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LinkedIn Payola: Selling out employers and job hunters (corcodilos.com)
39 points by johnny99 1519 days ago | hide | past | web | 18 comments | favorite

This article is factually incorrect.

If you pay for a Job Seeker Subscription you show up at the top of the list of APPLICANTS for a job, it does not influence the search result rankings when a recruiter is searching LinkedIn.

I think some of the confusion is from the way the marketing copy is worded:

* "Get special placement as a Featured Applicant"

translation: show up at the top of the list of applicants for a job, but its clear you paid for placement (ex: http://corcodilos.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/linked...)

* "Stand out in search results with a Job Seeker Badge"

translation: you get a badge next to your name in search results telling recruiters you are an activate candidate, I personally think the value of this is dubious (ex: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/22639568/Search___Linked...)

I agree. I've been very critical of some LinkedIn tactics, but this service appears to deliver what it says it does: you pay a small fee to become slightly more visible to employers that haven't opted out. Depending on how the employer screens their applications they might pay more attention to you, or they might not. If it helps you get the job it's money well spent, if not it potentially costs you less than the value of time you spend writing an application anyway.

On the other hand, LinkedIn's targeting of job ads is embarrassingly poor in a way which is unlikely to benefit them financially. Generic job boards have an excuse for wasting my time with "Fluent German speaker required" jobs; a network that knows the languages I speak shouldn't.

Services that are not employer-paid are always less ethically sound. $29 is not on the same scale as some rip-offs in the employment business, and is far lower than what headhunters and employers pay on LinkedIn, but it should be beneath LinkedIn to get on that potentially slippery slope.

Services that are not employer-paid are always less ethically sound.

Why? Is it that individuals have fewer companies to choose from, and are more likely to check the entire list regardless of ordering? Is it that employers are the active participants (searching for potential employees vs individuals who just show up in searches instead of searching and applying to specific jobs)? Is it just that employers have more spare cash, so charging them doesn't annoy them as much?

It's that ultimately, the hiring decision is in the employer's hands. Candidates may end up paying even when there are no legitimate transactions to be had (employers are only speculatively browsing talent markets), but employers will pay because there is a burning need to fill their open position. Even if there is no talent immediately available, they can raise offered compensation until they create market demand for their open position.

There are several "personal marketing" or applicant-paid "career transition" services that are outright frauds, and Internet consumer complaint sites are full of stories of such rip-offs. Generally, if anyone asks for an up-front payment to find "unadvertized" jobs, run.

I used that service in my job search in the Spring. I don't think that it really made any difference in my response rate. I did find my current job via LinkedIn, and my resume was pushed to the top on that ad. However, the job was a great fit for my skill set so I think I would have got the interview regardless.

Exactly how does an employer benefit from applicants showing up at the top of the list because the applicant paid for the top position - after the employer paid to post jobs and to receive applications?

On the applicant side, if you can buy top position when applying for jobs posted on LinkedIn, why can't you buy position in the "searched" database? Is that "less ethical?"

LinkedIn is "a little bit pregnant." I've got no issue with job hunters doing what they can to get an employer's attention, but when LinkedIn starts "transparently" selling positioning to job hunters while it's charging employers for access to those applicants... well, like Richard Tomkins said in my column, you start looking like Lance Armstrong.

Expanded iteration of this story, with discussion of bigger issues, correction of a couple of errors, on NewsHour at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/businessdesk/2013/08/ask-the-hea...

Bottom line: A headhunter gets paid to deliver the best candidates to a company. If the headhunter then takes money from a candidate to put her resume at the top, that's cheating. So why is LinkedIn doing it--openly and shamelessly?

"Under U.S. law, 47 U.S.C. § 317, a radio station can play a specific song in exchange for money, but this must be disclosed on the air as being sponsored airtime, and that play of the song should not be counted as a "regular airplay".

Source: Wikipedia

Does LinkedIn identify the candidates on the top as having a "premium" membership?

Also, the "charts" were somehow important in the radio industry, so the law was that paid plays weren't supposed to affect the charts. What charts do we have for candidates here?

Also the airwaves belong to the public, but LinkedIn pages belong to LinkedIn.

Isn't this just inevitable with social networks? Over time they become sleazier and sleazier in search of revenue?

What makes it inevitable is being a public company, or being on track to be a public company, with quarterly numbers to hit.

quarterly growth numbers. Making $1B is no longer good enough if you made $1B last quarter.

Seems to be the case these days. Tricky to please both candidates and recruiters without intentionally inconveniencing the other.

Not that hard. Potential outcomes are as follows:

1. Company/Candidate are a great match for each other, everyone is happy. Both sides potentially willing to pay, though side with greater demand should carry financial burden.

2. Candidate is not the best fit, but wants Company's attention badly. Candidate is willing to pay.

3. Company is not the best employer for the candidates they want, but are willing to pay for access to those candidates anyway.

You want a system that monetizes the transaction of outcome 1, but does not try to facilitate transactions of type 2 and 3. Instead, the system should try to ‘coach up’ the participants in the later two transaction types and turn them into outcome 1 players.

Monetizing transactions 2 and 3, as this article points out that LinkedIn is doing, ultimately alienates everyone in the system, and strains the systems ability to complete successful outcome 1 transactions.

One may be able to monetize this ‘coaching up’ - an education focused, market information type of transaction - but when you monetize an outcome that is specifically harmful to half of your marketplace, you’re doing nothing but asking for trouble in the long run.

FWIW, we’re working on solving this problem with Mighty Spring (https://www.mightyspring.com). We’re a private tool, not a social network, focused on providing ‘Career Management’ services - something akin to Mint.com for your career.

In private beta now, but happy to expedite invites to the HN crowd, as we’re largely focused on helping software engineers and would love your feedback.

Looks intriguing! Sent in a beta request.

If I read it correctly someone from UK should sue them, under "The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003" because this practice is illegal in UK.

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