you look like?

Long ago, most LinkedIn users stopped being selective about accepting connection requests (see Join My LinkedIn Gang-Bang) because more connections meant higher status. Now the value of your n-th connection is probably zero. LinkedIn is a useful research tool, but forget about it as a networking tool. Look up people you want to do business with, but make contact with them the old fashioned way: through trusted referrals that actually know you. That still works best.

A person panhandling on a city street corner knows what they look like. Does this LinkedIn member who contacted me through LinkedIn Messenger know what he looks like?

Nick, My name is [Name]. I am looking for a position in healthcare. Do you know of/have any openings? Thank you.

He looks desperate and clueless — lost in the job market. Why would I recommend or hire someone who doesn’t know how to approach the right employer? Why would I want a healthcare worker who gambles with his reputation? Why would I want him working with my patients or customers?

Job panhandling

Let’s take a look at some of the panhandling requests I get via LinkedIn from people I don’t know who don’t know me. I don’t respond to most of these, but I sometimes fantasize about the snarky replies I’d send them.

Hello Nick, I’m currently looking for a full time job as an analyst or client/project manager. Please take a look at my professional and education background on my LinkedIn page. Kindly consider my application for any current or future employment opportunities. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks, [Name and cellphone number]

Nicks’ Snarky Reply

My responses to each sentence of that query, respectively:

  1. Who cares?
  2. How will looking at your LinkedIn page pay off for me?
  3. No.
  4. Don’t bother.
Hi Nick, I hope you’re well. I am interested in learning if we can work together. I am an MIT alum with 4 yrs experience running a startup in Silicon Valley, and am currently looking for a FT role (open to industries). Is this something you specialize in? Thank you. [Name and cellphone number]

Nick’s Snarky Reply

You went to MIT and you’re panhandling strangers for a job? Is this how you got your startup funding, by spamming venture capitalists? If you don’t know what I specialize in, why did you contact me?

Hello Nick, Thank you for Linking. I am currently seeking the next chapter of my 20-year marketing career. Throughout my career, I have established a reputation as a leader who is driven by challenge, undeterred by obstacles, and committed to furthering standards of excellence. My expertise encompasses business development and marketing administration, from controlling costs and maximizing revenues to harnessing team strengths to improve brand awareness, client service, and project performance. Further, my ability to build consensus among executive teams and stakeholders to promote transparency and influence positive change has been repeatedly proven. I have attached my resume for review and am excited about this next chapter of my career and hearing about any new opportunities that are out there. Sincerely, [Name and telephone number]

Nick’s Snarky Reply

You work in marketing and you can’t write a note that instantly makes me want to call you? You want to hear about “any” opportunity? Paint my house.

Hi Nick, hope you doing great. we specialize in IT consulting and provide manpower ,if you have any open position you can contact me on [telephone number] or email me your requirement details at [e-mail address]. Regards, [Name] Business development Executive [Company]

Nick’s Snarky Reply

How’d you sneak in among job seekers? You specialize in IT consulting? Everybody specializes in IT consulting! Do you paint houses?

Nick, do you headhunt now? I need a job! Sorry to be so dense. I could really use someone to help me get my next great job in the greater NYC area. Thanks so much! [Name]

Nick’s Actual Reply

Please check these two articles:

Headhunters find people, not jobs

They’re not headhunters

You have a common misconception. It doesn’t matter how much you need a job. The best headhunters will not help you find a job. They focus on the assignments their client companies give them — and they go looking for the people their clients need.

Do not rely on headhunters in any way. If one finds you, great — but that’s like counting on lottery winnings to pay your mortgage.

Hi Nick, Thanks for connect. I am looking for Job change, would you dont mind to help me with relevant job opening matching my current job role pls. Currently working with [Company] as Sr Manager content/ OTT domain responsible for EMEA and India markets distribution across digital channels, formats & screens, managing annual revenue portfolio of $ 10 MN. Shall remain at your disposal. Regards, [Name]

Nick’s Snarky Reply

Yes, you shall remain in my disposal! Regards!

How to search for a job

You search for a job by identifying companies that make products or deliver services you’d like to work on. (See Pursue Companies, Not Jobs.) Then you figure out — figure out — what problems and challenges those companies face in running their business.

Most important, you carefully and thoughtfully pick a handful of your skills that you could apply to those problems and challenges, and you prepare a brief business plan showing how you’d use those skills to make the business more successful.

(Note that this does not involve reading job postings.)

Then you hang out with people who have business with the company, for as long as it takes to make friends with them, until they get to know you well enough that they’re happy to refer and recommend you personally to the manager whose department you could clearly help.

That’s how you connect with a job. You don’t ask someone else to do the work. Because they won’t.

How to commit career suicide

When you hang out on an online street corner (LinkedIn is just a street corner), throwing handbills (your profile) at passersby you don’t know who don’t know you — and expect one of them might take you by the hand and lead you to a good, well-paying job — you commit career suicide.

When people in your line of work recognize you on that street corner — or meet you later — they realize you’re undisciplined, lost, thoughtless, and incapable of demonstrating your value to the handful of employers that would really benefit from working with you.

I want to ask those who sent me the above requests, did you calculate what happens when all of my (or anyone’s) LinkedIn contacts send such queries to all their connections? LinkedIn makes money! But you kill your career. Your blind solicitations make you a dead man walking.

It’s embarrassing. Begging opportunities from people you don’t know that don’t know you reveals that your judgment stinks. Playing LinkedIn job roulette is a sign that you’re addicted to gambling. And people who gamble are bad risks in anyone’s business — or professional circle.

What kinds of LinkedIn solicitations do you get from people you don’t really know? Is LinkedIn a job hunting tool? Or an excuse for not job hunting?

ADDENDUM

In the comments section below, reader Cynthia Wharton, a headhunter, explains better than I have how LinkedIn has become the career suicide game de rigeur. When they use the tools LinkedIn conveniently provides to easily spam all of kingdom come with “requests” for job leads and introductions to employers, users kill any interest a good headhunter or employer might have in them.

Says Wharton:

I steer a wide birth away from Linked In candidates and resort to what I do best, headhunting the perfect fit via my own network and other avenues that have been successful in my career.

She steers away because over-exposed LinkedIn candidates appear desperate and undesirable:

…candidates have over saturated their resumes out via Linked In and I cannot consider them if they have already sent their details to the employer I have in mind for them…

And it’s not only headhunters who don’t want sloppy seconds. Wharton notes that employers steer away, too:

I am finding many of the companies I do placements for, have indicated they are exceptionally frustrated by the daily inundation of unsolicited applicants. I’ve had several tell me that when they see a resume come in from the site, they instantly drag it into their trash folder. They know full well that every one of their industry competitors more than likely also has it as well. Why would they hire someone who may be constantly contacted by other employers?

That’s what I mean when I suggest LinkedIn is a game of career suicide. Thanks to Wharton for explaining it better than I did. Please read the rest of her comments below.

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77 Comments
  1. Judging by the LinkedIn messages I get, those who send them don’t even read the profile. (What part of retired don’t you understand, chump?)
    BTW, did you see the OpEd piece in the Times a few days back by a hiring manager who wondered why the flood of resumes he received had nothing to do with his job posts? (Letters about it were in today’s paper.) Could have come straight from ATH.

    • @Scott: This is my favorite letter in response to the NY Times op-ed:

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/16/opinion/if-you-really-want-that-job.html

      To the Editor:

      Allan Ripp describes the numerous job e-applications he has received from astonishingly unqualified job seekers.

      At my company, we have eliminated this problem. We accept applications only on paper, in an envelope and delivered to our door by the Postal Service or other courier. Only the extremely well-qualified take the time needed to reply.

      CORNELIUS N. GROVE, BROOKLYN

      Note my bold at the end. The trouble with job postings and job applicants is that they are essentially free. When there is a cost in making selections, the quality of the results goes way up. Employers who have to pay serious bucks to recruit do so more thoughtfully. Job seekers who have to work at what they submit to each employer choose more thoughtfully.

      • I just read all 353 comments left on Ripp’s piece, the majority of which blast him for being so condescending and out of touch. In case you missed it, he appears with his own comment where he clearly still doesn’t “get it” and continues to blame the job seekers, “I wish to thank everyone who has taken the time to comment to my resume essay – so many thoughtful responses, even the hostile ones! I do think the online environment has turned many job seekers into the employment equivalent of channel surfers using remote control to fast-forward their viewing options. We’ve come a long way from days when you could circle a few relevant categories in the Sunday Help Wanted section of this newspaper and talk up your transferable skills in a cover letter, but even then you got carbon copies of the same application. I take all of these contrary views into consideration. It does seem to be a seller’s market right now – that is, with near-peak employment, the job seekers actually have more power than they realize over those doing the hiring. Thank you again….Allan Ripp” (Gee, if it’s a job seeker’s market, then why did he receive so many resumes? Makes no sense to me…)

        • @Sighmaster

          I read something recently where the problem is that wages have stagnated over the last decade (or even longer!) or so. Point being, even though we are at full employment, people are still not being compensated well enough to consider staying so that’s why the average job ad still gets “too many applicants.”

      • Conversely, I’ve seen some companies that specifically state all correspondence regarding job hunting must be done electronically. They no longer accept paper applications of any kind. Some state this very gleefully, as if they’re technically elite 21st Century foxes.

        • Cornelius gets it. He’s saying paper resumes make both the applicant and the employer choose more carefully and work harder to make a match. There’s still no technology that can do that.

      • @Scott. I am really old school. I have been a practicing engineer for a very long time. Before the Internet descended upon us, companies used to put large expensive quarter page recruiting ads in trade journals and in newspapers serving technical communities. Only job seekers who read these journals or lived in those technical communities had access to these ads. Of course paper only application submissions in the form of handwritten or more usually typed letters were acceptable. These filters greatly reduced the irrelevant applicant clutter and also greatly increased the probability that the letters would at least be read by a human being even if that person was a technically illiterate HR staffer.

    • In response to the LinkedIn messages, I have relegated those to the SPAM bin. I think that says it all :(

  2. LinkedIn is valuable to me as a hiring manager. The people I’ve hired in the last 6 months have all been people who appeared in my LinkedIn search results and responded to my InMail. Is it perfect? No. But it certainly provides a service to me, and that service is significantly faster hiring by eliminating the need for a recruiter.

    • @Liz: When a manager is willing to devote the necessary time to actively search profiles and contact people herself, that’s half the work. It seems you’re using LinkedIn to research people and to pursue them, not to field applicants that come to you. There’s a big difference.

      The problem is not LinkedIn itself, except insofar as the company promotes fielding “who comes along.” The problem is the same when employers use lousy recruiters or their own HR departments — they interview who comes along rather then pursue who they want.

      My compliments!

      • “The problem is the same when employers use lousy recruiters or their own HR departments – ”

        That seems to sum up most employer failings regarding their search for talent. Nonetheless, we continually see people bashing headhunters – true headhunters, NOT dime-a-dozen “recruiters.”

        “- they interview who comes along…”

        True. Like a self-proclaimed “fisherman” who stands along the bank of a river waiting for a few dead fish to float by. This so called “fisherman” will only reach out to any dead fish that comes within a foot of the shore.

        Meanwhile the talented fish are swimming near the center of the river, deep, and upstream. These fish are ones headhunters bring to the surface that lousy recruiters and robot HR staff scare away and/or are clueless about.

        • Love ya, Chris S.

          “a self-proclaimed “fisherman” who stands along the bank of a river waiting for a few dead fish to float by”

    • “…significantly faster hiring by eliminating the need for a recruiter.”

      That seems to be the way the world has been going for quite some time now. “Faster is better.” There’s a reason I stopped going to most fast food restaurants years ago and run the opposite direction when an employer appears to be desperate.

      Liz, do most HMs in your industry rank recruiters with speed being a top characteristic?

      No headhunter would take on that train wreck unless they’re making marketing calls with an MPC already in hand. However, “recruiters” will play the speed round hand (paper hanging) all day long. Recruiters may come and go but there’s a reason headhunters are paid WELL for their services – even by companies that have staff “recruiters” and a fully staffed HR department.

      Best of luck in the fast lane.

      • Speed should be critical in any hiring situation. If a company isn’t feeling the pain of missed opportunities and work piling up, why are they investing in headcount? Having an open position costs me money, so yes, I want my open positions filled yesterday.

        That’s not to say that speed is an acceptable trade-off for quality, and I don’t think speed and quality are mutually exclusive. I spoke with dozens of candidates over the course of 3 months, and I turned most of them down. Had I waited on a recruiter, I guarantee that position would still be open and I would still be losing money.

        • “…why are they investing in headcount?”

          Most HM/As prefer to “invest” in A-players that Nick has told us increase revenue and/or reduce costs while solving problems. Interesting how you chose the chilly accounting minded “headcount” descriptor. Hmmm.

          “Investing” requires planning – pre-planning.

          As Nick mentioned in one of his publications, top HA/Ms don’t wait till they’re hip deep and up the creek without a paddle. In fact, top HA/Ms continuously “recruit” for candidates and even snag great talent ahead of the competition by CREATING a position – ahead of time, if needed.

          On the other side of the coin, you do realize that many companies are required by state law to notify their domicile state of threshold “layoffs” at least 30 days in advance? Yep, this requires PLANNING ahead of time – speed is not an issue. Those companies that can’t or won’t plan get hefty fines from the state for failure to provide notice. This prevents companies from hastily (speed) casting off employees.

          “Had I waited on a recruiter, I guarantee that position would still be open and I would still be losing money.”

          Seems many companies are “losing” money during a perpetual talent “shortage” because they want purple squirrel “guarantees” from “recruiters.”

          You do realize Nick was/is a headhunter don’t you? As my prior post indicated, headhunters are head and shoulders above typical recruiters.

          Companies that continuously wait for “pain” prior to acting soon find themselves in the red, if not bankrupt. Worse yet, true talent bolts LONG before this fiasco develops, leaving the company with B and C players who spend the majority of their time putting out fires. Gee, what a wonderful working envirnoment.

          “I spoke with dozens of candidates over the course of 3 months, and I turned most of them down.”

          As was already mentioned in this blog and repeated by ATH – quality of quantity.

          What HM/A has time to speak with “…dozens of candidates…”? The quality of your industry contacts must be weak which is why a headhunter (NOT a “recruiter”) would have provided you 3-5 quality candidates well under your solo “3 month” tour of duty.

          Did you calculate how much “money” you (and your coworkers) lost over those “3 months”? Said inclusive (aggregate) figure most likely surpassed a headhunters fee.

          How many of your coworkers would you classify as A-players?

          If your answer isn’t “ALL” then start p-l-a-n-n-i-n-g accordingly…

          • I think you nailed it, Chris S.

            The other thing question along those lines of your thinking is why can’t a manager take someone who may be a “B-Player” with some desirable qualities/attributes and develop them?

            Certainly, a “promising rookie” working for you for three months is better than an empty chair for the same time period?

            • “take someone who may be a “B-Player” with some desirable qualities/attributes and develop them?”

              I agree.

              “Certainly, a ‘promising rookie’…”

              They’re out there for sure. Do recall that the risk still remains when one looks to “fill a chair” versus investing in a good fit (another blog topic onto its own). This is why researching the industry, company (status, culture, etc.), and then the job opportunity as Nick suggests is the best chance for rookies to get their foot in the door. We all realize that as once promising rookies ourselves, showing we could do the job with limited experience was a job in itself.

              Also, remember that the purple squirrel syndrome is still alive and well across many industries as evidenced by many, many ATH blogs over the years backed by government under/unemployed stats.

              Thanks to Nicks publications, his blogs, and our own individual in-the-field experiences we know that there are few companies willing to truly “develop” employees much less deal with a green rookie. By “few companies” I mean a limited number that actually substantially train or otherwise properly nurture employees as was done decades ago. Also, too often onboarding is given short shrift (ten minute “welcome”) or is nonexistent.

              Although I completely empathize with Liz’s “speed” theory and the desire for talent to start on day one running with the torch, we witness too many instances of turnover, burnout, project “do overs” and other consequences of “fill the chair now”, rush rush mentality that demoralizes staff left in the wake to “fix” the mess.

              Dave, one would expect your common sense would be applied by management across the board yet we consistently see otherwise. And so it goes…

            • Dave,

              You wrote:

              Certainly, a “promising rookie” working for you for three months is better than an empty chair for the same time period?

              I would even go so far as to say a company that would rather look outside its won workforce for A players is losing even more than the 3 months. When B+ folks are continually passed over for somebody new from the outside, how long before they find a company that thinks “This gal would be great for us with a little help. Let’s bring her on board and give her the training she needs to excel!”?

              I realize that a lot of companies also think: “If we train them they will take their training to another company.” Do I even need to explain how self-defeating that kind of thinking is?

            • @Michael Enquist

              “I realize that a lot of companies also think: “If we train them they will take their training to another company.” Do I even need to explain how self-defeating that kind of thinking is?”

              This is just a cop out people use to justify poor behavior.

              As I alluded to in a different comment (to Sighmaster), even though we’re supposedly at “full employment,” salaries have been stagnant. This is baffling to economists as you’d think labor is in short supply and companies would have to pay more to keep employees. You can’t expect to pay someone as a “junior” when they eventually start pumping out senior level work.

              Second, you need to figure out creative ways to keep people. Companies want people to “think out of the box” but their actions say otherwise. I know of people who were paid really good bonuses if they stayed with the company for a fixed time – i.e. We will pay you a $10K bonus paid out over your 3rd year with us.

              I think it comes down to the “junk profitability” Nick talks about. If paying your employees slightly more is the difference between profit or loss, then it begs the question, does your business model suck?

          • Chris S. I applaud Liz’s approach as a hiring manager of wanting to maintain control of the search and hiring process, and not delegate it others (or as is more common, have it taken away from them by HR).

            Your comments, on the other hand, sound more like a recruiter who just can’t handle the idea that some hiring managers don’t need or want the services of a recruiter, and then proceeds to berate and lecture them.

            The business world would be a much better place if hiring managers (and hiring supervisors and senior clerks) were again entrusted with the entire selection and hiring process. It is most important that HR get the hell out. Period. I do see a place for legitimate recruiters and/or headhunters, depending on the position and situation.

            For example, a company that normally handles things in house, publicly advertising a job and letting the hiring manager do the selection, may sometimes need to use an outside party when they plan to let the incumbant go, or any time where discretion and anonymity is an issue. And high-level jobs call out for the services of a good headhunter (with immaculate credentials, btw).

            Otherwise, leave it to the hiring manager. THEY are the ones who will have to live with the decisions they make and they are the ones who are most qualified to make that decision.

            Otherwise, if any recruiter, “talent acquisition specialist,” or legitimate headhunter wants to make the case that their services are of value to a prospective client, I suggest they do so by touting the value they can bring, rather than engaging in lectures.

            • “Otherwise, leave it to the hiring manager.”

              What?

              Headhunters very existence is due to many HM/As failing to fill positions with top talent in a timely manner. Business 101.

              “The business world would be a much better place…”

              Woulda, coulda, shoulda. How ’bout ending the lecture, network, and fill the position. Gee, what a novel idea!

              “I suggest they do so by touting the value they can bring, rather than engaging in lectures.”

              Headhunters are too busy making placements at up to 35% (collected within TENS days) for their services to worry why their client pays an HR staff, several staff “recruiters”, and HM/A’s salaries at the same time. Kinda makes ya wonder, doesn’t it Bill?

              You can “applaud” interviewing DOZENS of candidates over THREE months all you want as a favored “approach.” Meanwhile, your competition happily wrote a check to a headhunter that produced laser targeted cream-of-the-crop talent in under one month – many times in a few weeks.

              “I do see a place for legitimate recruiters and/or headhunters…”

              Really?

              Wow, thanks for uncovering that secret for us. I’ll be sure to send out a release tomorrow so that those “…wanting to maintain control of the search and hiring process…” can be relieved of their pain and misery ASAP. Headhunters around the world owe you a debt of gratitude that you’ve christened them a “place.”

              You might wish to review Nick’s materials and learn how to play nice with headhunters – BEFORE you need one.

            • Mr. Freeto,

              I started out thinking I was going to remind Chris that we as headhunters recruit from executives such as yourself/companies that see no need/have no need for a third party recruiter and that instead of using up energy on someone like yourself, he needs to remember we need people like you or we would have no source for recruitment.

              But when I checked your LI Profile, I notice you are looking for a new job.

              Don’t you realize it is professionals like Chris who could be your ally with regard to your job search?

              It would be highly ironic if it came out you took a new job being represented by a recruiter/headhunter like Chris.

            • “Your comments, on the other hand, sound more like a recruiter who just can’t handle the idea that some hiring managers don’t need or want the services of a recruiter, and then proceeds to berate and lecture them.”

              That’s because the majority of “recruiters” or “headhunters” are trash.

    • Great little sub-thread here! A couple of comments on comments:

      “why can’t a manager take someone who may be a “B-Player” with some desirable qualities/attributes and develop them?”

      It seems training and development are no longer a key part of hiring. Sticking a finger in a hole in the dike seems to be the main goal. Labor studies show that many employers long ago abandoned training and development. Now they’re screaming talent shortage. Sheesh.

      “The business world would be a much better place if hiring managers (and hiring supervisors and senior clerks) were again entrusted with the entire selection and hiring process.”

      Uh, I think it would be better if hiring managers stepped up and DEMANDED control of hiring. Or, why are they managers?

  3. Nick, thanks for your article. My comments here will be less on the value of LinkedIn as a jobsearch or employee search tool — I do think it retains some value in that regard — and more on your great articulation of how LinkedIn has gradually de-branded itself from THE social network of choice for professionals and executives, to another social network used by recruiters and jobseekers to “get the word out” on their needs.

    When LI started, the philosophy was, “to protect the value of your network and our platform, connect only to people you know”. Starting several years ago, it’s become, “Blast out mindless, generic invitations to all your second-order connections, thereby trying to turn them into direct connections… you won’t know any of these people, and your LinkedIn ‘contacts’ will gradually become a directory of acquaintances of friends of friends with whom you’re not remotely acquainted, but you’ll get your numbers up and it’ll look to the world like you know all kinds of people… for, uh, some purpose which we haven’t quite figured out….”

    Every week, for several years now, I get 10-15 one-liner, generic LI invites from people I don’t know, who don’t know me, who give no reason to suggest why we should connect, who actually HAVE no reason why we should connect and who, frankly, could give a flying folksong or a rat’s asset as to whether I connect with them or not… so I don’t. Like you, I, too, occasionally fantasize about the snark I could send back their way, but invariably act to protect my time and sanity by simply ignoring their invitations.

    LinkedIn does actually retain some good uses — publishing original content to your professional network, commenting on others’ content to let the world know of your continuing existence and even creativity, enabling a headhunter or hiring manager to locate some good candidates for a specific position, and some other uses. And when I do get the occasional real invitation with an actual message, it makes me all the more appreciative due to its rarity, sometimes causing me to actually send back an “anti-snark” message, thanking the invitor for having taken the few seconds to send a real message and expressing my pleasure at connecting, thereby producing some genuine goodwill at both our ends!

    • @Dan: Thanks for enumerating some of the good uses of LinkedIn. I use it all the time to look up people I’ve heard about or people I’m about to communicate with through some other channel. I use LinkedIn messaging only when I have to — it’s cumbersome.

      You nailed the problem: “…used by recruiters and jobseekers to ‘get the word out’ on their needs.”

      Think about that. Imagine your boss gave you a project to do. Rather than do it, you “get the word out” about what you need to do. And wait for someone to do it! That’s how most employers and recruiters (and job seekers) use LinkedIn. This notion that all we have to do is TELL people we’re looking for a match so we can wait for a match to appear is just goofy.

      Also: “you’ll get your numbers up and it’ll look to the world like you know all kinds of people… for, uh, some purpose which we haven’t quite figured out….””

      LinkedIn’s purpose is very clear: To boost the size of its database so it can market it. It doesn’t matter what’s in the database, how useful it is, or whether it pays off for customers. LinkedIn has succeeded in selling the idea that “everybody’s in there,” and the cash keeps flowing in. While HR complains there’s a talent shortage, HR keeps shoveling the cash into LinkedIn.

  4. Nick,
    Love your blog and thanks for all you do.

    I have had mixed results from messages from strangers on Linked in. I have in the past gotten some good work opportunities but recently it seems more garbage.

    I recently was contacted by a Junior recruiter for Fortune 500 aviation firm located in East Hartford CT about a position. I said I was interested and promised to be contacted by a senior recruiter in the next week. Two weeks later followed up and was advised that they had some “Restructuring”, and would be contacted.. guess what never happened.

    Was also contacted by this guys https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonpottinger/ underlings and got the Process. They said Mr. P saw my profile and wanted them to contact me to see if I was interested in joining their organization. After a few phone calls they arranged a call with their “Business Development” manager. From him I found out it only cost $12K to join their fantastic organization. My BS sensor was triggered at which time I thanked him for his time and said good bye.

    From these two recent experiences, I would have to say the “Linkedin” brand is severely tarnished.

    • @Bruce: Thanks for another example. LinkedIn will claim it’s an anomaly, but you can find these throughout the system. Data dumpster describes it. What’s astonishing is that just as LinkedIn tanked, Hoffman and Weiner unloaded it on Microsoft for a bundle.

  5. After my husband changed his interests on Linkedin from private to public, he was contacted and is still receiving emails from recruiters/head hunters. Now, he’s in IT so I do think that does make a difference but out of this experience he has received a job offer with a company. He is still negotiating salary (per Nick’s suggestions after I sent them to him :)) but he has had nothing but success using Linkedin even when he wasn’t looking. It’s not always a bad thing…

  6. I could write a novella length comment about what I think of StinkedIn but as I’m currently on mobile I’ll just say this much for the moment…LI had *one* redeeming feature, and that was the little stat at the bottom of each job page showing how many people had applied for that job. Even as I quit applying for jobs there, I still liked to peek at the occasional job just to see how demand/supply is going in this job market. Evey single job in my field would routinely have over 100 applicants minimum, many had over 200, and some had 500+. I’d see this and ask is this really what full employment looks like? Well, two weeks ago I noticed they have pretty much killed that feature. It still shows up on a few random posts but that’s it. Now, why on earth would you remove this feature? My guess is that anyone with a brain who saw that there were already a huge number of applicants would pass on applying…so LI’s promise to employers of “get hundreds of applicants per job posting” wasn’t being met. Dumb.

    As I said, I only used it to gauge the job market. Indeed recently did the same thing (where I was also seeing 100+ applicants per job). Why keep us in the dark here? Maybe things aren’t as good as they’re sayin’…

    • Oh, and I finally did what I said I was contemplating doing over in the “Age discrimination” post, I *deleted* my profile picture as I got fed up with voyeuristic dopes checking me out. Happened just the other day when some “vice president with over twelve years’ experience” stalked me for no reason — which makes me ask just what the heck is “over twelve years?” Is it thirteen years? Then why not just say thirteen years??? Reminds me of a child who when asked their age replies with “I’ll be nine in April!” StinkedIn is more like a game of tetris, i.e., a pointless waste of time (at least with roulette there’s a 0.00001% chance of your ball landing on your number).

      • RE: profile picture

        I’ve never fully understood nor bought the double standard regarding photos on Linked In vs. resumes.

        One is/was frequently advised to never send a photo with a resume to avoid discrimination entanglements unless one is in a field that specifically requires looks (e.g., news anchor, fashion model, etc.) Yet on LinkedIn one is told you must have a photo because if you don’t, you’re regarded as somebody who doesn’t like to connect with people.

        I just love the contradictions in job hunting throughout the centuries. Technology takes that to the nth degree. (Add that to my list of hobbies, the one of to include or not include.)

        • @Glenn: You absolutely must have your photo on LinkedIn. It’s a necessity. Ask The Headhunter will take photos for you and prepare a full photo book from which you can choose your image, $99. Or, you can choose the Deluxe Package, $199, which includes 3 posed photos of me, wearing my many medals. It comes with a standard license permitting you to use any or ALL 3 photos in perpetuity. For another $99 I’ll wear an official Greek Evzone hat — for a photo that will mystify and hypnotize your LinkedIn contacts — interviews are guaranteed. For another $5 I’ll throw in a custom resume/profile for your use — just slap your name on it. Candidates wishing female photo attributes, please specify your preferred make-up and eyeliner palette, and you’ll be off to the LinkedIn races! Order now while supplies last!

    • @Sighmaster: I’m still laffing my A off at the idea of “hundreds of applicants per job posting.” Who wants hundreds of applicants for a job?

      LinkedIn and the job boards have succeeded in brainwashing HR into thinking “more is better.” It’s not.

      • …and don’t forget, apparently “faster is better” too since one poster declares it “eliminates” third parties.
        See “chris S 6:13 pm on July 18, 2017”

        Seems the dumbing down just got dumber and all the dopes in HR continue their feeding frenzy. Ya can’t hire resumes folks yet “hundreds of resumes per job post” are still seen as a wonderful start to filling an open position.

        Unbelievable.

      • Absolutely bang on Nick. A busy senior manager has far better things to do with their busy day than to cull through an endless stream of mostly unqualified candidates. That’s why they call us. We often know, via our own networks, who to quickly contact and who may be interested in a role within our own industry networks. We are well trained in honing in our our client companies’ needs and work diligently to find a solid match. The busy managers I work for, haven’t got enough hours in the day to separate the wheat from the chaffe. As professional recruiters, we send a small handful of the very best qualified. We do the work and my corporate clients appreciate the efficiency of knowing they will only be sitting down with a small number of top calibre people to select from. Less is most definitely more to a busy company and a senior decision maker!

      • “Who wants hundreds of applicants for a job?”

        Hi, Nick; hope you have been well.

        What I’m about to say, you know already, but perhaps, needs to be said.

        For those who recruit in highly defined niche/vertical markets, often, the more resumes, the better. For example, if a firm/’recruiter’ regularly recruits Registered Nurses and runs an ad for a Nurse Manager for a client’s ICU ward, yes, they will get ‘extras’ who don’t fit but-are-still-registered-nurses who can be recruited for other [hospital] clients.

        In a case like this, that firm/recruiter needs to know all the nurses out there so ads are in effect, a widely-cast net.

        The agency gets lots of viable candidates for ‘other’ jobs and the nurses responding have a reasonable expectation they will get called just because they match the demographic of that firm’s/recruiter’s candidate pool.

        So although this does not apply to my business model, it works well for those who specialize.

        And, of course, on the employer side, running an ad, the [hospital] Nurse Recruiter reviews those extras and recruits them for their other nursing departments.

        So, in some cases…..

        • @Paul: You’re demonstrating the importance of context :-). What I’m talking about is hundreds of random applicants who are encouraged to apply simply to feed the algorithms. Having more resumes of potentially interesting applicants can be a very good thing — but I’ve yet to see the algorithm that has the “insight” to find value like that.

          • Sure, of course.

            The more specialized the practice, the least likely one is going to be the recipient of ‘hundreds of applicants’ who do not match a practitioner’s candidate pool.

            God bless the Executive Search business because I sure would not want to be in either general employment or worse, the employment agency business where volume is the rule rather than the exception.

            Best Regards.

  7. As a professional recruiter who has worked in the industry for 24 years placing transportion, manufacturing and engineering executive and management level individuals, I must admit I have many similar issues with Linked In. One that is often addressed by other professionals of my ilk is the issue of candidate over saturation. On the few occasions I have connected with any potential candidate on that platform, I find out pretty quickly, that they have broadcasted their resumes and details to literally every potential employer out there in their respective field, rendering them literally unplacable by a recruiter, who is expected to provide his/her corporate clients with fresh candidates they do not already have on their files. After running into this on a myriad of occasions, I steer a wide birth away from Linked In candidates and resort to what I do best, headhunting the perfect fit via my own network and other avenues that have been successful in my career. Despite that, I am still finding even those candidates have over saturated their resumes out via Linked In and I cannot consider them if they have already sent their details to the employer I have in mind for them. The candidate is often in for a rude awakening, when this is explained to them. On the other end of the spectrum, I am finding many of the companies I do placements for, have indicated they are exceptionally frustrated by the daily inundation of unsolicited applicants. I’ve had several tell me that when they see a resume come in from the site, they instantly drag it into their trash folder. They know full well that every one of their industry competitors more than likely also has it as well. Why would they hire someone who may be constantly contacted by other employers? Candidates need to learn that less is more in this case and they should not be sending out their CVs en masse to anything and everything as it is actually a case of shooting themselves in the foot when a recruiter approaches them with a viable position that they simply cannot consider them for, due to their resume already being forwarded carelessly to no position in particular, to the very same employer months earlier. Bottom line, this site has created a giant headache for both specialized recruiters and individuals seeking to make a career change. No indeed. Not a fan.

    • How many of those companies have actually contracted with you? Or are you just looking A to fill with B?

      I think that’s the problem with some recruiters.

      So the candidate resorts to spamming the world because unscrupulous recruiters don’t want to foster the relationship.

      BTW, not insinuating you’re one of those.

      • Hi Rich,

        I only work on contracted placements. As it should be. There are far too many, as you stated, unscrupulous players (I hesitate to refer to them as ethical recruiters), who inundate companies with unsolicited applicants, thinking if they toss enough people at them, one may stick one day. To me, that is NOT recruiting, but rather a marjeting/gambling scheme. I often wonder how anyone utilizing these methodologies can ever possibly make a living? Recruiters should only work on actual living, breathing job orders. If I connect with someone, it is because I want to explore whether or not they are a potential fit for my client company’s current needs. If, after engaging a prospective candidate, I find them an unsuitable match, I am honest and upfront and never leave them dangling. Human decency is key to any professional relationship. Often, these same individuals may be suitable for another opportunity I have in future and they are more likely to want to engage with me if past interactions and follow up have been cordial and respectful.

        I hear what you are saying though. There are a whole lot of charlatans out there who think recruitment is nothing more than getting a fee. That is not the case for me. It is all about relationship building with my client companies and caring about their businesses so that I can place them with the best possible individuals who will assist in their forward growth. On the candidate side of things, they also know I would never forward them on fishing expeditions. Only viable jobs. Often, those very same candidates have become corporate clients because they know how I operate professionally. Hope that clears things up.

        • “Recruiters should only work on actual living, breathing job orders.”

          …but you’re talking about recruiters here, NOT headhunters, so what else can we expect? Of course there are a few desperate headhunters that take “job orders” (not “search assignments”) which only complicates matters. Still, I’d rather respond to a headhunter – only after I interview THEM. I think Nick has a book on this.

          Too many recruiters are mere “paper hangers” that just love trolling the online and social media world.

          • Chris,

            I work in Canada where Recruiters and headhunters are one in the same! The good ones, that is! There is no distinction between the two titles up here. Just a lot of recruiters who are not worthy of the title.

            • Ok…

              So what do you call the “bad” ones that are “not worthy”? HR retreads?

              Honestly, what is the term you use?

            • Ninjas, Ms. Wharton, ninjas.

              Don’t forget about/leave out the ‘Ninjas’ who now populate the world of recruiting.

              We don’t want a Millennial recruiter coming here and throwing a tantrum…

              LOL !

    • @Cynthia: Your comments are so on the mark, and you do such a better job than I did explaining why the LinkedIn game can be career suicide, that I’ve excerpted some of what you wrote and posted it as an addendum to my column. Thank you.

      Most of the world has no idea what real headhunters do. You’ve described that well, too, in your other comment. Real headhunters don’t troll LinkedIn looking for profile matches. They go find the best candidates in the real, live professional community.

      Likewise, smart employers don’t troll databases looking for “results.” They find their best hires via their professional community. And yes — that means I’m saying most recruiting and hiring is crap. It’s a stupid game of roulette where even when you win, you’ve probably lost lots more.

      @Rich: Most “recruiters” don’t recruit. They’d dialing for dollars. They have no relationships. They don’t know the companies they spam with “resumes,” and they don’t know anything about “their” candidates.

      The quickest tip-off that you’re dealing with a hack and wasting your time is that they found you on LinkedIn while “searching.” Any good headhunter knows that the best candidates are almost always recommended by flesh-and-blood people the headhunter actually talks with. The next tip-off is that a real headhunter actually interviews you in depth before daring to introduce you to a client. That’s what headhunters get paid for — to deliver the right candidate, not more candidates.

      Sadly, the brainwashing extends to people’s beliefs about what good managers really want. They don’t want more candidates. They want one good hire. And that doesn’t drop in from over the transom.

      • Thank you Nick. Like you, I am very passionate about how a ‘real’ Recruiter operates. I find far too many who are donning the Recruiter cap, are nothing more than marketing hacks looking to make a fast fee. That is not what any professional Recruiter worth their salt does. We spend years getting to know the key industries we focus upon and with that, developing long and mutually flourishing relationships with flesh and blood humans. Your columns are invaluable to both real recruiters and candidates, as they pull back the shades on so many relevant topics in today’s hiring industry. Thank you!

      • “They want one good hire. And that doesn’t drop in from over the transom.”

        Good one Nick.

        See my “fishing” analogy in this blog (Chris S 5:56 pm on July 18, 2017). In summary, dead fish – like desperate job seekers – FLOAT down stream.

        • @Chris S: I picked up your dead fish in another comment :-)

  8. What I like? That I can stay in touch and keep up with where former colleagues are or anyone that has attended a workshop I facilitated ( I volunteer to be available and stay in contact). I also like that I can see who I am meeting/working/interviewing with and quickly ascertain if we might have anything in common career wise or if they might have experience I could learn from.

    Unfortunately Linked In is also the perfect set up to be used by people or legit companies. People will shamelessly reach out trying to impress or endear themselves to you. It gets old. There are also different cultural norms — what may be an acceptable mode of operation in India is way too “kiss up” and phony by U.S. Standards. Someone needs to advise them about this in cram schools.

    When it comes to Linked In, I like going for the specifics.
    Ex: we are thinking to transferring our systems from oracle to workday. I know your company recently did this as well. How were they to work with? How difficult or easy is it to train/learn and use the system efficiently? Anything we should avoid?
    Of course, they don’t have to answer or may be too busy.

    What I REALLY don’t like is Linked In as a recruitment and branding tool. Branding makes me want to gag. Nothing is worse than a recruiter posting about a position they need to fill saying online “reach out to me” and then either acting put out or not responding when people do. The other thing I don’t like is recruiters messaging asking if I know anyone…..essentially wanting a list of contacts so that they can make 15k on a placement down the line. I don’t find that they appreciate you enough to you think of you later.

    Interestingly enough, I like getting info/connections from dog owners.
    Get a dog, join a Facebook site (or even breed specific site) with thousands of people locally or global. Dog owners have good information on healthcare, work experience/culture , locations/companies, relocations packages, country/area norms, industry trends. And, If my dog won’t be happy, I don’t want to work there:) Ultimately you do better not interacting much on Linked In. Get some info there and then strategically work around it with other affinity groups that actually mean something to you and their members Works much better for me,

    I do have one very nice exception. A man very high up at Roche was extremely kind to me when I reached out on Linked In. He asked some good questions, made a resume suggestion and passed me on personally to the talent team. Yes, I wrote a nice note that potentially made him more inclined to respond but my expectations in this regard are low. The interaction with him was not only helpful but proved even the highest level executives practice their values and are generous leaders. It made this company more appealing than any branding campaign ever could. Real companies build relationships with future recruits early, stay in touch and give some good feedback before the position is available or the candidate is ready. Linked In is typically the opposite of investing in people.

  9. Great article Nick. One notion that sometimes gets missed: if you were ever to connect one of these random folks with a job, (not that you would) how many of those would ever keep in touch, repay a favor, connect you, or do any other reciprocating gesture? My point is that once they get their fix, you’re dumped and forgotten. There is rarely an opportunity to maintain a relationship because it’s not viewed like that.

    • @Rich: LinkedIn is a transaction system, not a place to develop relationships. Reid Hoffman lied. He cashed out. LinkedIn is a trough, not a community. However, some people manage to make some friends there — and more power to them. But those are people (like HR Hybrid above) who could do that huddling under a tree waiting out a rainstorm with other people. They just know how to make friends anywhere.

  10. Not only absolutely unqualified folks but lots of people from from South Asia and Africa who would love for me to find them jobs, all want to be my best pal on LinkedIn. Additionally, about once a week “recruiters” who are perfect strangers want to ‘help’ me.
    Several years ago LinkedIn was a useful tool. It has become a job board – and a bad one at that.

    • @Peter: You’re actually pointing out something profound about LinkedIn’s marketing. What they sell is that idea that everybody can find everybody else a job. Nobody has to select anyone or any company. You just “put it out there” and someone makes a match for you.

      Man, what a “new economy.” No wonder the Bureau of Labor Statistics can’t explain its data sets every month!

  11. LunkedOut (or StinkedOut) are the worst in my view. It is really a platform that disadvantages the job seeker and allows the paying customer (scammers, Indian call centers branding themselves as RPOs, etc.) to prey upon job seekers. If you don’t believe that read: http://narrenschiff.rip/2017/03/12/global-valueless-supply-chains/

    • Folks, if you haven’t visited Rob’s Narrenschiff site, you haven’t yet seen the real under-belly of the new employment system. It’s not an easy read, but it’s incredibly well researched, and there’s powerful magic revealed there.

  12. Linked In — feh! It’s primary utility is as a halfway decent database for checking out people that you might run into and want to know more about. Not foolproof because people lie, but the only other way to check people out is to do some research on your own, which is sometimes worth it but often not.

    Its secondary utility is for the various articles and links from groups and forums — I subscribe to a number of them and every week will pick up one or two articles that I place on my own blog or push out myself on my social media feeds for my content marketing efforts, which is the primary way I promote my consulting practice. 95% of the stuff on those groups and forums is self-aggrandizing crap, but I take the time to sort through it for the occasional worthwhile tidbit.

    Speaking of self-aggrandizing crap, virtually all of the connections I make on Linked In are from people hawking something I don’t really want or need — I don’t get hit up for jobs because I am obviously a consultant and not an employer, but I am constantly hit up by vendors for various services and products. My message to them: go away.

    I have never gotten a bonafide lead from Linked In for my own business — every potential client who tells me they found me there has turned out to be either not serious or crazy. Finally, never ever connect with someone abroad — they are almost always scammers.

    To give them credit, Linked In helped me do some recruiting for board members for a nonprofit I support, and we got several good candidates. For that I thank them.

    • @Larry: I explain in the article I reference (LinkedIn Gang-Bang) why I shifted from accepting connections only from people I know or have worked with, to accepting all invitations. I use LinkedIn primarily as a way to let people know about my latest articles. It’s a one-to-many way to make an announcement. When I realized the “relationship value” of people’s connections had been hacked by LinkedIn itself, I gave up on being selective — and realized that for my purposes, I didn’t need to be selective. I just want to let as many people as possible know about what I just published.

      But, for most people, one-to-many is not a viable or useful communication channel. Not unless you buy the idea that the more people that know you’re “looking” is better.

      It’s not. Cf. Cynthia Wharton’s comments above.

  13. Only thing I ever got from LinkedIN was contacted by people trying to sell me something.
    That’s about it.

  14. Nick – I respect, and agree with most of your thoughts about LinkedIn. Many of the people who responded today are also correct. But it still has great value only IF you know how to use it.

    I work in Manufacturing at the Director level so I cultivated contacts through LinkedIn who are at that level or above. As I have told people, when you are using LinkedIn, Link Up (Director = Director / VP / COO etc). Not easy but it happens if you are linked to a person they know who is their peer. It has taken 10 years to build up a network of people I can call or email. Most I have never met in person but I talked to them at least once.

    Example: I found a company (through a job board) looking for someone with my abilities. Instead of applying through the board or their website. I found someone I already knew who was linked to the president, and talked to him. BUT, I also found another person (a past employee) linked to another person I knew. My contact introduced me to his contact. I sent him an invitation based on our mutual connection asking to connect, and talk. He accepted, and we talked.

    The information I got from both of them was invaluable. They both called the President of the division, and talked to him. When I sent my resume to him, I was invited in for an interview, and since I already knew what they needed (based on my discussions), I got the job.

    If you think this is an anomaly, and I won the lottery, then I won the lottery 3 times in 7 years. In this nonstop volatile job market where companies restructure or are acquired or close the division, you can be out looking again after 2 years.

    I never stop linking in, but only to requests from people who know someone already in my network. Think about compounding interest, 1 = 2, 2 = 4, etc. I get requests almost every day from people either marketing something I don’t want, or who believe that we have a common interest (which we don’t) yet we should be LinkedIn. I hit the ignore button, or just delete the email request from LinkedIn.

    Yet there are requests that I will link to because of an email introduction from someone in my circle.

    There is a lot more to this process, and not the same each time. This was just a synopsis.

    • @Joseph: You’re an anomaly only in that you know how to carefully cultivate contacts. My compliments. What I find surprising is that, even though you are selective about making and accepting connections, your connections are just as selective. Do you think your exec-level connections only connect to other execs? Because if they are not so selective, then the integrity and quality of the network you’re in is compromised.

      Nonetheless, it’s obvious you’ve made this work for you, and I admire that. It’s called having and maintaining standards. An attitude that has been bred out of the job-seeking population. I don’t say that sarcastically. It’s a tragedy. We often discuss the scofflaws behind this on this forum, but I don’t pretend to understand the problem in depth.

      I wonder: If LinkedIn did not exist, would you still have the network you’ve built? My guess is you would. You’d build and maintain it using other tools. Like a Rolodex :-)

      Again, my compliments. Thanks for sharing a bit about how you operate!

  15. Interesting rant, Nick. Mostly negative it seemed. I get the monetization by MS. I disliked the recent interface changes. But features are coming back, and better.
    Liz 3:48 am on July 18, 2017 had good results from being proactive and you said that was good. A good use.

    Like anything, but especially social media, you get out of it what you put in.
    Hours every day? No. 15-20 minutes would suffice.
    Keep putting up ads or messaging people asking for a job? No. You must be strategic.

    I got my current job from a one-word change on LinkedIn. One of my connections saw it, contacted me and brought me in. I help people with their profiles. I have seen proof that recruiters are viewing their profiles. They are getting jobs.

    • @Jared: Wow. A one-word change did the trick? One word got one of your connections’ attention and they hired you?

      • No joke. Headline (tagline) change.
        https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/tagline-talent-target-your-headline-job-jared
        It was the client’s in-house SVMO recruiter. I consult and am still there.

        As you know, it was not that easy. If I hadn’t built my connections there, to begin with, it never would have happened.

        Try telling that to a ghost who posted this: “Linkedin is a waste of time, is doesn’t lead to anything. I think my time would have been better playing angry birds.
        What are your thoughts?”

        He has 13 likes and 29 comments, mostly disagreeing with him and giving him suggestions. Know how much interaction he has had? 1 comment, “haha”.

        Now, I help others do the same thing, with articles like the above and coaching. Proof is in the increase of profile views, especially by recruiters.

        • @Jared: Sorry, but I just don’t buy the idea that LinkedIn profiles (or resumes) can be magically tweaked to make them rise to the surface of the ocean. My point is that searching for hires in a swamp of resumes, profiles, keywords, is a silly endeavor.

          If you’re saying the connections you built made all the difference, I buy that. But if one word made the difference, then hiring is a crapshoot because no one’s reading for meaning.

          • “…one word made the difference…”

            Crapshoot indeed.

            @Jared…if you’re that good versus the odds you’d clean house in Vegas on a regular basis – but something tells me that just wouldn’t be the case.

            Personally, I’d rather not work for a company that makes software scrapers of key phrases/words off resumes a priority for sourcing “talent.”

            Nonetheless, best of luck with your word swapping.

  16. …I trip on seeing LI Profiles of people who show they have ‘2000 [LI] connections’ and are ‘actively seeking a new opportunity’.

    Kind’a makes you wonder….

  17. I do not get as many of these messages as others, but I am in agreement. Many of the messages are poorly targeted – it is apparent that no one has read my profile. Several of the contacts I have received are: (a) steps backward in my career, and pay 2/3 or 3/4 of what I made at the time, and when I bring this up, no one has a reasonable answer (b) jobs over my skill level (c) asking me for introductions to others – no, I do not know you.

    • What it boils down to is this. Contacting people to beg for a job lead or for a candidate when you don’t know them and they don’t know you is … well … just throw darts with your eyes closed.

  18. Hi Nick,
    I will add to your examples of LinkedIn foolishness with the following…

    Two days ago I received a message from a recruiter I had never heard inviting me to join her network. Like you, I used to be selective in who I accepted invitations from, but since LinkedIn has become a modern-day Rolodex I now sometimes accept invitations without as much judgment (I still don’t accept invitation from salespeople or from people outside the U.S. that I don’t know). I accepted her invite.

    Yesterday I received the following message from her:
    “Hope you’re having a great day! I’m a recruiter in the (location) that specializes in Accounting and Finance. I just came across your LinkedIn and was really impressed by your revenue recognition experience …
    I wanted to reach out because I’m currently working on a … They need to bring in a Revenue consultant … there will be an opportunity to be hired on as a Revenue Accountant after the consulting period.”

    While you may at first think that was a personalized message, there is no mention of revenue recognition in my LinkedIn profile, nor do I have any expertise in that area. Beyond that, my profile clearly shows that I have been in senior director level roles for 15 years, yet she is trying to entice me with a revenue accountant position? In addition the location she mentioned is well beyond my commute range. It appears she cast a very wide net in her LinkedIn search and sent the same message to hundreds of people.

    • @Carol: It appears she’s clueless. That’s who you want introducing you to a job. :-)

      What’s astonishing is how many people engage with “recruiters” like that — and then, weeks into it, they’re frantic about why the haven’t gotten an interview yet, or a job offer, or a decision, or even an e-mail back…

      Clueless attracts clueless.

  19. I was on LinkedIn early, ie. in the 1st 100K members. Back then I found it a very useful tool when I recruited. but the Nick C way…I’d find someone of interest, then fall back to the old school way of finding contact #’s (if they didn’t provide them) and reaching out outside of LinkedIn, preferably calling them. I never used InMail as I only used the basic/free package.

    I’d often received invites to connect especially when I was a recruiter. I don’t do auto deletes but run a few tests. I’d check to see if they looked at my profile. If not, I assumed they were interested in building random # of connections & I’d delete. of course if I knew the person I’d most likely connect. If I could see they were connected to someone I knew well, I’d respond. Not connect respond. If on those rare occasions when they actually included a note explaining why we should connect, I’d respond. My response usually was simple “How can I help you?” Most never reply back and I’d delete. In some cases because I was a recruiter, they really were trying to reach me without InMail which they couldn’t use. Those people usually got back to me. Connection from that point was a “depends” situation. If it made sense and added value to both networks I’d likely connect and keep in touch.

    LinkedIn has some annoying features that contradict it’s research value or network building, e.g. people who can and do lurk sans name, rank and serial #. Hiding behind a “Sales person from XYZ corporation, or simply a LinkedIn Member. This is supposed to be a business network, if you’re going to hide, why bother.

    And lately something weird is happening to an increasing degree. I’ll get a message from LinkedIn similar to requests, that say “so & so wants to connect with you. Confirm that you know so & so. In all cases thus far, these use people who I’m already connected to. When I forward them the message outside of Linked in & show them what I rec’d, they have not initiated it. It’s either phishing or it’s LinkedIn initiated for some reason.

  20. I regularly get the boilerplate “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkIn.” messages, from people I either don’t know or scarcely know. In some cases, I’ve had more than one request from the same person, several months apart.

    Maybe nothing too odd about that, except that I’m NOT on LinkedIn.

    Does LinkedIn not even know who is/isn’t a member? Yet another reason, among the many I have already, for not wanting to join.

  21. I get requests from people I don’t know at all, and often they’re not even connected to people who ARE in my LI network. It is always the same boilerplate message, and like Jane, often from the same people several months apart.

    I do sometimes agree to connect with people I don’t know, but only if they alumnae from same college from which I graduated.

    I use LI as an electronic rolodex, but that is the only use I have for it. Even the groups activity has gone down. And I’ll use it when I’m researching someone at companies I’m looking at, but even then I’m wary because I cannot trust that what those people put on LI is accurate and true. It is a starting point, a place to gather some basic info.

    I read the Allan Ripp piece in the NYT too, and was pleased to read the many comments from readers calling bs on his piece. Like Sighmaster, I, too, read all 353 comments, and came to same conclusion–he STILL doesn’t get it.

    The way far too many employers write and post job descriptions leads many people to apply anyways because you can’t tell what the job really really REALLY requires vs. what might be the employer’s fantasy candidate or what is a wish lists but not based in reality. I wish employers had to post banners like Nascar, so we job hunters would really know what the job entails. Does the employer really think you need a Bachelor’s degree in order to be a receptionist and answer phones?

  22. I agree that LinkedIn is now a online directory; however, it is working well in my passive job search, with two headhunters contacting me in the past three years, one of which was an appealing job (the headhunter gave me good feedback on why I did not get the position). It works for me since there are few jobs in my specialty (I estimate that I was contacted for at least half of the job openings) so there are no headhunters working only my field.

  23. One thing that used to amuse me was that one would *apply* for a job (with a cover letter, and a full CV), and then the HR person from that company would add you on LinkedIn – where I have much less information available (i.e., they have just exerted effort to find less data about me as an applicant).

    I don’t fully understand that behaviour.

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