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LinkedIn Recruiter: What You Don’t Know Could Damage Your Career

I was chatting with one of my recruiter friends; and, as usual, our conversation turned to what’s happening in the world of CFO recruiting. Since he’s a small boutique recruiter with fingers on the pulse of his geographic area, it’s always interesting to hear how what he sees locally aligns with what I am seeing nationally.

It was an illuminating conversation. And what he said about LinkedIn Recruiter lines right up with an article I saw on Wired.com. Here’s an excerpt, but the article is critically important to read in its entirety:

Tucked behind your professional, yet pretty, profile picture, the descriptions of all your past jobs, and that column of “People You May Know” is a section of LinkedIn that most people have never heard of, let alone seen. And yet it’s the real reason why you should actually care about sprucing up your LinkedIn profile and network.

Apparently companies are having such success with LinkedIn Recruiter that third party recruiters are being hired primarily for hard-to-fill positions. I see a lot of hungry recruiters in the near future who will be forced to either transform their business models or change careers. Yes, even at the C-level according to my recruiter colleague.

Remember not too long ago, one of the top recruiting firms notified candidates they would no longer be accepting resumes but would be, instead, searching LinkedIn profiles instead? LinkedIn Recruiter is undoubtedly a part of that decision.

If you are going to be making a career move in the future (and unless retirement is your next move, that is pretty much every CFO or Finance Executive reading this post), today is not a moment too soon to either join LinkedIn and/or get your profile complete and compelling. Your ability to move quickly, effortlessly, and painlessly may just depend on it.

Lest you think I exaggerate, let me leave you with the words of Ed Nathanson, Director of Talent Acquisition at Rapid7 …

In other words, Nathanson finds the vast majority of future employees on LinkedIn. And if you aren’t on LinkedIn? He’ll probably never find you. And even if he did, he probably wouldn’t hire you. “I’m always amazed at people who aren’t there now,” Nathanson says. “When I talk to candidates and they aren’t on there that’s a big red flag for me.”

 

Comments

Mark Stokes
Title: CFO
Company: Private
(CFO, Private) |

Some folks I know, Cindy, have held off from creating a LinkedIn profile because they thought that it brought them down to the level of the other riff raff in LinkedIn. In other words, there was exclusivity and a bit of mystique in NOT being in LinkedIn. These folks were secure in the knowledge that they would be found by their recruiter contacts or a board member and don't need it. Yes, these are CFOs I know.

What your post points to, and I agree heartily given what I have seen in the ongoing decimation of the recruiting profession, is that the recruiters that know you are going away very quickly. And that thing about board members pulling you in? I've been on many boards, that's just exceedingly rare. Every board and CEO's historic knee-jerk response to "we need a CFO" is "where's my retained recruiter?" Well, increasingly it's "where's my VP of HR and my internal recruiter?" and they are using LinkedIn.

So that security net of "I know a bunch of recruiters" is disappearing, and you need to be in the marketplace that companies are using in order to be found. Every recruiter on earth will tell you that's not the case b/c they are in the business of inserting themselves in this process. But the reality is that they are being disintermediated rapidly and you don't want to rely on their business if they're not getting the job orders.

Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

Most excellent points, Mark!

The latest scoop is that even the recruiters with job reqs are using LI Recruiter.

James Scott
Title: Consulting CFO
Company: Early Growth Financial Services
LinkedIn Profile
(Consulting CFO, Early Growth Financial Services) |

While I am not sure we would use LinkedIn alone for recruiting a C-Level hire, for sure using LinkedIn to check out a person and talk to mutual contacts is going to happen. Much better to have a good profile, than a bad one, and having no profile is "a big red flag" for us too..

Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

Thanks, James! I agree ... no visibility is invisibility, and not a good message for any executive!

Cross Cross
Title: Senior Consultant/Administrator
Company: Lee Cross Associates
(Senior Consultant/Administrator, Lee Cross Associates) |

Cindy---wow thanks for the great information. I just recently updated my profile based upon training from Greg Wells and my traffic is up dramatically!!

Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

Fabulous, Lee ... and you are very welcome!

Ken Stumder
Title: Finance Director / Controller
Company: Ken Stumder, CPA
(Finance Director / Controller, Ken Stumder, CPA) |

Cindy - I have a question which expands the discussion beyond LinkedIn if you don't mind.

I just recently restricted access to my Facebook profile to just friends. I am not a heavy user and I suppose that was the default setting. I do have pictures of my family there and decided to limit access now that it seems HR departments, universities, etc. use it to evaluate candidates. I happen to think I have a lovely family, but I don't want to have to police the thing for posts from others.

How do you view Twitter in regards to professional profile/brand? I have a Twitter account in my name and I use it to follow personal interests (boxing, television shows, etc.). I don't think Twitter has functionality similar to Facebook where you can limit access.

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

Ken - Twitter does have a way to make your tweets private so that no one except who you want to view your tweets can see them. I actually think you have to make your profile private.

I don't have a Facebook account, but I do have my Twitter account wide open to whomever wants to see what I tweet. I guess, for better or worse, what I tweet I am okay with being part of my branding, or at least what I am trying to portray. Some may not like what I post on there, but if a potential employer wants to know what I do on weekends, I am okay with them knowing how I spend my weekends.

Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

I don't mind at all, Ken.

Chris is right about Twitter. You can make your account private and restrict access to your tweets. The question would be, what are you trying to accomplish with your Twitter account and can you do that if it is restricted?

Facebook is getting trickier and trickier because despite a setting of "friends" only; as soon as your friend comments, his friends can also see 'that' post. You can create "lists" of designated people who are the only ones who can see your [different] posts (family, specific friends, coworkers, etc) and always default to making that list selection before you post to get a little more control of your account.

If you take into consideration the value of branding, how hiring for culture-fit is the most challenging piece of the hiring process, and how more and more recruiters and companies are looking to understand candidates on a more well-rounded (360) basis, revealing some personal information (hobbies, interests, even family) doesn't have to be a negative. But it has to be comfortable for you.

Your family is a good example. If your family is a top value of yours (meaning, you don't want to work 80-hour weeks or do a lot of traveling), then pictures of your family can send that subtle message to someone who is looking at you from a broader perspective.

I hope that helps!

Cindy

Ken Stumder
Title: Finance Director / Controller
Company: Ken Stumder, CPA
(Finance Director / Controller, Ken Stumder, CPA) |

Cindy/Chris - both helpful comments. I had no idea I could change the settings on Twitter.

Karl Almond
Title: VP Finance
Company: Workstream, Inc.
(VP Finance, Workstream, Inc.) |

Cindy,
Your comments on LinkedIn became very evident in my recent job search. I was shocked at how so much had changed since I went looking four years prior. LinkedIn has become the focus for so many of the jobs. Your profile is critical, but this becomes a bit of a challenge if you are job hunting and you are linked to your current boss and co workers. Settings become critical and I suggest that everyone take the time to understand what the settings mean. I also chose to use the advanced user and pay the fee each month. It seemed to help get my profile out there.
Thanks again for highlighting this as a challenge!

Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

You are welcome, Karl! I wish you all the best with your stealth search.

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