A feature request for LinkedIn

I like LinkedIn, but I would love if I could make recruitment messages more relevant.

I’m about to whine about recruitment, which I understand isn’t great when many good people are looking for work.

If you can do anything to help people in your network, recommendations, connecting people up – now is the time to lower your reputation-risk considerations (what if they aren’t a match, aren’t good) and do it anyway.

Although I dislike the Storification of LinkedIn, and find “Heart Warming Stories of Dubious Origin, About That One Time Someone Showed Basic Human Empathy” posts a little grating, I like LinkedIn.

I primarily work in the Media & Entertainment industry, and very often people move around. One time I was working with a team who were re-engineering a high profile transcode stack, and we needed to check compatibility that one consumer with very Fussy Set-Top Boxes specific H264 encoding parameters.

Searching on LinkedIn found that someone I’d previously worked with was now there, and that was one of those useful back-channels that actually get the work done, alongside the formal ones where invariably detail is lost in all the mediation layers.

I’ve previously found work through LinkedIn also, people in my network were looking and we had chats…

In both of these cases it was a route to contact people who I likely wouldn’t have managed otherwise.

The Bit Where I Bitch About Recruiters

While I know #NotAllRecruiters, many are somewhat annoying.

I’m quite specific in my profile intro of the kind of roles I’m open to, and still I get requests to be a: Permanent, SAP, Project Manager, in Bracknell.

That’s one technology I’ve never worked with (merely around) and 3 job qualities that I will avoid.

Tiresome for everyone, a waste of my time to read and theirs to send.

The over-engineered solution

As mentioned, I’ve a number of relatively simple conditions about jobs I’ll consider.

One time I got a message about a job that was “Only for Oxbridge graduates, but Imperial is also OK” – I know this was meant to be flattering and give the impression of an intellectual workplace (while also being a bit negging that “Imperial was almost good enough”). However, it just screamed of a horrendously toxic culture with Platinum Grade Gatekeeping.

So if you’re specific about what you’re looking for why don’t you get to state that in some questions, and when a recruiter who isn’t in your network wants to contact you, how about they’re given a page like this… (please excuse the 💩 mock)

A list of questions a recruiter might face: is the position permanent or contract, using appropriate technologies, what the salary is

Actually Maybe This Is Application for ML…

As I was writing this (helpfully after doing the 💩 mockup), I thought of a much better solution: If you can choose from a smaller range of criteria – and ones that could be detected by an ML classifier – LinkedIn could just run the classifiers you care about on an “out of network” message.

The score of the message could then drive a traffic light system: the message is accepted, outright denied, and if borderline the sender needs to click a “Yes, it’s appropriate and your classier is wrong, scouts honour, promise” button.

Would it work?

Unless there was a penalty for clicking “This Isn’t Spam” I doubt it would.

I also suspect it would hurt LinkedIn’s revenue too much, if having paid for Gold Premium Ultra, people aren’t able to send messages

To the good recruiters, who like great project managers are rare but invaluable – I’m sorry.

To the rest of you, I’m just not ready to do SAP in Bracknell.