Why I love LinkedIn

March 24, 2008

Today we have a guest poster: Le tete du fromage Recruiter/Blogger

Wow, have you seen the new company page feature in LinkedIn? It was great before, certainly the number one source for cold calling software engineers. The information is the best, as the users keep it updated with their latest moves, so it doesn’t go bad like you might get from that lowest of the low service Jigsaw.

Now it is even better. It is all arranged via company and much easier to view all the employees at once. And searchable too. No more scrolling through all those records, looking for only the developers.

Even better, they show you who has been promoted and who was hired recently. So now we can see that someone senior was brought in for a project lead role. This naturally ticks off a few of the team members that were passed over, so it is a great heads up on the right time to call the group. Same thing when someone is promoted, a few people would be vying for the job, so now we have the opportunity to call when they are most vulnerable to being poached. Brilliant.

Also, showing where the new hires have come from and where they go, points out the companies that are vulnerable and losing employees. Recruiters always have been doing that using their personal knowledge, but now, we can take advantage of companies on a much larger scale as we have info on every company and the fact that they are losing employees and to whom.

You have to give credit to LinkedIn for being able to pull this off. Always wary of recruiters, companies are well aware of the firms that set up the revolving door and take people out and then put others right back in. A perpetual source of income. That is why recruiting agreements have non-solicitation clauses. But LinkedIn sells a company a recruiting package with job postings or maybe even recruiting consulting and then opens up all the employees names to us recruiters to do what we do best. Of course we use the inmails to reach all the engineers of your company 😉 .

Another thing that is great is that it only takes 10 minutes and around twenty connections to build a network with a reach of over 4 million people. I brought on a new recruiter the other day and had her subscribe to LinkedIn and do the following: send connect invitations to the top twenty most connected users in LinkedIn. This took about ten minutes and within an hour or so, they all had accepted the connection, no problem with not knowing who they are linking to, it’s all about how many you are linked to. So boom, an inexperienced recruiter now has a network of over 4 million contacts to review backgrounds (might as well be a resume) and start dialing for dollars.

One more great thing about the loosely conntected millions is that it makes the Linkedin job ad virtually useless. If you delve into the recruiting testimonials from the LinkedIn clients, I bet you will find they acheived their results by using LinkedIn to directly poach out of other companies. My conversations with hiring managers, is that as an ad delivery vehicle, LinkedIn is not that great. I would think that is because, what is supposed to be a highly targeted candiate pool is actually a diluted mess. Due to the “my network is bigger than yours” mentality of a lot of the users and recruiters, LinkedIn is definitely not a powerful network of trusted professionals. But it is a beautiful searchable “employee directory” like the slimy sourcers used to steal. Now they just use Linkedin.

In conclusion, LinkedIn is the best thing that has ever happened for us Head Hunters and it is only getting better as they add more features to deliver their users to us in an evermore efficient and timely manner.


You are the product not the user. The average user that signed up for LinkedIn thinks LinkedIn is helping them stay connected to their close network of contacts. There are many other ways to stay connected to your associates now and they should consider leaving LinkedIn.

Most users do not visit the site on a weekly, monthly and maybe even yearly basis. What they might not have realized is that they are not the customer, they are the product. I highly doubt that is was clear to them at the time they signed up, that the business of LinkedIn is selling views of their profile to the majority of users that drive the page views, head hunters. I would guess that if peoples names were not visible in the records, then LinkedIn’s traffic would plummet to nothing very quickly.

1. LinkedIn takes money from companies for job postings and at the same time sells their employees information to the hordes of head hunters that make up the majority of daily users and page viewers. Even recruiters have non-solicitation clauses. What does it say about a company that has ethics even lower than a head hunter’s?

2. LinkedIn says one thing to make you think your information is under control when they know that it is not. LinkedIn tells new users to only link to people they know, thus giving them a false sense that their profile can not be viewed by the unconnected masses. At the same time, LI is well aware of users that amass huge networks of faceless connections for the sole purpose of reaching as many people as possible. LinkedIn has turned a blind eye to these toplinked groups. Even Facebook limits the amount of “friends” one can have. LinkedIn does not because it would limit the number of people that a head hunter can view.

3. Shouldn’t the policy be opt in instead of opt out? Why do users have to opt out of being displayed in their companies profile when they are promoted, recently joined, or are the “popular profile”. This is just blatant disrespect for the supposed customers. It may take a long time for someone to even find out that their record is fair game on the company page.

4. If you did use a screen name instead of your real name to protect yourself from cold calling headhunters, it is a violation of the user agreement to use a pseudonym. So LinkedIn provides no protection from the cold calls and makes it illegal for you to simply use a fake name, which would easily solve the problem. Can you guess why?

5. LinkedIn is not a powerful network of friend of a friend connections. It is a phone book. Or as someone said “the equivalent of putting your name on the restroom stall.” Since so many users have amassed huge networks of people they do not know, the powerful network of tight connections does not exist anymore. Total dilution of what could have been a powerful tool.

You may ask how is that evil, a phone book is not evil. The difference is that it is search able. Go to Switchboard.com, can you search for someone just by putting in the street and state to see everyone that lives on that street? No, and for good reasons that have to do with privacy. So even though these people know that they are in the phone book, they are protected by the keeper of this information and trust them to protect their privacy.

I’m sure there are more ways to count, but that is all for today. If you have any other ways please leave them in the comments here and we will add them to this rant.

Where are all the Linkedin apps from their API program and why is it taking so long? I know several companies that have applied to Linkedin to build an APP using the LinkedIn api.

1. when they filled out the application form and sent it in. They never heard word one from Linkedin, even to acknowledge they received the application.

2. How many apps do you know of that Linkedin currently supports, even though they announced the program some time ago.

3. Rumors are that LinkedIn is releasing their own internal apps, that surprise, are similar if not the same as some that sent in API requests.

Just Sayin…………?

I had an interesting conversation the other day with an engineer from a recruiting job search company, when he posted a complaint in the Linkedin Q&A about recruiters calling him. He was saying that they were getting his name from his Linkedin profile and calling him even though he says in the profile to not call.

I tried to tell him that he was being naive to think they wouldn’t call and he was getting mad at being called naive. He said that he was the customer and that they should do what he wanted. I tried to explain to him that he was not the customer of Linkedin he was the product. He didn’t want to believe that. Then I asked him what would happen to the traffic of Linkedin if everyone changed their name to a screen name or something like John FULinkedin?  My guess the traffic would plummet because the real customers of Linkedin, the recruiters would not have any reason to make all those page views anymore.

Linkedin has lulled the users into thinking that as long as they only connect to people they know, then their privacy will be maintained.  But all it takes is for one person in their 1st degree connection to connect to a super user, and wham their profile is available to all headhunters. So even though they say to not link to alot of people just to increase the size of your network, they know that there are groups out there like toplinked with people that are connected to 39,000+. At least Facebook limits the number of friends you can have to minimize that kind of stuff. And it is no surprise that some of those topLinked list make a living by training recruiters how to find the most people on Linkedin.

So if you are in a high demand profession and don’t want a lot of annoying cold calls from recruiters, you might want to consider changing to a screen name in your Linkedin profile or getting out altogether. There are a lot of other ways to keep in touch with your close friends besides LI. You need to determine if having the equivalent of your name on the bathroom stall is worth the trouble. And oh by the way it is search able for your particular skills.