I don’t know who I feel more sorry for: Job hunters or employers. LinkedIn has introduced a new button that lets you instantly apply for a job — no resume, no cover letter, no effort. It’s instantly dumber for everyone concerned. (From Mashable: LinkedIn Launches Button That Lets You Apply for Jobs.)

The last thing job hunters and employers need is a quicker, easier way to apply for a job. What we need is more prudent, thoughtful, and careful job hunting and hiring — which means improving the process, not speeding it up. LinkedIn’s new button puts the emphasis on getting an application in quickly — while LinkedIn’s founding philosophy is that making good contacts and cultivating relationships requires effort and patience.

It’s dumb ideas like this that instantly put you into even more mindless competition with thousands, if not millions, of other instant applicants. This is why employers find themselves sorting through more and more drek applications. A bigger, fatter pipeline with a button that accelerates the flow of crud doesn’t improve recruiting and hiring. It instantly devalues LinkedIn’s equity in the personal networks it has worked so hard to facilitate.

LinkedIn’s New Career

LinkedIn, the bastion of online “social networking” and “relationships,” seemed to have taken a smart turn when it announced its “careers” initiative a few months ago. The company would offer tools to help employers and job hunters find one another, using LinkedIn as their path to personal contacts that yield the best working relationships.

The social networking company started building a new career service by hiring some top-notch business development folks from top-tier companies — implying it was going to build on the success of the networking tools it has become so famous for. Then LinkedIn drove off the road, and picked up churn-’em and burn-’em sales people from the big job boards and — Presto! — LinkedIn is now dumbing down hiring and job searching, just like Monster and HotJobs and CareerBuilder.

What’s the brilliant new idea these sales nomads from the job boards dragged in the door? Now you can apply for a job with a button.

A Button for The Drek Pipe

Gimme a break. We’ve seen it before: A hot company does an IPO and suddenly loses sight of its essence and turns the reins over to a management team with a solid history of selling commodities faster and harder. Where LinkedIn once preached use your contacts and your brain, now it’s selling volume and instant.

The highly-motivated new hires that LinkedIn originally brought in to launch the careers initiative — we’re talking cream-of-the-crop, seasoned relationship-builders from some of today’s leading companies — were given marching orders to extend LinkedIn’s dominance in social networking into the career sphere. That’s what lured them to LinkedIn. And it all sounded great: a natural extension of one of the most valued brands on the Web.

But in short order, LinkedIn went from selling the value of networking and personal relationships to dialing for dollars and pulling a Ladders-type about-face. (Remember TheLadders’ “exclusive” services for “executives only?” What a promising concept! Today TheLadders is just another job board selling database access for $15/month to any sucker who’s inbetween HotJobs and Monster.)

Like a lot of entrepreneurs with a great idea, Reed Hoffman implemented his idea as a database. Like a lot of great concepts supported by databases, Hoffman’s great idea became the database — with the result that LinkedIn’s database is now the product. It’s far easier to expand a database and to sell access to it, than it is to think up new ways to make personal relationships generate profits.

It seems LinkedIn has abandoned the concept that made it so successful.

Selling The Database

The impressive business development and relationship-building experts the company hired last year found that their long-range objectives had suddenly morphed into boiler-room-style monthly quotas. They were told to hit the phones and start burning through call lists. Selling the commodity and closing quick deals became more important than developing relationships that would lead to long-term business. The word on the street is that LinkedIn’s primo new hires, who believed in the mission, found themselves cast aside.

Their replacements, a second-string crew of telemarketers (reportedly including some from the likes of Monster.com), were closing deals with employers — but hardly relationship-building deals. Word got out that companies would sign up to search the database to make one hire, then bolt. The telemarketers weren’t selling a relationship with LinkedIn. They were hawking short-term access to a database, slapping the high-quality LinkedIn brand on Monster.com-level services.

It looks like the promising links between career development and thoughtful networking via LinkedIn snapped.

The Button: Impulse Job Hunting

I held off on commenting on what I’ve seen, hoping that LinkedIn was just straying momentarily from its mission to link all people and all companies into an incredibly facile network based on knowledge and solid relationships. I hoped LinkedIn would get back to the knitting. I visited Linkedin.com’s About section, hoping to find LinkedIn’s mission statement, or at least a definition of what the company’s objectives are; something that would indicate the company could find its way back. To my surprise, LinkedIn has no statement of purpose, or even a definition of what the company does. Not unlike TheLadders, LinkedIn defines itself by its database and with statistics about all its members. There’s not a word about the value of relationships and connections. It’s all about the database — the path to job board perdition.

Then I saw the announcement in the Mashable article: Just push the LinkedIn button. Says Mashable:

“The button is much like the Twitter tweet button or the Facebook Like button… The button essentially lets you submit your LinkedIn profile as your resume — no cover letter necessary.”

How much dumber can the career industry get? Job boards have turned HR departments into swill pots of incoming drek from job hunters who have learned to play the numbers and apply for every job they can find, whether it’s a fit for them or not. There are more inappropriate candidates in HR’s inbox than ever — and now LinkedIn makes applying for a job no more thoughtful than liking a website.

LinkedIn’s great accomplishment is to make job hunting an “impulse buy.” A drive-by app. Dumber than dumb. Could the database whizzes at LinkedIn already be busy building that mobile app? Drive by a company, submit an application via your smartphone! See a product ad or an article about a company? Scan the code and Bam! your application is in! It could be a great place to work! Don’t hesitate!

Ever wonder why employers never call you back or return your calls after you go on a job interviews? This is why. Expect more of it.

Just Another Job Board: Wishful thinking for dummies

On the comments section of the aforementioned Mashable article, reader Mike Young says:

“Will apply for all of them ;-)”

Another says:

“Awesome! Now all we need is an “Apply All” button so we can make the job apps fly.”

Mike Young sounds like he’s kidding. But LinkedIn isn’t. LinkedIn just made it easier for Mike to act dumb (if he chooses), and easier for employers to be dumber. LinkedIn could post its mission statement as one simple sentence: Wishful thinking for dummies.

Good jobs come from great personal contacts and from the hard work of building solid relationships. (If Reid Hoffman is reading this, Remember why you started LinkedIn? Do we need another job board?) There’s an astonishing amount of talent on the street today, due to our uncertain economy. Rather than recruit intelligently, employers waste untold overhead dollars “processing” millions of inappropriate incoming applications from thoughtless job hunters who believe the more jobs they apply to, the better.

Now LinkedIn has created a button to make it even easier to apply for any job that comes along. (What’s the harm, eh? The more, the better! HR departments will love it!)

Dumber Living Through Databases

George Carlin had a great line: Suppose you could have everything in the world? Where would you put it?

Today, every employer has every job hunter’s information, and every job hunter has every job listing on the planet — right there, online. And none of them know where to put it.

LinkedIn was a great idea. It could be fostering a whole new era of job hunting and hiring, by showing people how to cultivate relationships and parlay them into opportunities to work together. But rather than raise the bar, LinkedIn’s career team is taking a reductionist approach. Rather than delivering the hope of good relationships by teaching people how to behave smarter, LinkedIn is selling a database.

Rather than create new career services based on the company’s trademark networking and relationship-building, LinkedIn has allowed its brand to be commandeered by the same people who brought you “better living through job boards.” Having turned Monster.com, CareerBuilder, and HotJobs into useless data dumps, they’ve glommed onto LinkedIn as a Great Brand ripe to be ransacked. But the brand can’t cover up the same-old dumb business model that cheats employers of their time and money, and job hunters of good job prospects.

Get Back to Work

LinkedIn is still a good idea, but if you want to use it to find a job, you’re better off using it the way it was originally intended. You have to invest your time to develop relationships that LinkedIn merely helps you start. You can’t send LinkedIn, like a dog with a note in its mouth, to apply for a job for you.

Don’t be a dummy. Don’t get suckered into another job-board-style “career service” that will do the work for you. No one can do this for you.

Check out Jason Alba’s LinkedIn For Job Seekers. Alba teaches you how to exploit the LinkedIn database by using your brain to develop and cultivate healthy relationships by doing a lot of hard work.

If you push the button, your naked LinkedIn profile instantly arrives — and sits — in some personnel jockey’s inbox while the job hunter who carefully cultivated a personal contact is already talking to the hiring manager. And you just look dumb and dumber by the minute.

So does LinkedIn.


  1. Nick, where is the apply with LinkedIn button? I looked through the ads and didn’t see any of them with the new button.

  2. @lp: Good question! Guess it hasn’t caught on… Check the link to the Mashable article, which explains how it’s supposed to work. My guess is this little button will pop up in lots of places. Everyone wants to have the latest tool — whether it works or not!

  3. Bravo. Thought the same thing when I first heard about this — it’s giving people the illusion of a job search without actually being one.

  4. I get so sick of being spammed daily on all my Linked In groups by lazy shotgun “recruiters”.

    “HAVE 4 SYSADMIN JOBS IN ______ !”

    Makes me want to throw up. Especially after reading Nick’s book on working with headhunters.

  5. I disagree, I LOVE this feature and so do some fellow peeps in transition. If you were out almost a year or longer and did job hunting this way on line, you would see that finding easier ways to apply to jobs helps save the candidate time and aggrivation. We are all glued to the computer and need to find ways to save time. This has saved me time, thus far. When applying to a company website or through it, it takes forever and most of us give up as we are going to multiple employer sites and their time sonsuming and not user friendly.

  6. Sherry, saving you time won’t matter if it’s not getting you results — and it will actually hurt you if it it misleads you into spending less time on the elements of a job search that are more effective!

  7. I don’t want this to turn into a debate, or personal nitpicking, but if you are applying for jobs via a company website, you need to immediately go buy a used copy of Ask The Headhunter off Amazon. Don’t do anything else in your job search until you read it.

  8. ‘Apply All’ makes just as much sense as ‘Reply All’. I have never, ever hit ‘Reply All’ on an e-mail.

    @Sherry:I hope you are not ‘glued to the computer’ between the hours of 8:00AM and 6:00PM; that’s when you can actually talk to real people. Referrals and personal contacts result in more than twice as many hires as all job boards combined (what multiple of 10,000 job boards are we up to now?). Anything on that computer of yours is available 24/7/365, so I have no problem with you using it at 9:00PM or Saturday or Sunday. The point is that there is not ONE way to find a job. Many strategies can be and are successful. However, job seekers needs to prioritize their efforts and schedules to emphasize those strategies that are the most successful not those that are ‘easier’ and ‘save time’.

  9. @Sherry Lynn: Sorry… this is long… If it helps you get in the door to talk to a manager ahead of your competition about a job that’s really a good fit, use it. Whether I like the method or not.

    But there’s a problem here that’s worth exploring.

    Linked brags that you don’t have to submit a cover letter. That’s a plus? Almost any job coach or resume writer (or hiring manager or HR person) will tell you a cover letter is far more important than the “fact sheet” we call a resume. A LinkedIn profile is no more customized to the job you’re applying for than a resume. That’s why I think the button is a waste of time.

    If for no other reason, that’s why it’s not worth using the button. It delivers a one-size-fits-all profile. It doesn’t tell the employer why to hire you.

    With Linked, you’re gambling that a company is going to really process yet one more kind of formatted input. I think companies will indeed use the button — but the new stream of candidates just adds to an already over-burdened HR process.

    I really don’t see where Linked adds value. All they’re doing is trying to buy HR eyeballs, at the expense of job hunters who have to limit what they submit, using Linked’s format.

    you would see that finding easier ways to apply to jobs helps save the candidate time and aggrivation

    need to find ways to save time. This has saved me time

    not user friendly

    That’s where I think you miss the point. This isn’t about your life being easier. The employer wants HER life to be easier — that’s why companies set up Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that require apps tuned to what the company wants. The input format is set up the way the employer likes it. The added benefit to the employer is, if you’re not willing to invest the time to deliver the info she wants, the way she wants it, then you’re not worth considering.

    That is, the employer uses a unique process — different from everyone else’s — partly because it helps eliminate tire kickers… Making it easier is not the point. Making the information gathered valid to the employer’s needs is important.

    That’s why the button is problem. It’s easy. It encourages mindless tire kicking.

    It’s not supposed to be “user friendly.”

    What Linked and Ladders and the big job boards want people to focus on is “easy and quick” — that’s what they sell. That’s what they’ve convinced you matters. But that’s not what employers are buying.

    Employers are looking for a needle in a haystack — so when these services just make it easier to dump hay on their desks, the employers aren’t happy.

    With all that said, I’m not advocating job hunting by ATS or resume as the best way to do it. But, given a choice, I’ll use the resume/cover letter before I use the Linked button.

    First, though, I’ll choose carefully and invest a lot of time and effort to get to the manager personally… nothing easy or quick or user friendly about that. And that’s what separates the truly motivated candidates from the button-pushers.

    This is where LinkedIn is blowing it. It’s got something no job board has — a relationship system. But it’s wasting its time engaging the job boards on their own dumbed-down turf.

    So, what’s really happening here? I think the employment industry is thrashing — it’s in a lot of trouble. Nothing it does seems to work. It’s embarrassing.

    Now LinkedIn, with its phenomenal brand for networking, is dumbing itself down by competing with the job boards, rather than using its incredible equity in networking and relationship-building to show people how to further develop and use those contacts to get the job they want.

    In the 1800’s, the railroads were trying to build their business. Know what they did? They bought up land in the west and built hotels and vacation spots — they created destinations to give people reasons to buy train tickets.

    This is what LinkedIn should be doing. It already offers the “vehicle” — databases that facilitate networking. Now LinkedIn needs to give people somewhere to go with this. Rather than encouraging them to send their data records to employers, Linked should be showing people what to do once they get to the employer.

    That’s what job hunters need help with: What to say, how to develop the relationship, how to exploit it in a mutually-beneficial way. That’s a lot of work. Linked has let itself get lazy, taking the easy way out. LinkedIn can’t see past selling the datastream. It’s hiring people who are good at selling the commodity.

    LinkedIn should think like the railroads did. Don’t just give people a vehicle, and then sell them faster and faster trips. Show people what to do when they get there.

    When you buy into the “fast and easy and user-friendly” mentality, most of the time you will lose to the applicant who took the time to carefully research the company, develop insider relationships, and talk to the manager directly. The mere distraction of that button will cost you opportunities.

  10. @Sherry Lynn and everyone else:

    On paper, online job boards and buttons like this seems good – it allows employers and applicants to cast a wide net.

    However, the net tends to be a little too wide. You could be the best at what you do and still not get noticed. That’s part of the reason why networking will still be the top way to get a job.

  11. It has actually occurred to me that some employers will use it as an automatic screen out device.

    Regardless, whatever a job seeker sends to an employer must differentiate them from the competition — in a good way — if they want to land the job.

  12. As an executive recruiter, recruiting for my own companies or clients, a non customized approach as it seems LI promotes does the opposite effect than what excellent recruiters and hiring managers/leaders look for. Prove to me you have looked and can address our problems. Cover letters, networked…hard work. Candidates, don’t push the easy button as it reflects on your lack of effort.

    Nice post, Nick.

  13. Spam tastes awful, even if it has a new name…

    I would like to see a company that actually puts up useful hurdles in the application process. Not meaningless, mandatory fields in forms, like salary history. Not “describe a major achievement you once did, that shows your leadership talent”, like one Big Oil company I applied for once did. No bullshit bingo. Just, real tasks. As a petroleum geologist, I would like to see that applicants are given a real task; some real seismic data, well logs, maps – which must be submitted to show that the candidate really knows the tasks. It would make lazy candidates balk – and create fair competition for those who do the work.

    Yes, it would require a lot of work on the employer’s side. But it would save work because the number of applications to read would be reduced to a fraction.

  14. Interesting Topic. The question I ponder is does a job seeker want the PILL. Short term = quick fix. Perhaps. This maybe more a reflection of our culture and our need for fast and easy results. Why are most people not Olympic Athletes, constantly experimenting with different diets each year or do not want to fill out a job application. PUSH THE BUTTON! :)
    Have a nice day
    chief bottle washer

  15. Giving LI the benefit of the doubt perhaps they have assumed that Job Seekers will have put a lot of work into their profile with recommendations and so forth, believing the profile to be more valuable than a CV posted on a Job Board. If done right in some circumstances this could be true but will recruiters really have the time to look that deeply on a first pass?

  16. @Peter Tate: A resume is a dumb piece of paper that can’t defend you. A LinkedIn profile is not any better. Can you see it now? Recruiters spending all day poring over LinkedIn profiles, looking for you.

    Meanwhile, the candidate who knows what she wants and how to explain that she’s going to bring more profit to the bottom line is entertaining an offer… for the job you’re waiting “to hear back on.”

    What’s stunning is that while TheLadders advertises that it’s LinkedIn’s new competition, Linked has taken the bait and is trying to act like a job board. Brilliant move, guys at LinkedIn. Step away from your position of strength, and compete on the job-board street with a rusty old knife…

  17. I totally agree with you, Nick. Here’s want I posted a couple of days ago on the blog at http://www.earn-network.org.
    Careful: not all gadgets can help you find work

    Our friends at LinkedIn have come up with a new plug-in purportedly to help in applying for jobs. It looks pretty slick, but it’s not going to help those seeking work to stand out from the crowd and show to the prospective employer that they are a match to the employer’s needs. Why you say?

    For one, even with the ability to “one-click” apply, those applying will not be able to show they match the employer’s need…unless you use your “full resume” with cover letter showing your analyze and match the employer’s need. They’ll be dependent on the format of LinkedIn’s profile structure to craft that communication. Think of the LinkedIn profile then as merely an “outsourced” applicant tracking system (ATS) that will help HR departments and hiring managers manage your data like a commodity. (It’s also much like a resume posting site.) How does it feel to be regarded as a “bushel of corn”, depersonalized, dehumanized into being a data set? And applying for jobs on the Internet will continue to be a “picking the low hanging fruit” reactive process where there are 100s if not 1000s apply for each position. LinkedIn should be used for networking, but not a substitute for truly getting to know others, developing a community-of-friends-and-collaborators, your network for career security.

    And two, it perpetuates the myth that a reactive mode of looking for work and sustain your career and staying employable merely that of “just maintain a LinkedIn presence and all will be well.” This in the face of continuing evidence that networking face-to-face and using Internet communication and research methods to make and sustain networking is still the preferred and most effect method of finding work.

    Just ’cause LinkedIn can offer a new gadget, be careful that it may be just that and of no real use as a work search tool. For those companies the elect to use it, LinkedIn will probably make a bunch of $$$, which is the point anyway. It’s not really about helping you find work.

  18. Nick,

    I love your blog post on this. The red button photo was priceless!

    Anyway, I am commenting as I explore a few options presented to me via my veterans’ network–the best of my networks. Clearly, having major commonality with people in a network is what makes it work. It also can’t hurt for those same people to actually care about you. Maybe that’s been said, but no button trumps that.

    LinkedIn is a networking tool, period.

    Keep it coming, Nick.

  19. @Deirdre: I like the way you put that. “LinkedIn is a networking too, period.” The company should stick to the knitting.

    But the company is trying to behave like an ATS (applicant tracking system) and a job board. LinkedIn does a nice job of managing the nodes in a network. It has no concept of how recruiting, hiring, and job hunting are done. But reports from the field make it clear that LinkedIn has veered off course into the employment business — a business that not even the job boards or most HR departments understand.

    What should trouble LinkedIn’s new investors is that the people it has brought in to manage this new “employment division” are from… the job boards. These are people jumping from sinking ships that ran out of steam… being hired to captain a new oceanliner full of unaware passengers who are now being driven to “job ports” to be sold off to the highest HR bidders.

    Prepare for a hard landing on the docks.

  20. @Nick: great article. I’m on LinkedIn, but haven’t seen the button, and don’t plan on using it. I always thought that the whole point of LinkedIn was NETWORKING, making connections, which in turn can help you get an interview. I’m still a bit wary about social networking sites (Facebook, My Space, etc.) but recognize that they are here to stay and that if prospective employers are looking at them to determine if I’m real (I read that if you’re not on LinkedIn, you don’t exist to prospective employers) and who prospective employers know who know me. I’ll use LinkedIn, but plan to use it judiciously. I still prefer face to face or at least telephone or email to the anonymity of the internet.

    I agree–I think LinkedIn blew it big time; plenty of companies have HR depts. to do this kind of screening, so I don’t understand why they feel the need to follow that model, lemming-like, over the cliff. It doesn’t work, not for candidates and not for employers. LinkedIn should stick to professional networking. Period.

  21. The trouble with all of these shortcuts, and much of the way hiring is done, is that it requires large quantities of MIND-READING. That is not something that humans do well.

    It shows up in blog posts and comments: “Did I blow it when I …?”; “What does it mean when the interviewer/HR person/recruiter says or does …?” Interestingly, these people never seem to be very confident or happy.

    On the other side of the table, someone getting a naked LinkedIn profile has to try and figure out what the person is really like. I imagine that must get tiresome after the first 300 or so.

    Nick’s approach does away with the need to mind-read and guess, and gets the facts out into the open. Then we know where we really are.

    That’s why I’m enthusiastic about it.

  22. Was just thinking, if LinkedIn made the new Apply with LinkedIn button smart, then each company using it could add parameters to the button code that had to be met in order for the person to use it. ie, the person applyings LinkedIn profile should have certain keywords and perhaps even go as far as years of experience with tools/methodologies/skills in order to use it. This would encourage more LinkedIn users to thoroughly fill out their profiles and provide better fit applicants and weed out the “apply all” people. If the person is not “qualified” by the parameters tell them “Thanks for your interest but…” Just a thought…

  23. And now from Linkedin: Job Seeker Basic/Job Seeker/Job Seeker Plus! Pay only a small monthly fee and you can ‘Zero in on $100K plus jobs with detailed salary information2 Refine your search based on your desired salary, and view detailed salary information on individual job postings’ & ‘Move to the top of the list as a Featured Applicant’. Boy this sure looks familiar.

    @Gerardo Castano: HR has already keyword searched us into the hirirng system mess we have.

  24. @Chris Walker: I had to go to LinkedIn to see it to believe it… Next they’ll be offering free resume reviews. Note that the $15.95 deal is about a match to TheLadders’ new rock-bottom (of the barrel) $15. How lowwww can you go? We’ll know this works when LinkedIn starts paying job hunters to let employers access their profiles… That’s the secret… Shhhh. We could make billions.

  25. I don’t think the button will help either the candidate or the company. As you said it just gives the company more job response submittals. For the candidate it’s false hope of being seen. It’s a new bell and whistle that does nothing. AS it is, I think people just post their profiles on LinkedIn because they feel they should. As to how much actual value it has added to people’s careers, I haven’t seen any stats.

  26. LinkedIn is now offering various “career packages.”


    Job Seeker Basic, monthly $19.95
    Job Seeker (Recommended), $29.95
    Job Seeker Plus, $49.95

    Hmmm. Sounds a lot like what? But here’s where it gets really questionable:

    “Move to the top of the list as a Featured Applicant”

    I wrote about this little problem a few years ago, when CareerBuilder offered to “Upgrade Your Resume NOW!”: http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/teeth20031020.htm

    So some goofy HR manager is going to pluck your resume off the top of the list because you paid to put it there? Is the person running this new career initiative at LinkedIn really… a water balloon??

    Then there’s this:

    “Contact anyone directly with InMail — Response Guaranteed!”

    Just how the hell does that work? I challenge LinkedIn to guarantee anyone that mail sent to me will get a response.

    Somebody please look at these 3 plans and tell me what makes one worth $30/mo more than another. And what makes any of them worth anything. Maybe a water balloon.

  27. I signed on to LinkedIn after being “sponsored” by some casual acquaintances. Being unenthusiastic about this impersonal “name game”, I’ve been less than pleased to discover being “friended” by people I’ve never known, people with whom I’ve had major disagreements, and people I see every day while walking the dog. This has all the selectivity of dragging a net along the ocean floor in search of tuna; the haul- no tuna, lots of junk. Since LinkedIn has launched a profitable IPO, it’s looking for ways to “add value” to the brand. It ain’t about the clients.

  28. Just to clarify, you can customize the button and require a cover letter.

  29. @Gerardo Castano wrote: “…if LinkedIn made the new Apply with LinkedIn button smart, then each company using it could [require] the person[‘s] profile to have certain keywords and … years of experience with tools/methodologies/skills….”

    You’re making a fatal assumption. Actually, you’re making two:

    • Past performance is a guarantee of future returns, and
    • The specific problems a company faces and/or work it needs done are the same as those of any other company.

    A company needs to determine TWO things about any candidate:

    1) Can the person do the work, to the level of quality (and timeliness) required, and in such a way that it fits within budget?

    2) Will the person fit in well (socially) with the rest of the team?

    Everything else is fluff and a waste of time.

    Neither KEYWORDS nor EXPERIENCE will tell the employer if the candidate can answer either of the two questions.

    Go look at @Karsten post on July 31, 2011 at 5:55 pm — I’ve done this (as a hiring manager). It is a PAIN in the YOU KNOW WHAT, but it is *much* easier than wading through a bunch of useless resumes, or, even worse, wasting time bringing someone in for an in-person interview who can’t do the job at all.

  30. @Bryan: Not only did you address a key point Karsten made; you proved that there are managers out there who will go to the trouble to actually do a direct assessment of a job candidate! Whoo-wee! Score 10! Thanks!!

  31. Hello Nick,

    We’ve corresponded in the past though it’s been a few years. I’m a recruitment consultant who’s moved from being a contingency sales & marketing headhunter for national firms to launching my own executive search firm with a practice focused on serving the $1T mining & metals sector globally.

    I agree with your comments regarding LinkedIn 100%, though there is one thing I have to tell you because I have increasingly based much of my practice — particularly when conducting search assignments overseas — beginning with LinkedIn contacts made, (I recruited one senior manager last month in South America who wasn’t on LinkedIn, but a former colleague was, and I had asked that individual via LinkedIn messages for referrals — so thank you LinkedIn!) I also have landed new major clients in the past year that have seen articles I’ve shared in group discussions.

    However the main point I wanted to make is that when I initiate contact (using the principles of time-tested methods of engaging people in discourse and building relationships) with someone I’ve found on LinkedIn, nine times out of ten I begin our correspondence with a connect request. I personalize every single invite to the specific individual and over the past 12 months have refined my messages and now have an overall acceptance rate of successful requests of 95% (of 2,000 total invites sent). You can see the ramifications of this on one’s practice: over time I convert a small percentage of accepted contacts into placements and some as well into new clients.

    Similarly to initiating contact with a professional you don’t know yet over the telephone or at an event, I’ve found that the key in gaining successful connect requests is to focus on the other person’s career goals or future prospects while relating the benefits of association with you, (all in less than 300 characters!)

    Lastly, please keep up your great work! I personally follow your writings and continue to regularly refer the keenest of candidates to your site. I decided recently to even include a link to ATH from my own LinkedIn profile — I hope you don’t mind — because I think that for professionals serious about career growth, it’s a brilliant resource and service you’ve created.

    All the best,

  32. @Andrew: Thanks for your kind words. As I’ve said elsewhere, LinkedIn is a directory, or a phonebook. What you do with it is up to you. There’s a lot of work in making fruitful connections — they’re not fuitful just because they’re hanging there. My compliments on your methods. My guess is you use the same methods no matter what tools you use.

    Jason Alba has a great DVD out, about how to use LinkedIn for job hunting. (Just search his name.) He recommends similar methods.

    As for linking to ATH, I love it — thanks!

  33. FYI, the word abandoned has only 2 letter n’s. You have it with 3 in the “It seems LinkedIn has abandonned the concept that made it so successful.” paragraph.

    Great piece as usual!

  34. @Scott: Nice catch! You’re right! I’ve corrected the spelling error. Thanks for taking time to point it out.

  35. I’m not even sure if LinkedIn uses this ridiculous feature anymore. Perhaps they do, but I do agree with the spirit of the original article Nick.

    Why does this article seem to repeat itself over and over? You made your point, most of us agree that paying for sponsorship or clicking a stupid button only devalues me as a candidate. But as I read through it I could not help but think “didn’t he just say this?”

    That small criticism aside, I do appreciate the work you put into help keep integrity in the job search for both job hunters and employers. I do hereby solemnly swear to never pay to elevate my self on some unintelligent list of candidates And in fact think I will update my LinkedIn profile tomorrow to highlight the fact that I don’t need to use such a gimmick :)

    Raylon S.