Who’s Viewed Your profile Gets a Makeover

Posted on February 26, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

…and its pretty good.
Good enough to suggest you might want to think again about upgrading!
9 mins video. Let me know what you think.

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LinkedIn Charges Job Seekers!

Posted on October 30, 2013. Filed under: News, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I’m annoyed.

Premium accounts are OK in principle, if you want to pay to use LinkedIn for business purposes then you can make an investment decision. Will you make more money if you pay for a premium account? If not then don’t buy it.

I do however have an issue with LinkedIn showing vacancy ads to job seekers and then expecting them to upgrade their account in order to see the most important piece of information – what salary the job pays!

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Not happy with already charging the company to place the ad in the first place, they now want to make extra money by charging the applicant as well!

OK so job seeker upgrades are not the most expensive but its the principle of charging both the advertiser and the applicant that gets me annoyed.

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I have advertised vacancies more times than I care to remember in the past and one thing is clear – If you don’t put a salary in the ad’ – the response will be poor, so I can’t imagine the advertisers being too happy about this move either.

This incidentally comes from a company who expect to generate a turnover in the region of $1.5 billion and profits of $364 million this year……it just seems an unnecessary strategy to me that will lose them far more friends than it will make them extra dollars in profit.

Rant over!

What do you think?

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LinkedIn Reduces in Size

Posted on September 17, 2012. Filed under: linkedin advice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

A lot is made of the phenomenal growth of LinkedIn, the last published figures were 175 million members (well past 180 by now) and growing at a rate of over two a second!
Yet you may be surprised to know that, as of this weekend, the number of LinkedIn users that you can see has dropped considerably. Almost overnight you have become invisible to millions of users who may be potential customers, employers or employees!

As you may know, the headline figures that LinkedIn quote have always been rather irrelevant because the only number that really counted was the number of users that you can see and can in turn, see you. This has traditionally been the combined number of 1st, 2nd & 3rd tier connections plus those who you shared a group with and whilst we havent been able to see the surname 3rd tier and group members, it didn’t really matter that much because we could read their full profile……until now that is!

3rd Tier Are Now Invisible

This weekend LinkedIn have quietly removed the visibility of the profiles of all your 3rd tier and shared group users. Nothing has been mentioned officially (always a sign that they know this will be a very unpopular move). The reality of this change is that LinkedIn has immediately become a less productive place to be.

Lets examine these changes in more detail

There are two ways to find 3rd tier connections on LinkedIn, by performing a keyword search or by searching for them by name.
If you now perform a keyword search, those users who are 3rd tier or share a group with you will now look like this;

The visibility of someone you search for by name however is not affected.

Note in the first example we can no longer see their summary or contact information, the same applies to people outside of our network. We also do not have the option to invite them to connect (this bit isn’t new)

In order to see a full profile of 3rd tier or group members we now have to upgrade our account, the cheapest upgrade that allows this visibility is the ‘Business’ account under ‘Other premium accounts’ and this is going to set you back at least £155 a year or £16.95 if you pay monthly.

Why is this important?

This really depends on why you are using LinkedIn, for many users it won’t seem to make any difference but what happens if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to get a new job?
I have been working with some jobseekers recently and advising them on how to make their profile optimised and visible to as many people as possible. LinkedIn is used extensively by recruiters, the majority of which are free users. Jobseekers will now find that despite writing a great profile that is highly optimised for keyword searches, they will now get less interest from recruiters because all that information they have carefully constructed is now invisible to their 3rd tier and fellow group members.
LinkedIn make the majority of their revenue from selling recruitment/searching products, I can only assume that this move is designed to increase that revenue.
The problem is that every time they make LinkedIn more expensive for recruiters to use, its jobseekers that suffer and in these difficult economic times that seems somewhat harsh and insensitive to me.
I don’t have a problem with LinkedIn making money, the are after all a publicly quoted company with shareholders to satisfy but I do wonder if they have thought through the full consequences of these changes.

What can we do about it?

Not much unfortunately! Your headline is still visible to everyone so I would suggest you now include the following information in your headline;

  • Full Name
  • Email address
  • Concise summary of what you have to offer

…and you have 120 characters (inc spaces) in which to do this! (see example right)

You can also change your connection strategy and connect with a greater number of users thus increasing the amount of 2nd tier to replace some of the 3rd tier you have lost (this flies in the face of LinkedIn’s advice on who you connect with but changes like this will encourage more connections)

Jobseekers do have the option of upgrading their account and selecting a feature called ‘Openlink’ which is not a default setting but can be selected at any level of upgrade including the cheapest upgrade called the ‘Jobseeker basic’ at  £12.95 per month

The Openlink feature states that recruiters (anyone in fact) can message you for free which is great as it means you don’t have to put your email address in your profile but more importantly it makes you visible to everyone on LinkedIn – no restrictions at all! Unfortunately the people who are least likely to be able to spend money upgrading their account are those that are out of work!

For recruiters this is obviously an annoying setback but the good news is that X-ray searching of public profiles still works provided that you are not logged into LinkedIn in the browser in which the X-ray the search is done. Below is an example of what a Google or Bing search reveals when you use the command site:linkedin.com followed by a unique phrase from the headline (assuming there is one);

X-ray search result (public profile)

As you can see the public profile still shows the full name and profile so not all is lost, the challenge comes when a headline merely states something like ‘Account Manager’ because you now can’t check the rest of the profile to find a more unique phrase.

Summary

I am usually pretty positive about most aspects of LinkedIn but on this matter I am disappointed. The turning point for LinkedIn might have been in May 2011 when the business was floated on the New York Stock Exchange, from that point onwards they become a business that has to return greater and greater revenue & profits to its shareholders and that inevitably means that their original mission statement “Connect The Worlds Professionals To Make Them More productive & Successful” could become compromised, I hope not but……..

As of today I suspect that many LinkedIn users will find it harder to be more productive & successful

and that is a great shame.

What do you think? Can you see any positives for users? I would love to hear your views.

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This Boy Will Go Far!

Posted on July 1, 2011. Filed under: linkedin advice, News, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

How a graduate secured his first job via LinkedIn

Let me take you back to February this year, you may recall that I attended the excellent social recruiting ‘unconference’ event TruLondon.

In between tracks I bumped into my good friend and respected expert in direct staff resourcing Peter Gold. Peter seemed rather excited by something that he wanted to talk to me about.

It turns out that Peter had just been involved in a track where the subject of graduate recruitment had been hotly debated. Wendy Jacob who at that time was working as an employability consultant at Middlesex University had brought along a small group of graduates so that they could share their experiences in this track.

Peter (who is never short of bright ideas!) proposed that the social recruiting experts present should all mentor a graduate each. This being a great way of demonstrating the power of social media to job hunters – even those right at the start of their career.

Peter asked me if I would be interested in helping….and being someone unable to resist a challenge I readily agreed.

Whilst this wasn’t specifically billed as a competition, those mentors involved were soon teasing each other and claiming that their methods would be more effective (or was that just me saying that!!)

This was when I first met Kenny.

Kenny immediately struck me as bright, ambitious and very focussed. He had attended TruLondon because he was interested in social media but primarily because he was very focussed on getting a graduate trainee position.

As soon as I met him…….I knew I had struck gold (excuse the pun Peter!).

That said, despite my outward confidence, I knew that this was not going to be easy. LinkedIn is a great tool for a jobseeker when used in the right way but it is not renown for graduate recruitment. The current market is exceptionally difficult for graduates and the competition for places on graduate schemes has never been tougher.

Kenny was clearly a good candidate but would we be able to pull this off?

I agreed to speak with Kenny the week after so that I could fully assess his credentials, requirements and his chances of him achieving them – it was just like being a Recruitment Consultant again!

Following this we set about improving his LinkedIn profile and once this was done I encouraged Kenny to build a strong network by connecting to more people and by joining plenty of groups.

As I have already mentioned, Kenny is very focussed so it didn’t take much pushing from me. He went about his task with real enthusiasm and posted details about himself in relevant groups including the following post;

Kenny's post in the AGR Group

Now the other side of this story involves Philips and their Graduate Recruiter Jack Boiling. Jack uses LinkedIn to source candidates and understood the benefits of joining relevant groups – this gave him better search results, made it easier to contact candidates and gave him a good insight into their background and attributes.

Jack noticed the above post and sent Kenny this message on the right;

BINGO!

This was obviously just the start of the process but it was certainly very encouraging. Kenny (without any prompting from me) decided to contact Jack directly rather than clicking on the application link because he understood the importance of personal contact.

Following an encouraging conversation with Jack he was selected for aptitude tests and a telephone interview.

We did a ‘dummy run’ of the interview the day before  with me pretending to be the worlds most awkward and difficult interviewer and Kenny skillfully navigating his way around my questions. It seemed clear to me that if Philips had any sense they would snap him up but Kenny didn’t see it that way. He was worried about slipping up and made sure he prepared thoroughly.

A few days later I received an excited call from Kenny telling me that he had been selected for an assessment centre.

LinkedIn had largely done its job at this stage although we knew that there was a good chance that the assessors would be checking his excellent LinkedIn profile and it did occur to me that the other candidates may not have produced good profiles (if at all).

Kenny performed admirably on the day and came away with a job offer to start as a Finance Graduate on the excellent Philips graduate training scheme.

I was in Geneva when Kenny texted me to tell me the great news, I won’t repeat what he texted but there were a lot of capital letters and exclamation marks involved!

This was a truly rewarding experience for me and proved just how effective LinkedIn can be.

The reality of course is that LinkedIn, good though it is, can’t make you a better candidate! Kenny got the job because he was good enough and he deserved it.

He made the decision to turn up to TruLondon when many of his fellow students didn’t, he made the effort to join the groups and post the information about himself and he prepared exceptionally well for interview.

Philips and Jack Boiling also have to be congratulated for their use of LinkedIn, I suspect many recruiters ignore LinkedIn when recruiting at this level – their loss is Philips gain and I am sure Kenny will make a real name for himself there.

Well done LinkedIn

Well done Philips

but most of all…..

Well done Kenny, you have done yourself proud!

And finally thank you to Peter Gold for coming up with the idea in the first place, I have thoroughly enjoyed mentoring Kenny and would recommend others do the same if the opportunity arises.

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Strategic Recruitment?!!

Posted on March 7, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

This is the 2nd part in a series of 3 blogs regarding the excellent Social Recruiting ‘unconference’ Trulondon 3 and was originally introduced in my recent blog The Good, The Bad & The ugly.

The Bad!

I was really quite excited to attend the track entitled ‘Recruiters are not strategic’ at TruLondon 3, not especially because of the subject matter but more because of the two track leaders!

Laurie & Theo (identity hidden SAS style!) in action

The HRD (Theo)

Theo is one of the most entertaining and thought provoking bloggers in the recruiting and HR world. He has a real talent for the written word and I strongly encourage you to read his blog My Hell is Other People. Theo is not his real name, in fact his identity is a closely guarded secret. This does rather go against the grain of what social media is about (authenticity, visibility & personal branding) and I used to have an issue with this but the more I read Theo’s material, the more I understood why he had to remain anonymous (read it and you will see what I mean!). Theo has recently retired from blogging which is a great shame but you can still read his ‘back catalogue’ at the above link.

Laurie Ruettiman

Laurie is best known for writing the ‘Punk Rock HR’ blog which attracted a huge following in her homeland (US) and across the world. She now pens The Cynical Girl blog . Her style is not dissimilar to Theo’s – forthright, challenging, often rude and always entertaining. Laurie really doesn’t hold back and has some very strong views on HR & recruiting matters, many of them very insightful and I normally find myself nodding in agreement when engrossed in her material.

Given my admiration for both track leaders I was very excited to be in attendance and made sure I grabbed my seat early – which turned out to be a bad move! I was not the only one to do this and the room was packed with standing room only for those who arrived later – they however, turned out to be the lucky ones!

The title of this track was ‘Recruiters are not strategic’ A strange title I thought because it was stating the obvious but knowing Theo & Laurie I was expecting they would come up with a clever twist on this theme and chair an interesting session – How wrong could I be!

They both proceeded to demonstrate why they thought recruitment was not strategic in their usual hard hitting styles and clearly thought that this was a damaging blow to the ego of the audience (many being Recruiters).

The audience were clearly irritated but not by the ‘strategic’ argument but by the lack of any argument! Quite rightly Lisa Scales quickly asked Theo to define what they meant by strategic but he refused to answer stating ‘Oh not that old chestnut’ (actually he said something much more explicit, chestnuts were never mentioned!). Our resident serial tweeter Glenn Le Santo (who is a journalist by background) then looked up the dictionary definition of the word strategic, which was somewhat missing the point – correct definitions of words in business often don’t apply! In my experience strategic decisions in business normally refer to those decisions of high importance that significantly effect the long and short term direction of the business – right?

So where is the argument? Recruitment decisions can be part of a strategy and may well effect the direction of the strategy but they are clearly not strategic in themselves. Who is stating otherwise?

The track soon deteriorated into a debate about semantics, at which point I really wanted to leave (as is clearly demonstrated in the picture below!) but I was trapped in the middle of a crowd and had to sit it out.

Thats me in the middle looking to escape!

Now if the debate had been about whether recruitment was important then that would have been a much better subject.

Recruitment can be hugely important to the success of a business, sometimes more important than decision makers in business realise. When I was a recruiter I was often shocked by how recruitment was ‘delegated’ to an HR department who were largely a group of administrators who often proceeded to ‘tick boxes’ when preselecting candidates therefore missing out on individuals who could make an important contribution to the ‘strategy’ of the business. This is clearly not always the case and many HR professionals add real value to the selection process but too often I found them lacking.

Given that Laurie & Theo are both HR professionals I can perhaps see why they didn’t wish the debate to proceed down those lines…..or maybe they do?…..bring it on!

I wouldn’t normally be so harsh in my criticism but these guys can take it (they can certainly give it out anyway) and it is only because I admire them so much that I found this track so disappointing.

So lets forget this ‘strategic’ rubbish and debate ‘importance’. Is recruitment taken seriously enough in your company or by your clients?

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Sourcing – No Thanks, I’m a Recruitment Consultant!

Posted on February 25, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Many years ago, as the MD of a growing recruitment business I was accompanying a Recruitment Consultant on a client visit to take a brief for a new role. The meeting went as well as could have been expected. A nice, straightforward role to fill with a great company, the client was fully committed to recruiting and HR would not be involved with the process (sorry HR readers but it often went so much smoother without you!). On the journey back to the office I turned to the Consultant and asked “Who do you have for that role then?” He looked at me and with a confused tone answered “What do you mean, I haven’t sourced it yet”!

This was a defining moment for me – what on earth had this ‘interweb’ thing done to our proud profession? Recruiters had become word search detectives and Boolean string  macramé manipulators, if a client wants someone with experience of SAP R3 then we absolutely have to find a CV with SAP R3 written on it as many times as possible!!! Is this good recruitment? Not in my book, either by the client or the recruiter – words on CV’s do not make successful placements.

Gone were the days when recruiters spent their time getting to know their candidate and client community – meeting them at networking events, Interviewing them (in person) and chatting on the phone at 9 o’clock at night, taking the time to build a trusting relationship. I was so committed to this method I even ended up marrying a candidate!!!

Now don’t get me wrong ‘Sourcing’ has its place – some roles in certain fields can be very niche and it is extremely hard to find candidates. I was reminded of this recently when I met several highly skilled Sourcers at TruLondon2 (the social recruiting unconference). People like Katharine Robinson (@theSourceress on Twitter) who recently won a competition proving that she was one of the best at her profession in the world. I have total admiration for these people – they seem to be able to find almost anyone and thrive on difficult, complex puzzles. They are studious, analytical, detail conscious and most definitely NOT Recruitment Consultants!

In most markets 90% of jobs will be filled by individuals who don’t need to be sourced. They won’t have the right words on their CV but they will demonstrate the kind of character that makes the client feel excited when they interview them.  A Recruitment Consultants job is all about getting this right and the only way they can do that is by making sure they get to know their candidates and their clients really well – it takes effort, no shortcuts – just lots of activity and plenty of people judgement skill.

One lasting observation from TruLondon was that there seemed to be an awful lot of people sourcing and not very many who focus on building relationships. Social media and particularly LinkedIn give recruiters an ideal opportunity to widen their network and build relationships – yet most still see it as a sourcing tool!

Its time for Recruiters to get back to basics. Social media is a means to an end ………and that ‘end game’ is about relationships.

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TruLondon 2010 – A unique and stimulating experience

Posted on February 24, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Having spent 2 full days at TruLondon last week I thought I would take a moment to reflect on my thoughts and observations.

Firstly for those of you that are wondering what TruLondon was – let me explain;

TruLondon was an unconference – a conference with a pretty loose agenda and very little formality – the idea is that this stimulates open debate (and it really does!). Conference ‘Tracks’ are led by experts and specialists in that field but the floor is always open for others to add their views and opinions.

The subject matter for this unconference was broadly recruitment and the use of social media – there were tracks on Employer branding, the use of video in recruitment, sourcing, job boards, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging and much much more.

I really didn’t know what to expect from this event having not experienced an unconference before and the organiser Bill Boorman was somewhat vague about the details (I later realised that this was intentional!)

The really exciting thing was that many of the track leaders and attendees were genuine experts and thought leaders in the world of social recruiting and many were from overseas. Here was an environment where creativity, innovation and intelligent debate were prominent and I knew within minutes that I was going to learn many things – and I did!

I will expand on these points in further blogs but for now I will just summarise with the following headings;

  • Sourcing – no thanks, I’m a Recruitment Consultant!
  • Building Communities – a genuine networking practice or a lure into the witches den?!
  • Social training for Recruitment Consultants – why Redmos are really onto something.
  • Blogging – why every recruiter worth their salt should be doing it.
  • Facebook – is this a place for business/recruiting?
  • Video – Great for personal branding but is a video CV the modern day equivalent of a picture on a CV? – yuck!

That final point reminds me of one small thing that was starting to get on my nerves at TruLondon –

It’s not a resume, it’s a CV!

It was a great privilege to have so many guests there from the US and Canada and I find it very stimulating to hear their take on things – stimulating but not always convincing! I must admit that at times it felt like a ‘lesson from America’. I accept that what happens over there often makes it way to these shores but that doesn’t make it right – too many people look to North America for a vision of the future and this often makes it a self fulfilling prophecy. Personally I don’t care where innovation comes from, if it looks different and possibly a bit scary then instinct tells me to look more closely!

My lasting impression of TruLondon was one of meeting a really interesting and incredibly friendly bunch of passionate people who make a habit of pushing boundaries. Well done to Bill, Geoff, Maha and Fran for putting on such a great event. I can’t wait for the next one!

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