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LinkedIn – Professional Networking OR Job Board?


My Ex-CEO forwarded me a site called LinkedIn in 2006. I was instantly impressed and connected to this very concept of being professional in networking. At the end – that’s the most important identity to know for any recruiter eh? However before going GAGA over it – I had to understand the mechanism behind LinkedIn and how I could connect to potential talent. However over the few years, LinkedIn has chosen to travel in a direction which in a way is defeating the very purpose of professional networking. It’s becoming more of a job board which just happens to have another bunch of people who might not have presence on job board.

LinkedIn was already running a special package for recruiters wherein any recruiter can pay few bugs to LinkedIn to directly connect to any person in their network. This means even if you do not happen to know a connection of a connection – you can simply InMail him with paid package to reach over. Well the original rule says you have to use your connection to get introduced to their connection. That’s what networking is. Your connections give a way to their connections and so on. In this case, LI is providing a paid agent for you to directly intrude a person who might not be interested to hear from you. Just because you paid LinkedIn – they are granting you a special permission. A regular user still has to go through a normal procedure of professional networking. Poor bugger can’t bypass the road coz he does not have extra money to spare. How fair is that?

Additionally – now LinkedIn has also travelled further to give same facility to job seekers. They can still search and view the hiring manager profile and contact them directly. Where the hell networking comes in here? You are bypassing your network to reach out the direct prospect. Also in a way, this is unsolicited marketing through networking. This whole issue sets a big question whether LinkedIn has been true to its own concept, identity and users?

Remember a time where LinkedIn was advertising its own different approach of “professional networking”. You can make your presence in your trusted friends, family and co-workers while increasing a network through true concept of networking. It did not allow anyone to intrude in anyone’s network directly unless a permission. Either you have to get introduced to a stranger either your network by forwarding an introduction. OR else, you have to send him an invitation e-mail where the other person would only accept it if he wants to do so. Now because LinkedIn has grabbed attention of all professional users and gathered a good database – it seems to commercialized a “Networking”. If you have a dollar to spare – we can introduce you to anyone on LinkedIn (well, almost anyone). In that manner by offering a service to job seeker and recruiter both – they are making it a job board. Imagine if you can most of your target people under one roof and you do not have to go through any hassle of networking – pay and use. Is that what LinkedIn started? Is that what Professional Networking means??

Still not convinced. Here are few similarities on Job Board and LinkedIn.

1) It is a database of potential candidates with their professional profiles. Although not in full format but name and company name would suffice. Job Board is also a database with their CVs.

2) LinkedIn offer a service to publicize jobs just like any other Job Board would do.

3) One of LinkedIn’s biggest customers are job seekers and recruiters – same like a job board.

4) In job board, if you pay for certain time – you can view any CV in the database and contact candidate directly. LinkedIn offering a very similar service to candidates and recruiters to contact each other.

I totally understand the fact that for recruiters professional networking means finding right candidates. However this can also be done without all these services. The very fact that LinkedIn is promoting these services is ruining its own identity as a “Professional Network”. Few of my clients had already tagged LinkedIn as job board. The beauty of LinkedIn is every professional can use it in a way it would benefit him/her. That’s one of the purpose he/she wants to connect with other people; however there is a way to make new connections. It is also very much important to know how you go about increasing your network and making it to full use. That’s what core of any networking. However giving a full paid access to bypass those principals is just against any rules of networking. Networking is NOT emailing anyone about a job opportunity – just like any other recruiter does with their job board candidate. It’s whole different ART all-together.

Anyways – I sincerely feel that LinkedIn has got an immense power as “People Networking” tool. However its purpose is to provide a platform for connecting and networking. They should not go beyond and try to become a job board. People will shy away from it if they start seeing it as a job board. It is a networking tool ONLY and should do what it does best. NETWORKING and not RECRUITING!!!

P.S. – I am sourcer too who use LinkedIn extensively. However, I prefer a good old way than using it as a job board through paid tools.

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Categories: Tools Tags: , , ,
  1. RN
    April 19, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    So you think Twitter is a Job Board? Your 1, 2, 3 is viable for twitter as well and I am sure twitter would come soon with ur 4th point

  2. April 20, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Sad but true, Sarang. LinkedIn became embraced as a major force in the revolution against push marketing, and seems to now be reversing its direction. Perhaps it was their intention all along – to out-monster Monster, or out-build Careerbuilder, under the guise of social media. Let’s face it, all of these free resources can’t stay free forever. Somewhere beneath the surface lurks a business model just waiting for the right time to be released. With Ning recently surprising its users with the announcement that they’ll have to pay to play (http://bit.ly/cMvlk1), it makes me wonder if all of these social media platforms are simply riding the social wave right back to the littered shore of business as usual. Let’s hope not.

  3. Asad
    April 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Echo your sentiments on this quality site turning to be another job portal. This could result in quite a few old (read senior) contributors parting ways as they would surely not be interested in being bombarded with junk requests. The only reason seniors had got themselves engaged actively on this platform was to network and share their knowledge. With the current happenings not sure how long would one get to benefit from being associated with such “social” sites.

  4. July 5, 2010 at 6:52 am

    Тосты

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