First in A Series
A little background is in order: I am a LinkedIn PowerUser. I have over 3,800 contacts in my network. I maintain a disciplined network of semiconductor engineers and fellow corporate recruiters. I use Linkedin because as a 21st Century Recruiter, I prefer laser guns to bows and arrows.
Love/Hate relationships are complicated things. People are passionate in every sense of the things we hold dear, esp the things we love. You know the ones, the person you marry, your siblings. In this instance, I am writing about my beloved Linkedin. I am passionate about my observance of all the grand advantages it holds as a recruiter’s potential best friend. I can likewise be often frustrated that the thing I love can have so many convulted rules. It’s all about the rules that bind us. This is one of many posts to follow about the topic of social networking platforms, and about Linkedin, my platform of choice, in particular. I cherish it while like any friend, I observe its flaws and I prod, email its customer service, its leadership and exhange IM with my colleagues in the industry about how wonderful it would be if social networking platforms could embrace rather than limit their applicability to our War For Talent. Linkedin is my daily arsenal of passing virtual business cards, and keyword searching profiles aka resumes. If it would hold our hand in the battle for the Passive Candidates, Linkedin could be the secret weapon leading us to VE day.
Yes, Linkedin is my friend, it keeps me warm and fed on nights of cold leads and unfilled reqs; that being said ….. we let our friends know how they can better themselves to reach their potential; it’s what friends do. I am Linkedin’s best friend. I consider this my open letter to my pals at Linkedin.
My inspiration for writing this ‘open letter’ has been long in the making. My sourcing guru friends and colleagues in general within corporate recruitment have been goading me for some time to discuss Linkedinâ€™s idiosyncratic approach in dealing with its key customer base, CORPORATE RECRUITERS, YOU & I, the very lucrative customer base its profit could derive benefit from. Linkedin can strengthen its relations handidly with my fellow recruiters and broaden its profit base by keeping faithful to core essential, customer relations bullet points. I developed a short list and You be the judge my fellow corporate recruiters:
1. Ask your customer base what additional features would best promote social relationship building for talent. A company that provides a service should do its utmost to pay attention to the needs and concerns of its customers. Create a core group of Beta users to try existing and new features before they hit market to optimize impact and performance.
2) Ask your customer base what interface quirks are problematic in an effort to streamline your user-friendly format. For example, perhaps not allowing introductions which promote jobs to fellow employees from agencies and/or competitors (that’s unethical) or making it easier to add and remove endorsements as needed, or making your LinkedIn badges easier to find 🙂
3. Alert your customer base to any changes in policies with e-newsletter updates (similar to those letters from your credit card company rules and regs updates). Don’t assume it’s enough notice when you ‘announce’ a crucial issue like how many invites a customer has left by listing it in the form of a little box in green, blue or yellow. This practice often has impt data out of line with viewing habits from a user-interface perspective.
4) Create perks which distinguish paid from non-paying customers where it matters: The Overall number of invites available, if not limitless, or amount granted without complex formulas. Linkedin should establish as few obstacles as possible for their customer base when utilizing the benefits of its services.
5) Create a credible Customer Council, perhaps by core customer bases; ***a recruiment council in particular,*** which will invite different perspectives. Reinforce by the regularity of meetings/teleconferences scheduled, the manner you derive, assess, and ultimately implement the recommendations we provide to make LinkedIn better & stronger. One shoe size never fits all customers.
6) Always remember, Corporate Recruiters can be your bread and butter if you embrace them and train your Privacy Officers, Customer Service, and Sales to improve their interactions with us. Remember the profit-motive and public relations fact: We, as a industry, are often the eyes/ears of our multi-million/billion dollar corporate bosses. We advise where those recruitment dollars go. A bad experience or one frustrating limitation too many can kill a large order, $4k Plus Job posting subscription. It did for me.
The issue under scrutiny is Linkedin’s practice of tightly limiting the number of additional invites granted on a monthly basis once a member has exceeded the arbitrary number of 3,000 invites. The new rules in place since this past spring effect members regardless of whether their subscription is paid, be it a $2,000 Plus or $240 plus account membership or a free membership. Linkedin decided to enforce this â€˜ruleâ€™ last spring. (Another post on this one later). I would argue that paid memberships should have their perks which distinguish themselves from free accounts, esp. with regards to invites available, but to be specific, it’s those frustrating monthly grants which grabbed my attention this past week. Ever since one new rule followed the next, I have been a well behaved boy and use my Linkedin invites very, very sparingly. Each month, PowerUsers, like myself, who have very likely exceeded there invite ceiling have to await judgment if they have been naughty or nice as to whether they receive additional invites. If you are very well behaved, you get up to a maximum of 500. If you have been naughty, less than 300. I was somewhere in between according to the super computer at Linkedin. I decided I would save my invites and use them very sparingly in order to be granted the high privilege of the 500 additional invites I needed to make my next large upload and invite request to my outlook contacts and friends.
From: David Howell
Sent: Friday, July 07, 2006 1:11 PM
Subject: Re: WILL I BE GETTING MY NEW ALLOTMENT OF INVITES? 500?
Thank you for your email. Your account has been reviewed and you have been granted 300 invitations … You may request another increase on 08/07/2006 by sending a request to Customer Service at email@example.com
Manager, Customer Service
I circled each day on my imaginary calendar and the day had come, August 7th, when a month had passed and I would await like a boy on Christmas for his shiny new 500 invites to be granted under the imaginary Christmas tree!
But alas, it was not to be. After 4 customer service emails that appeared random, and then a call from THEE David Howell, Manager, Customer Service at Linkedin, Himself, – I was the told the new rules from the magical hat:
â€¢ First, One month must have passed since your last invite grant (okay met that one!!)
â€¢ Then, 75% of the last invites grant must have been used, (What? This is a new one â€¦ get me a calculator!)
â€¢ Then you need to remove the prior upload contacts in the last grant â€¢ Then, when next grant is applied, then I have to erase prior contacts for emailing.
â€¢ Then, I must re-upload the contact CSV file to produce my Linkdin Invites,
â€¢ Then, I must delete prior contacts again to ensure the invites are the total of those uploaded represented in the invite send out
If it sounds complicated and capable of frustrating the recruiters amongst us, it is and it does.
I wasnâ€™t pleased. I’ve been a swell friend I tell ya! Santa has bitch slapped me and I had helped a lot of little old ladies down the streets to achieve the shiny 500 in the hopes of making a good impression – all for naught it appears.
I tried my Jedi tricks of persuasion. Alas Linkedin decided it was easier to present hoops and ladders for “Yours Truly Recruiter” from achieving nirvana â€“ adding to my NETWORK.
David Howell, Manager, Customer Service; response to my complaints: “I can appreciate your frustration however these are the criteria for invite increases”
Then David ended the conversation with: “Your point is taken sir, it is”
The things you love can be the most frustrating.
Fellow Recruiters, I invite you to share your Linkedin stories 🙂 I also invited my virtual friend, Konstantin Guericke, to guest blog on ways in which to align Linkedin services to meet the challenges we recruiters face. More importantly, I invite Konstantin to initiate a dialogue on how Linkedin can better utilize input from the recruitment industry and blogosphere. We have a lot to learn from each other!
I will end my post with a request: If you haven’t Joined Linkedin, you haven’t experienced the 21st century arsonal of modern social relationship based networking. Join Linkedin, Open BC, Spoke, – whatever you choose, – but embrace at least one, if not all of the platforms available today or be left behind in the War for Talent.
Join Linkedin Here, just be sure you follow the rules, and make your voice heard on how best to improve the service … it’s what friend’s do. 🙂
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