LinkedIn serves many great purposes; it’s a quick way to look people up online and learn about their work history, their qualifications, and what skills they have. In my opinion, it’s done a great job at replacing the ‘references’ section in our resumes which many people simply omit, or leave blank with a promise to provide them on request. It’s a great hunting ground for both new and veteran talent. It’s a great doorway to learning about company culture, and finding new job opportunities within your network.
It’s this last bit that I find a lot of people complaining about that you can’t find a job on LinkedIn. I’ve seen people complain about it so much. In the last year, I saw lots of posts from recruiters that claimed they were hiring for jobs in the middle-east and asked people to comment or leave their emails to indicate interest. Posts like this are the equivalent of click-bait Buzzfeed articles and they get the appropriate response. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of comments from people indicating their interest, and leaving their emails.
Logically, one would assume lots of people are looking for jobs and people like me, the ones who head-hunt talent on the site must be able to fill a position within days. That could not be further from the truth.
I’m not really looking for a job
This heading sums up what employed people on LinkedIn are doing when they indicate interest in a job. They aren’t actively looking for a new job. They see an interesting opportunity, they leave a comment asking the recruiter to check out their profile. They will often ignore the email address given in a job posting for sending their CVs to and expect the recruiter to simply rely on their profile, and make the effort to hire them.
People are not really looking for a job. A recruiter may (and I strongly believe he/she should) check out the profiles that indicate interest but only after they’ve gone through the CVs that sensible, professional people who actually read the directions and requirements of the posting sent in. People who show the least amount of interest like this are quickly weeded out because where job hunting takes time, so does recruitment.
How can a recruiter pass over a person who writes them an email, indicates their interest in the job, asks intelligent questions, and sends a CV, and decide to look through thousands of profiles which will often lack the right kind of information.
No, I really am looking for a job
Some people really do go the extra mile; they’ll send in a CV, they’ll send a message over LinkedIn. They will engage the recruiter, and CVs as well information about the company will be exchanged. Then they will go mute.
Sometime during that exchange, a person decides this job isn’t looking all that great. Their current one is fine for now until something better comes along. This is fine, there is no commitment to accept the job but this is where professional behaviour comes in; drop the recruiter a note telling him/her why you are no longer interested.
A lot of people feel they no longer need to engage with this person because it doesn’t suit them. They have nothing to get out of the exchange and investing time with so much as a quick note to say the salary or the career path doesn’t suit you, is not worth it.
Scapegoating: The worst case is when you decide to lie to the hiring manager about the online conversation you have had with the recruiter and claiming you were promised something else. It’s mind boggling that people would prefer this over telling the truth i.e. they’ve just changed their mind about it.
Until something better comes along
This really circles back to my initial point that a majority of people on LinkedIn aren’t looking for jobs. They’re quite comfortable in their current ones with minor grievances (we all have those, every job does). They’re looking for something better with no idea what that ‘better’ is. They see an opportunity, and they apply. That’s why vague posts claiming to have jobs in oil rich Middle eastern countries have people tripping over themselves trying to get in but posts with a proper job description fail to attract good talent.
But, why can’t I find a job?
The shortest, and most generalizing answer here is ‘Unprofessional behaviour’. It’s a sweeping generalization but when you exhibit the behaviour described above, it hurts your chances of getting a better job when you actually need it. There’s a sense of behaving professionally only when ‘we’ or ‘I’ need something.
This goes both ways with recruiters often ignoring people and going mute when they feel a candidate is a waste of their time. Candidates, likewise, do the same. What we have is the world’s biggest network of professionals behaving very unprofessionally.
Communication is key
So, should everyone just forget about ever finding a job on this wonderful network? I think not. Contrary to the experience a vast majority of people have had, I’ve successfully found a job through it. I’ve also failed to get many jobs that I applied for with recruiters going mute. There is a one factor that defines the difference in both these experiences; communication.
In the real world, not this cyber one we live in and fight for justice and human rights with our keyboards and cleverly worded comebacks, when we apply for jobs we call up companies and recruiters. Likewise, HR people do the same. It’s a lot harder to go mute when you’ve had actual human contact with a person, heard their voice, and talked to them. When you know that the ‘network’ is very real and a very solid word-of-mouth reputation is at stake you are inclined to behave more professionally.
I think we need to bring that online. Online recruiting is a thing. It happens and it can be effective but if we decide the normal rules of professional behaviour no longer apply to it, we are the ones making it ineffective. This is not something for job seekers or recruiters alone to do; we’re both equally invested in this and need to play our part in it.
The story originally appeared at author’s linkedIn profile here.