Linkedin's key missing link (and what I did about it).....

I got into the recruiting world 3 years ago and, like a lot of us, started using Linkedin very heavily to find prospective candidates and work my network for referrals. Recruiting like any sales process is inefficient but the one thing that struck me was the heavy reliance on guesswork on which candidates I would reach out for specific positions. Linkedin has many great features but a key thing it lacks is giving you an understanding of candidate intent when it comes to job search. In fact when you put Linkedin and theLadders side-by-side the only meaningful extra value that theladders offers recruiters is the implied intent that candidates are there because they are actively looking. The result is lots of wasted outreach to people who aren’t looking and not enough outreach to people that are looking – for example those folks with less than 6 months tenure at their current role who we assume, often wrongly, are still settling in.

So I set about rectifying that inefficiency by creating a platform called HireSignals that launched last week. In a nutshell, HireSignals gives candidates the ability to declare their job search status to recruiters on Linkedin in confidence. The candidate can provide extra details on their job interests to ensure only targeted outreach. They can also opt-in or out of recruiter interests and can block specific domain names (especially from their current employers) from seeing their status or interests.

The platform is built on Linkedin’s API. Candidates register their status and job interests at by logging in with their Linked credentials. Recruiters register there also and, after a vetting process, they get access to a web browser add-on that superimposes color codes on Linkedin’s search pages showing job search status and pop up windows on their profiles that show their interests. You can check out the platform demo at

The intent with this platform is to create something that is both recruiter and candidate friendly but also highly complementary to Linkedin and a genuine enhancement to their platform for recruiters. I would love for the candidate adoption of the platform to be recruiter-led and have plans to add some extra services on the platform that will provide additional value add to recruiters – One example is proactively reminding candidates on changing their status / registering their status for the first time, that they are connected to you and suggesting that they notify you of their status or status change. Hopefully that one negates finding out after the fact that a great candidate that you are connected to has just taken another job. We also want to email candidates regularly with the recruiters that are most active on their profile. That way you get rewarded for hard work.

Interested to hear your feedback and anything we can do to a) get more recruiters using it and b) getting recruiters comfortable with their candidates using it in the comments section.


Views: 1455

Comment by Sandra McCartt on June 26, 2012 at 1:37pm
Christine, I was addressing the blog post but interesting to read your experience. I suggest to all candidates they set up a LinkedIn profile. Also any business person. I can't see much reason for not having one unless your company doesn't want employees to be there. Some people don't want much info out there which I also understand.

As to this being a good idea, I think so. While I agree with Bill, it doesn't make much difference to me as to contacting people, but, it appeals to me to have a clear understanding if people do not want to be contacted. Kind of like respecting. "do not call numbers".

So yes, I would support it and suggest it as a tool for people to clarify their status. This does seem to be a concern for everybody since the LI default is "interested in career opportunities". The success would seem to depend on whether people will actually use it. Many are not that tuned in to LinkedIn so if not will probably not utilize amother tool.

Will be interested in seeing if it catches on.
Comment by Feargall kenny on June 26, 2012 at 3:21pm

no worries Bill. It wont be for everyone but fingers crossed we will find a use case that gets you hooked ; )

Comment by Christopher Perez on June 26, 2012 at 9:57pm

Feargall, the concept makes a lot of sense to me and I will be registering for an account and evaluating it further. Anything that provides additional insights and information is valuable whether it's a core tool or a secondary one.

My take on candidate adoption is that it will be a function of their trust in the privacy features of the platform. I would imagine that if a recruiter has trust-based relationships with his/her LI network connections, that would go a long way toward assuaging a connection's reluctance to put themselves out there, even if it is done discreetly via HireSignals. We shall see. Thanks for developing a cool tool.   Chris

Comment by Christopher Perez on June 26, 2012 at 10:05pm

PS: Can you give an estimate on the Chrome extension's availability?

Comment by Feargall kenny on June 26, 2012 at 11:47pm

@chris Thanks for the comments. I agree that trust is key to adoption which is why we put the clarification on confidentiality on the home page. what is interesting so far is that candidates are very willing to show salary details so, at least for those who have signed up, that aspect of trust is very much there.

Chrome should be done in about 4 weeks.

Comment by Martin Hickson on June 27, 2012 at 12:09am

I have signed up and believe this to be a great way forward... good luck!

Comment by on June 27, 2012 at 1:11pm

Looks good. I've signed up (as a candidate)

Do you expect this to be used outside the US?  I'm in the UK and whilst I can convert my base salary requirement to $ easily it would be nice to be able to select my country and enter my salary in that currency.  Probably more importantly it would be very useful to be able to specify (other than by entering text in the more information box) if I can relocate.  I get a lot of emails from recruiters for roles in the US which I couldn't take up even if I wanted to.

Finally, you seem to have used the word 'networking' where it appears from context you mean 'looking for a new job'.  That threw me a bit as I would describe myself as actively networking but not actively looking for work.  I'm building my network in part to access opportunities in my current role but mostly so that should I need to start actively looking for a job I've got my network there, hopefully filled with people who will be both able and willing to help me.

Comment by Feargall kenny on June 27, 2012 at 2:04pm

@stephen. We will get other currencies in there shortly - sorry about that.

We dont have plans to put anything other than the plain text box for relocating - this is for being reactively found on linkedin by recruiters. Most of the time they are already filtering by geography so the relocation issue is a bigger one than I think we can solve

We use networking deliberately as euphemism for looking in case folks got nervous about saying that.

Comment by Cora Mae Lengeman on June 29, 2012 at 8:07am

The executives I deal with would NEVER use this.  They would not put themselves out there for any recruiter to contact.  I call people regarding opportunities based on if they might fit the profile I am looking for - if they aren't interested they may know someone whol is and often do refer.

LinkedIn does have a spot for 'interested in career opportunities'.

Comment by Feargall kenny on June 29, 2012 at 8:50am

@cora. remember this tool is for being reactively found on linkedin by recruiters who are actively searching for specific positions so the recruiters are likely qualified by the search that they are doing if that person appears in the results. Furthermore the candidate can give guidance to them (on salary, role level etc) so they only get qualified, targeted outreach.

there are two other filters we have thought about adding..

a) candidate can select all or some recruiters they are connected to on linkedin that are using the platform

b) candidate can select those recruiters that have been most active on their profile in the last x period of time.

never say never ; )


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