This is a message that was left on my voicemail by an individual who has known me for many years.


…you reached out to me a while back and a couple weeks ago on LinkedIn.  I had not accepted your invitation to be a part of your network because I was hesitant to announce to my network that I was accepting a connection from a recruiter.  But I am interested in talking to you and wanted to set up a time to chat.  I see that we have a number of connections in common as I look down this list, looks like you and I move in similar circles.


From the passive candidates’ perspective has LinkedIn transitioned into the job board space?

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Id like to answer this in accordance with my blog, "Ask not what social networking can do for you but rather what you can do with social networking."  Firstly I would be very interested to know, what your response was to this individual and how you have actioned your invitation? "No one replied to me on Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn,” and so forth. I also hear the timeless “Social Recruiting is a fad and it does not work." The last time we were so excited and foaming at the mouth was when the internet came about, so in my believe you are either the join the transition into social networking as a recruiting site or you do not see the value it its possibilities and get left behind. To answer your question Id have to say I believe that it has transitioned for those who are open to it, which clearly your candidate is hesitant based on reputation.

The confidentiality of working with  or being connected with a recruiter is something that i think we all need to keep in mind both on Linkedin and other social sites.  I make it a point to tell local candidates that if i see them in public i will not speak to them first as many people know what i do and they might be in the company of someone who works with them who is aware of that fact and might ask how they know me.  If they speak first i acknowledge and always try to ask something about their kids or a hobby so there is no question as to the nature of our relationship.


I hide my Linkedin connections for that very reason.  There are a lot of companies who have little people running the net to see who has their resume out there, who is connected to recruiters and they will be asked about it.


Yes, Ken Linkedin is regarded as a job board not only by a lot of recruiters but by a large number of employers.  I had to laugh when i saw a few days ago a new recruiter anouncing on twitter that he was disconnecting from a lot of his contacts on Linkedin to protect the privacy of his candidates.  I guess he didn't know that he could make his connection list private.  But what good does that do if his candidate has a connection list that reflects five recruiters.

Great analogy Sandra…I guess what you are saying is that even though a recruiter might view himself as an Industry expert, a trusted advisor and travels in the same circle with his connections, he may be viewed as a liability by the very same connections.  So, connecting with a recruiter might be the same as having an affair and letting your friends and co-workers in on the secret?  

I must admit that I was misled, especially by LinkedIn into believing that in order for their model to work for you-you have to be open, honest and transparent.   It’s crazy that you cannot be seen with people of a certain profession.

think of it this way ken.  If you were seeing a shrink for any of the multiple and valid reasons that people see a shrink.  You might not want your shrink to walk over to your table at dinner and ask how you are or even acknowledge that they knew you unless you spoke to them first.  If you were with a group of people who also knew that the guy was a shrink (might even be a patient also) the first question when he left the table might be, "Hey Ken, how do you know Dr. Shrink?  Now you have to either lie to your buddies or tell them that you thought about blowing up the office so decided you might need a little professional help or whatever that you might not want to discuss.  You really might not want one of the group going back to the office saying," Ya know i think ole Ken may be having some problems he is sure friendly with Dr. Shrink. " I know he places docs but he didn't say the guy was a candidate of his. " (Cause even if he were a candidate or trying to hire somebody you wouldn't want everybody to know that either.)


Not sure it's on the same level as having an affair and talking about it.  Bad form that... but sort of along those same lines.  If many things are not on a need to know or confidential basis there would chaos everywhere mythinks.


No matter what anybody tells you.  Nothing is totally open, honest and transparent and if you think about it who wants to know everything about anybody.  Yeeeckkk.  That falls under the catagory of too much information in my book.  I dont' want other recruiters to read my profile and figure out who my clients are by the HR Managers or internal recruiters i am connected with on Linkedin.  Linkedin is a treasure trove of information that people have no idea they  are putting out there if you follow up their list of connections.  I can almost tell you if a candidate has had plastic surgery if they are connected with several plastics docs or skin care companies or that they are focused on looks etc.  Think about it.  it's fun to profile people then interview them and see if your profile from looking at their connections and company follows is what you think it is.

Most internal recruiters will not share with you who the other recruiters are that they work with.  If you want to know just look at the internal recruiter's connections.  There they are.  Then if you want to know who those recruiters are sending to your client just look at the recruiters connections in the field that the job falls into and you know who they are sending and on and on.  Subversive, isn't it.  If somebody wants me on their connection list that's just great but nobody will find them from mine. 

Ken i really like this post and the Implications to Employees and Employers... I think a blog needs to be written to evaluate really how Employers define LinkedIn now and if LinkedIn can be defined as a Job Board then Employers are going to have a problem in the future with Employees public use of the online business network.  It's not LinkedIn's fault how users eventually utilize their online web service.   People will eventually use a site for its "best use" outside of the what the founders had originally intended.  If the profiles on LinkedIn are to be defined as resumes - what's stopping employers from asking Employee to hide their profiles?   Perhaps a blog needs to be written explore this  fully ...

I think the kicker about how smart Linkedin has been about their business model is that there is no difference at all between a resume and most linkedin profiles.  A resume is a presentation of a persons professional background and education as are most of the profiles.


By calling it a professional networking site any employee can say to the boss, "Oh hell no i am not looking for a job that's a professional network that gives me the opportunity to engage with other people in my profession, are you nuts.  I would never put my resume out there in public if i were looking for a job. (So Mr. employer prove that i am using it as a job board, if it is why are you on there are you looking?)


Now to Ken's point, if that same person has five recruiters in his connections Mr. Employer is going to get nervous unless of course they are on Mr. Employers connection list.  I love it.  when a job board is not a job board it is a professional networking site or a talent community that the talent community peddelers are now trying to sell as an online conference group to exchange ideas albeit every company needs to have one so every applicant joins the "talent community" so the rest of the world knows they are sniffing around that particular company.  Ah yes the joys of transparency.

Sandra I really hope your solution to the major repercussions I see coming is that simple ... I think I will prepare a blog to illustrate this ...
Thanks Paul for jumping in, I know that you are pretty high on LinkedIn. Would love to read a blog on expectations of individuals promoting themselves with their profiles/resumes! But if you think about it, maybe there is a real bias against recruiters and it’s probably the same reason why recruiters rarely connect with other recruiters. I see more of that on Twitter and here on RBC, but not on LinkedIn.

Back to Sandra’s point: It always puzzles me when someone asks to connect, only to discover later that their connections are hidden. Now I have an idea why, but what would be the purpose if everyone hid their connections or not connect with ones where it makes sense to connect?

Transparency is becoming an issue in recruiting where candidates, recruiters, HR, hiring managers, vendors are all connected.
Is there still any serious debate as to whether Linkedin is a job board or not?

When you 'hide' your connections, that only means others can't browse through them, however, they can still easily find and 'see' them, by doing a search, they'll come up that way.


Technically LinkedIn is not a job board, it's a networking site. But, by marketing itself to recruiters and to users, it is selling itself as a recruiting tool that can be as effective as a job board. The more it becomes offically known as a job board though, the more I think we'll see people disconnecting from it because they don't want to be perceived as 'looking'.

This is the Point I am trying to make Pam ...  I don't need to write the blog ... "The more it becomes offically known as a job board though, the more I think we'll see people disconnecting from it because they don't want to be perceived as 'looking'."


@Jerry ... Can you imagine the repercussions in the Market place when HR Organizations from  Fortune 500 Companies assume your premise LinkedIn is a Job Board.   Ok Employees we only want your profile shown in a non- public format on linkedIn  closed Intranets permission based connections only ...  I am afraid to write this blog .... 

Pam is correct. Almost everything is findable if it exists on the cloud anywhere. Linkedin connections are a bit like giving the entire world access to your database and client list.

Recruiters use any list of people and their background as a source. Conference lists. Patents of products. Liscensure by state boards etc. Etc. All linked in has done is to create an easy place to find most of their current cv and many times contact information, so call it whatever you want to call it, but recruiters use it as a job board. Job coaches tell their clients in the first breath to get a profile up so recruiters and sourcers can easily find them if they are looking. Making it a multi-purpose site, networking for networkers, job board for recruiters, research treasure trove for sales reps looking for potential customers and a marketing platform for companies they have successfully created a site that is what the user wants it to be. Like a lot of things that have come and gone or exploded then leveled out to settle in it will take time to see where Likedin settles. If it does. It may continue to evolve as a site that is many things as the groups multiply.

@Paul I have already seen situations where companies have asked employees to take down or modify their profiles. Legal departments are reviewing profiles to be sure that employees are not posting things that are making proprietary information available to the masses. Just saw one where a scientist in an R&D group listed the technology and processes they were using without a thought that by doing so another scientist could look at and know a lot more than the company would ever even talk about with a candidate who was interviewing with them who had signed a confidentiality agreement. The employee was horrified when she was asked to modify it. Never thought about what she had revealed by just listing her own expertise with specific dna testing.

Law schools are starting to develop classes in Internet law. All of this is going to be interesting to watch as we try to balance transparency with common sense about what and how some things should be private. Or I guess we can become a global nudist colony and make all information about everything transparent. As much as I like you guys and gals My preference is that all of us keep our clothes on and keep a lot of info to ourselves.

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