EXPOSED! LinkedIn Spammers using fake profiles.

Posted on December 9, 2013. Filed under: linkedin advice, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

3564334635_108d9e7a05_bWe all get spam, I guess it’s just one of those things we have to put up with as we get more active and become more visible on the Internet, LinkedIn is not immune to spammers and I often receive direct messages from people offering me various products and services. Irritating though it is I tend to view these messages as mildly irritating distractions from the ill-informed. What really annoys me is when I receive Spam from people who have not even got the guts to reveal who they really are!

A Tale of Two F’s and a Bunny!

This particular example happened in October when I received the message below;

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this is a message sent directly to me from someone whom I share a group with and not a connection. What got me immediately suspicious was that the individual had spelt her name in a rather unusual way, I figured it was possible to spell Jennifer with two f’s, if somewhat unusual but you will note (below) that the message is signed from ‘Jennifer’ spelt correctly!

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If you had an unusual spelling of a name, surely the last thing you are going to do is make an error and spell it the normal way in a message!

This seemed very suspicious to me so I got interested and investigated further. The message from Jennifer included a link promoting a webinar, that link was as follows;

Voila_Capture1123

At this point it is worth mentioning that Andy Whitehead may have simply outsourced the promotion of his webinar and may not be aware of the unethical methodology employed by his service provider.

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I have investigated ‘Jenniffer’ in some detail and can find no trace of anyone of this name on the internet. I have performed an image search and her profile picture appears to be unique as well (the quality of the photo is not great so I am betting that it is a tight crop of a group picture)

She was (her profile has strangely disappeared recently) a second tier connection via two people so I contacted both of them and asked if they knew her…..neither did!

Jenniffer’s Profile

(more…)

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LinkedIn Respond to Charging Allegation

Posted on November 5, 2013. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Following my last post LinkedIn contacted me to clarify their position with regards to the issue of charging job seekers to see the salary of an advertised position.

Their statement in response is as follows;

‘LinkedIn works hard to connect talent with opportunity, and our mission is to make our members more productive and successful in their careers. All the information provided by a job poster about a role is available to all LinkedIn members, whether they’re using the free version of LinkedIn or otherwise. Premium LinkedIn subscribers also have access to information about the likely salary bracket for a particular job.’

So to be clear, there is no salary field in a job posting as such but there is nothing to prevent an advertiser mentioning the salary within the copy of their advert (which I would strongly advise). Where it states ‘get salary range for this job’ below it should more accurately say something like ‘see an average salary range for this job’

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If you view the above ad from any premium account you will see the following;

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So it’s not the actual salary but an estimated  figure based on information provided by PayScale and is based on job-specific attributes, including industry, title, location, and other factors.

So to be fair to LinkedIn they are trying to provide the jobseeker with relevant information to help them with their application. This could be a useful guide when a salary is not mentioned and even more useful when a salary is mentioned so that they can benchmark the salary against the PayScale average.

As an example the below screenshot is a live job posting that shows a salary in the copy, the premium account holder can clearly see that they are paying below the average (despite their description of it being ‘competitive’)

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I’m not too sure what the company who posted this job would make of this but I guess it could work in their favour if they were offering an above average salary.

So there you have it, it’s not quite what it initially seemed and I must thank LinkedIn for clarifying the situation.

It is an interesting feature and I would welcome your views, especially from the point of view of the advertiser.

Let me know what you think by posting a comment below.

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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 Skill Endorsements – My Take

Posted on October 8, 2012. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , |

ImageI Have always been a big supporter of recommendations on LinkedIn, I know some people abuse the feature by collecting insincere testimonials from anyone and everyone but on the whole they are a pretty good indication of the qualities that someone possesses. The reality is that someone is only likely to take the time to write a recommendation if they genuinely know enough about you and feel the world should know how good you are. This is why I thought it was a backward step when LinkedIn removed the number of recommendations from the top section of a profile in the recent re-design. The number is not the most important thing but it did at least bring the reader’s attention to the fact that you had recommendations on your profile.

In contrast I see the new skills endorsements feature as severely lacking any credibility!

Its seems as though our home pages have been filled with notifications of people racing to endorse each other, some may be very genuine but as it requires merely a click of a button, its impossible to tell so the logical conclusion is that it means very little.

My experience was that I logged on to find that a friend of mine had endorsed me for the skill ‘LinkedIn’ I clicked on this link and was presented with 4 other connections and an invitation to endorse a skill for each of them See below (this feature has since disappeared for me)

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I can click on each person and endorse them for that specific skill or I can just click on ‘Endorse all 4’ and because it is easy to just click all 4 I think most people will do that, without even looking at what the skills are!

I found myself looking at certain connections (not the above ones) and thinking ‘Can I really say they know about that?’ For instance a specialist financial recruiter who has ‘statutory accounting’ as a skill….would I employ them to do my accounts?!

The problem is that most people won’t even give it a thought and that makes this feature a complete waste of the digital space it occupies!

You can even add more skills to a connections profile is you wish, the below box appears at the top of a connections profile.

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Again the temptation here is to just click the yellow ‘Endorse’ box thereby endorsing all skills listed, without giving it any real consideration.

I have to say that I really don’t get it but for the purpose of balance, here is a quote from a fan of endorsements written in a recent group discussion I was involved with;

“Endorsements are ‘public’ approvals for certain skill sets, the credence comes from multiple people giving a thumbs-up. Of course they are open to abuse (just like Recommendations) but you will get a more granular evaluation of an individual’s capabilities and over time, the accuracy of these public likes ought to improve over time”.

I can see where LinkedIn are coming from with this and the above comment (not from LinkedIn) is a credible argument but it all feels very ‘Facebook’ to me. I never take the blind bit of notice if a friend ‘likes’ a brand/company/service on Facebook. Do you?

So where are LinkedIn going with this? First they introduce skills at the same time as removing the ‘specialties’ section without any explanation and then endorsements…what next?

I have no inside knowledge on this, just a gut feeling that this is all part of a bigger plan. They initially built a list of skills (originally you could just add anything yourself), then they made skills a requirement of having a 100% profile (a clear sign they had bigger plans for skills) and now endorsements. I suspect that we will see skills become a searchable feature (not currently the case) where result rankings are determined by the number of endorsements. This may well be a premium feature, only available to high level upgrades or corporate recruiter licences – I suspect that this level of attention by LinkedIn suggests some commercial intention.

Only time will tell, maybe I will have to eat my words in 6 months time.

What do you think? All views are very welcome.

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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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LinkedIn Hits 4 Million UK Users

Posted on June 11, 2010. Filed under: linkedin advice, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

This news follows closely on from the recent announcement that LinkedIn reached 70 million users worldwide and confirms that LinkedIn is continuing to gain popularity throughout the world.

Whilst headline user numbers make interesting reading, I am always more interested in the rate of growth and the number of ‘active’ users – anybody who has spent anytime searching LinkedIn will know that there are many duplicated and obviously dormant profiles on LinkedIn.

Growth rate

In terms of growth the figures are still very impressive – 3 million new users every month (more than 1 a second!) and over 100,000 in the UK.

It took LinkedIn 477 days to reach its first million users……its last million took just 12 days!

This has led to a growth of LinkedIn employees, they expect to have over 850 staff by the end of this year – at the end of 2008 they had just 228! They have recently opened offices in Amsterdam, Australia, India, Canada and their new global headquarters in Dublin (although the powerbase is still in California).

Active Users

The latest figures from Comscore show that they currently have 42 million unique visitors per month (60% of users) – this has increased 3 fold over the last 2 years.

There were over 1 billion people searches performed last year

100,000 users join groups every day.

There are over 1 million company profiles.

There are over 100 million API calls every day.

So when is it all going to end? Well, LinkedIn have calculated that there is a target audience (professionals) of 500 million in the world so they still have plenty to go at!

In the UK it is estimated that the figure is closer to 12 million so todays announcement means that they have reached a 3rd of their target population!

I believe the biggest threat to LinkedIn does not come from other business networks – Viadeo is still growing (30 million users worldwide) but it just doesn’t have the same international reach and LinkedIn is experiencing impressive growth in Viadeo’s homeland of France (over 1 million users). Xing is even less of a threat where coverage is mainly limited to the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland). In my opinion it wont be long before users in all of these countries get fed up with using more than 1 network (who has the time?!) and convert over to LinkedIn exclusively.

I believe the biggest threat to LinkedIn comes from Facebook who are still struggling to monetize their impressive user base (over 22 million in the UK!) and are getting more interested in the business/professional market. Friends in the US tell me that Facebook is increasingly being seen as a business/social network over there.

I am not convinced, maybe its a UK/European cultural thing but I struggle to see how professionals will adjust to their social life (facebook) and their professional life (LinkedIn) merging together – it just doesnt feel right to me but its certainly one to watch.

What do you think? Could Facebook start to take over LinkedIn’s mantle as the natural home to online business networking?

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Recruiters – Think you have your connections hidden?…….Think Again!

Posted on June 9, 2010. Filed under: linkedin advice | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Understanding your LinkedIn Privacy Settings

If I had a pound for every Recruitment Consultant who asked me the following question, I would be typing this blog post on my new shiny (and complete unnecessary) iPad!;

“Should I have my connections browse open or closed?”

The answer is naturally influenced by who you intend to connect with and so individuals need to consider their specific circumstances before deciding but the following may be helpful;

  • If you have more than 500 connections leave it open, it is unlikely people are going to bother meticulously going through that many!
  • If you have less than 500 connections consider having it closed especially if you are in a very niche market or deal with contractors or interims (they are always looking for their next job and may trawl through your connections and approach them directly).
  • Non recruiters find it puzzling and annoying that Recruiters close their browse so you may need to explain your reasons.
  • If you hide something it may be interpreted that you are not being completely open in other aspects of your profile and communications on LinkedIn. Hiding anything can make others suspicious.

The most important thing to realise is that if you have your browse closed then you are not really protecting or hiding your connections, you are merely switching off a link to a list of them but it really isn’t that difficult to find your connections. Here is how it can be done;

Searching

Let’s take an example, I am an interim accountancy professional and you are a recruiter in that space. We connect and I want to see your first tier connections so that I can approach them directly to explore work opportunities – all I need to do is search for ‘FD OR “financial director” in the job title and hey presto – there are your connections!

Shared Connections

Recent changes mean that even if your browse is closed I can see those connections that we share.

Followers

When LinkedIn refers to ‘followers’ it means all of your first tier connections plus anyone that has decided to ‘follow’ you having seen a post in a group discussion. If I share a group with you I can also see how many ‘followers’ you have – very few people use the ‘follow’ feature so the chances are that all your ‘followers’ are actually first tier connections.

I recently checked out a connection who had 113 connections and had their browse closed;

  • 14 of these connections were shared so I could see them just by clicking on the link (their connection number)
  • I share 4 groups with this individual and through this I could identify another 26 ‘followers’ all of whom are first tier connections.
  • This individual is also a member of several other groups which I subsequently joined and revealed another 12 ‘followers’ – again all of these were first tier connections!
  • By guessing who their clients would be (in this case HR Directors and Managers) I performed an advance search and revealed another 20 connections.

So in summary, out of their 113 connections that they thought were hidden I fairly quickly got to see 72 of them!

Now admittedly not many people are going to be so interested as to undertake these tasks but the point is that it can be done so don’t kid yourself – your connections can never really be hidden, all you can do is make it a bit more difficult to find them.

In addition to this I will also be kept informed about all their new connections from now on because they have their ‘member feed visibility’ at the default setting and so every day I can see on my home page who they are connecting to!

I can’t stress how important it is for Recruiters to understand their privacy settings both in terms of what they can hide….and what they can’t!


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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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