Saturday, April 17, 2010

Job search notes: LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium Service - not a silver bullet

No one ever got their MBA because of superior empathetic skills. Few people, if any, had a successful law school career because of their predilection for being a team-player rather than focusing on their own accomplishments. No-one teaches you (formally) the abilities of being a good conversationalist - having a fresh point of view, but not trying to thrust it upon everyone else, speaking politely and respectfully; telling good stories to illustrate key points; being good at drawing other people’s views out and drawing them into the conversation; not being afraid to admit areas of ignorance; listening with genuine interest. In our educational system (and in our firms’ training and development approaches) these basic human skills are either absent, or treated as secondary.
It sounds trivial and trite to say “It’s all about learning to deal with people,” but what’s often overlooked is that it’s very HARD to develop such people skills if you don’t start until later in life. People and firms underestimate how much effort and time it takes to develop such skills.
This is just one good bit from David Maister's interview with Charles H Green in the Trust Quotes series Charles is running. I recommend going ahead to read the full article here. Don't worry. I'll be here and waiting for you when you come back.

Back now? Good let's continue. Do you recall that David goes on to say:
When people ask, “How can I be seen as more trustworthy?” there’s more than a little hint of “Let’s get to the stage where I begin to benefit as quickly as possible.”
In this context, LinkedIn's new premium service offering for job seekers can be seen as LinkedIn trying to serve a market need (job seeker's needing to find a job) who are willing to pay for something that otherwise (with a little time and effort) would be free.

Phil Rosenberg has a good overview of the new service here.
The LinkedIn blog had the announcement here

I commented on Phil's post about the two key issues I see with this service leading to an overall lack of ROI for me as a job seeker.

To expand upon the point of knowing more about the folks who search for me, even if the folks set their profile to show more info about themselves (and a number don't, so paying for it is paying for no more than you get today), what would you do with that info?

If you know it is raining out, you could be prepared with a raincoat or at least an umbrella. The knowledge can lead to a change in behavior. Knowing it is 90 degree F, you might consider going with a short sleeve shirt instead of a long sleeve and no coat instead of your wool blazer.

So "Someone in the Logistics function in the Defense & Space industry from Greater Boston Area" has searched for you (and this is a recent example from my own profile), how is that going to change your behavior?

If you were behaving inappropriately, you should reconsider period.

If you are behaving consistently within your realm, using your skills and qualifications, then would there be a behavior change?

And if there wouldn't be, is that info enough to pay for? Not in my book.

So let's shift gears a bit and take this on from the hiring managers point of view. You post a job on LinkedIn and obtain a listing of candidates. With this new premium offering, the listing now contains some folks on the top of the listing who have paid to be there? Are they any more qualified? Do they even have the skills required? But they paid to be on top? How much weight will that carry?

Wouldn't it still come down to the trust factor? Will LinkedIn be trusted to provide qualified candidates just because they have paid for a premium account?

Wouldn't it be better for the job seeker to spend time seriously and intentionally building their network based upon real quality relationships?

Wouldn't a group like the "Top Recommended People" on LinkedIn be a better source of qualified candidates than someone who has paid for a premium account (all things being equal)?

Let me close with another quote from David that I'll extend to this conversation:
I think we are living in organizations which have low (and declining) trust and individuals are responding in kind. I think our economy and society has been training people to not trust.
If you think the LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium service is a silver bullet, you can happily pay for the privilege.

What do you think?

Disclosure: I am a member of the Top Recommended People. I have chosen not to pay for any premium
account services as I have found no compelling reason to do so. If you do have any reasons, I am open to discussing them.