How Not to Hire People on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has been one of the primary recruiting tools for companies over the last few years. LinkedIn offers social proof, public profile availability, and people to solicit that aren’t even looking for a job. But I know I’m not alone here in observing how companies – especially staffing agencies, have been abusing the tool. I get around 10 inquiries a week from recruiters trying to hire me, and about 80% of them are for completely unrelated fields. Recruiters are the scourge of evil on LinkedIn with their annoying solicitations. We’ve all seen articles out there on how to find jobs and how to hire people on there, but this post is all about how NOT to hire people on LinkedIn using real mistakes I see commonly practiced by recruiters.
linkedin hiring
Here’s an example from a staffing agency that includes everything you should not do when soliciting employment on LinkedIn. All personal information has been obscured for privacy reasons.

InMail · Expertise request
Magento Web Developer – Small, family-run company with aggressive growth plans!!!
Jane Doe, Technology Staffing Coordinator at SomeStaffingAgency
September 19, 2014 3:27 PM
Hi Harrison,

Hope you’re doing well!

I’d like to share a great opportunity with you. I have a client in Northbrook, IL looking for a talented primarily back-end Senior Magento/PHP Developer to work on the Direct-To-Consumer, Wholesale, Affiliate, and Retail eCommerce platform. This is an opportunity to work in an industry that doesn’t have a dominant player… yet. This company is changing that landscape. They are a small, family-run company that have aggressive growth plans. They offer a laid-back/casual environment, a great work/life balance, and a competitive salary!

The successful candidate will have experience with eCommerce website creation, development, maintenance and experience with back-end integration.

2-5+ years development experience with PHP, including object-oriented websites in PHP5
2+ Magento eCommerce development experience including integrating third party modules/plugins with Magento
Front-end customizations of Magento store
Magento Theme Development Knowledge
Principles of Design MySQL Responsive Development
Report writing capabilities
Web analytics development and tracking

Please let me know if you’re interested in discussing this opportunity further!

Hope to hear from you soon!

Here’s where this recruiter went wrong:

1) The recruiter marked the message as an “expertise request”. Clearly this was a solicitation for employment, so she already lied right upfront about why she is contacting me. Bottom line – Dishonest

2) The job was for a Magento developer. Yes, I did freelance web development for a number of years and have developed a couple sites in Magento. But my profile clearly shows that I stopped developing sites nearly 5 years ago. Are you seriously going to forward an applicant onto your client that hasn’t developed a site in 5 years? I also in no way accent Magento on my profile – I only make one quick mention that I have familiarity with it. My experience in these last 5 years has purely been on the marketing side, and my profile really conveys that message – especially with all the thought leadership I publish. Clearly, I’m an expert in the marketing industry, not development. Bottom line – Irrelevant

3) Subject line also says it’s a small business. Looking through my profile,  you won’t see anything that mentions or indicates that I like working for small businesses. I have only worked for mid-size and large companies. Bottom line – Wrong fit

4) The job is in Northbrook, IL. I live on the south side of Chicago, which is about a 2 hour commute to Northbrook during rush hour. What would make her think I’d be willing to take an irrelevant job for a small business that is 2 hours away? Bottom Line – Geographical Issues

5) The position is for a senior developer position. There is nothing in my LinkedIn profile that even remotely qualifies me to be a senior developer of anything. At the most, I’d be qualified for an entry-level position. Bottom Line – Unqualified

6) The job also calls for experience with eCommerce website maintenance and back-end work. Nowhere in my profile does it say that I have experience with either of these. The position also calls for MySQL experience, which is not at all mentioned on my profile, nor do I have any experience with it. Bottom Line – Do not have required skills

7) I just changed jobs. I’ve been at MWI for little over a month now. Therefore, I fail to understand why a recruiter would even think I’m considering making a move right now. In fact, I love MWI. It’s an awesome company to work for full of awesome people and clients. You’d think she would inquire about my happiness with my current company before giving me the sales pitch given the fact that I just made a career move. Bottom Line – Poor Timing

These seven things make up the same recurring issues I see in LinkedIn job solicitations all the time. What was once a professional network is now a pool full of sharks spamming your inbox with irrelevant job offers. If you’re looking to hire people on LinkedIn, take these 7 mishaps into consideration before contacting people.

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Written by

Harrison Jones is the VP of Digital Marketing at MWI. With over 10 years of digital marketing experience, he specializes in SEO, PPC, content marketing, analytics, conversion optimization, usability analysis, and information architecture. He writes for several industry-leading publications including Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal.

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