I don’t know about you, but I get emails from Linkedin every couple weeks trying to recruit me into their “premium” account service. “You can be a featured applicant! How much would you love to be on the top of the HR manager’s hiring list?” My first instinct is to say that any company that hires someone because they are on the top of their Linkedin mailbox is probably terrible and filled with people trying to buy their way to success. It sounds insane to me that you have to actually pay in order to get attention from an HR manager.
When you look at all the major tech companies like your Facebooks and your Googles, all I hear is that they pile a significant amount of resources in recruiting the best kids from the best schools, poaching from the best companies, or even straight out buying out a company in order to get their team (Kevin Rose with Milk, for one).
It seems very odd for a company to try to get people to pay for a service who are probably unemployed or underemployed. This reminds me a lot about a company called Keiretsu Forum that was charging entrepreneurs thousands of dollars and equity in their company in order to pitch to “investors”. Luckily, thanks to Jason Calacanis, they were exposed and dropped their fees for early stage startups.
To me, Linkedin is slowly becoming the weird/gross pyramid scheme-y relative that’s trying to sell you steak knives or Tupperware. Last month, my highly social and fashion blogger co-worker got an email from Linkedin stating that she had one of the top 5% most viewed profiles for Linkedin. I was impressed and extremely jealous. I quizzed her on what tactics she used in order to get so much traction to her page. Did she have it on her business cards? Was there a big ol’ button on her blog? Unfortunately, she really didn’t know why she was so popular on Linkedin.
Later that day, I got this in my inbox:
All it took to make it to the top 10% of a social network with 200 million users was 72 views over the course of 3 months. 24 hits per month on average. That’s not a lot of views. Definitely not enough to write home about. To be honest, when I received that email, I felt pretty disgusted with Linkedin. Not only did they reduce the value of my Linkedin account, they reduced everyone else’s account. People were tweeting and posting their score as if it was a validation of their professional ability but after finding out all it takes is 24 hits a month on your profile, it just became sad.
It’s troubling that a company that could have so many monetization models has to settle for the scummiest way to make money. To be honest, I’m still going to have my Linkedin account, but there is absolutely no way in hell that I’m ever going to become a premium member. A lot of young professionals really view Linkedin as the potential ticket to the big show, but I don’t think that any social network is really going to make or break someone’s ability to start or further develop their career. I think the real key to success is to develop your skills further and to enjoy the learning process and not to fall for any pay-to-play traps like Linkedin premium services.