Things you didn’t know about LinkedIn – & probably don’t want to

Many people see LinkedIn as a way to stay connected to fellow professionals.  However, the online resume platform uses some interesting tactics to help put a price on your skill set. Our Orlando marketing agency uses LinkedIn to help us find talent, but always with caution.  What follows are some things you may not know about the high tech career services company.

LinkedIn is a Search Engine for Resumes.

Think about how a search engine works.  Typically, a person keys in search words in order to filter results.  From a recruitment perspective, LinkedIn allows employers like our Florida marketing agency to weed out unqualified job seekers and limit searches to only the top candidates.  That means that hiring personnel can search based on your number of years of experience, prior job titles, educational background, skill set and anything else you put on your online resume.  While in theory this sounds like an excellent, efficient recruiting strategy, it also has serious limitations.  For examples, recruiters will tell you not to use the most recent buzzwords on your resume, but then will actively search for terms such as “creative,” “innovative” and “strategic” as they look for job candidates.  In the end, it’s all about how build your profile, and therefore not necessarily about your actual experience and what you can bring to the table.

LinkedIn can expedite the hiring process, saving recruiters time and money in placing individuals.  Whereas it once used to cost potential employers $20,000 to place one person through a staffing company, such large companies can now manage such requests in-house to narrow the search down to a dozen qualifies applicants in minutes.

It’s All about Sales.

LinkedIn has a tremendous sales force behind it.  The company’s representatives sell recruitment products to leading Fortune 500 corporations, and those products are quickly becoming the industry standard in recruiting practices.  Companies that don’t latch on to LinkedIn’s practices will risk falling behind the industry, and therefore, will continue to shell out cash for LinkedIn’s recruiting service products.

While the team at LinkedIn purports to care about helping professionals connect with each other and helping job seekers connect with recruiters, what really seems to be driving the company is the bottom line.  Because LinkedIn’s revenue model actually works (as opposed to Facebook, which currently seems to be facing some challenges), the company is working hard to make money while the company is still profitable, potentially at the expense of the people it purports to help.

LinkedIn Makes Millions From Users’ Personal Information.

The leading professional social platform uses your information and connections to make big bucks.  [quote]Data is extremely valuable, and the more that a company like LinkedIn can garner from you, the more that the company can leverage your information to build products that help grow the company.[/quote]  For the executives at LinkedIn, the bigger picture revolves around using your data to help sell products to the companies it services, to offer these companies advantages in terms of competitive hiring practices, desirable skill sets and in-demand job opportunities.

People Can See When You’ve Viewed Their Profile, Even if you Limit your Privacy Settings.

Even regular LinkedIn users may not know that every time you visit a profile, your name, photo and job title shows up on the person’s page.  Typically, LinkedIn’s privacy settings adjust to your own settings; for example, if you set your search settings to anonymous, you also can’t see who’s viewed your page.  However, if you’re in an in-between setting, and someone knows that “Someone in the Publishing Industry” looked at your profile, you can click on a link that shows about ten profiles that match that description, with one of those being the person who actually looked at you.  Typically, you can use the process of elimination to find out who is stalking you.  This can offer some awkwardness, especially for small business owners who may be looking into their networks’ talent pool.

LinkedIn May Still be Behind in Security.

Earlier this year, more than 6.5 million LinkedIn passwords were stolen and published online, exposing a hole in the company’s security procedures.  While technology moves fast, it’s possible that even six months later, the company hasn’t effectively worked to fix security holes that may lead to breaches.  Unfortunately, the only way we’ll know is if someone else comes forward and attempts to crack the code.

If You Don’t Have a LinkedIn Profile, You Might be Screwing Up Your Future.

Even if all these things offer a solid case against using LinkedIn, the reality is that employers rely on it the way that teenagers rely on Facebook.  For employers such as our Orlando advertising firm, LinkedIn is a gateway to your digital presence, and will continue to be such as long as the company is making money from your data.  If you have yet to sign up for LinkedIn, you may be sheltering yourself from career opportunities amidst an uncertain economic climate, which could be shooting yourself in the foot in terms of future opportunities.

Love it or hate it, LinkedIn is the holy grail of recruiting technologies, and is around to stay.  If you’re using LinkedIn (and you probably should be), make sure to leverage your knowledge of the digital platform in a way that puts you in best light with future employers.

Be sure to check out BIGEYE’s Linkedin profile here: http://www.linkedin.com/company/bigeye