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I live in Brazil since I was born. Here, most of people I know has a profile in Linkedin. Usually, a real complete profile, with experiences, recommendations, projects and educational information.

But some professionals who get unemployed occasionally, asks me if Linkedin is really in its major potencial, because hiring process is not taking place there. It usually gets you to the company site, and mostly if you don`t know anyone that can make a recommendation in that company, your chances are very moderate to get a job in that company.

I wish to hear some real histories about the use of this tool to help professionals get hired faster. Does anyone have any ideas on how to improve this process by the candidate view?

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Depends upon what you think of as a "recruitment tool" - and I'm going to bet that it varies both by industry and by region. Certainly different cultures (be they national or interest/skill/job related) use social media very differently. For example, the performing artists I know do far more networking, job procurement and personal-marketing on Facebook than on Linked In, but the technical folks I know center their career networking around LinkedIn.

I'll caveat that most of my experience is US based, with a significant group of contacts in India (but not the majority).

Speaking more centrally about LinkedIn features, here's what I see:

  • Recruiters - recruiters in the US are certainly out and about on Linked In. There's been a general model for many years of recruiters connecting to potential job seekers - I believe their goal is largely to market themselves as well connected. I found, personally, very little value to this. I got no news or information and no additional job opportunities for this connection. I expect this is in transition, and recruiters will either phase out this type of activity as useless, or Linked In will adapt in some way.

  • Job opportunities - there is a whole section fo LinkedIn offering job opportunities and making it possible for opportunity providers to seek out candidates. I suspect this is still quite variable by region and industry. In any venue like this, I've noticed that seems to follow a pattern of (1) not enough critical mass for anyone to benefit (2) enough job seekers and opportunity providers of compatible types are present and they get benefit (3) other entities hear of it, and the benefit provided gets lost in the noise. In essence, my take is cynical - online, social media guided job seeking still needs to find a way to remain useful and relevant and high quality when it hits high volume. I suspect Linked in varies from region to region here in where it is in steps 1-2-3

  • A real value - connecting - the biggest power I see to the features on Linked In is the ability to assist in forging and maintaining connections. Most forms of knowledge work involve qualifications that include - knowing your trade well, and being able to do it productively and efficiently with others in a common corporate culture. There's no real way to vet these aspects on a paper resume if you don't have a shared connection. Linked in provides a certain depth that improves job hunting. It's a two way street - job seekers can see if anyone they know works in the potential employer, and interviewers can see if job seekers are connected to a common contact. This is a great way to get more insight in the job matchmaking process, and I think at this point there's enough large scale adoption for Linked In to have a positive impact on most industries that also allow for heavy computer use on the job.

  • a secondary value - the messaging aspects of Linked In - at this point, many people are changing jobs, emails, cell phones, etc. quickly enough that keeping in contact is challenging. I've seen that Linked provides transitioning people with a consistent way to keep in touch. Normally I scoff at social media messaging, because it scatters communication threads across interfaces, but in this case, IMO, it usually means that job-related communication bounces up to the top since it seems to center communication around a common purpose.

There's a lot of other features on the site - groups, status updates, etc. - but I'd venture a guess that they don't have a large scale adoption.

My thesis right now is that the power of Linked in is the power of connectivity. Many people describe their most successful job placements as being based upon their connections as much as their resumes. I think LinkedIn, across the board, makes these connections easier and more reliable, and less happenstance that a pre-LinkedIn world.

That's were a I see a growing and/or univeral value.

That said - Linked In is like any other shared communication (telephones, fax machines, etc) - it's only useful if the people you try to communicate with are there too. If you find that in all the companies you've worked, only a handful of people are on Linked In, you may find that it's not nearly as valuable as I'm describing here.

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Being networked (LinkedIn is a tool to help with this.) has several benefits:

  1. Other people can recommend you and offer references.
  2. You can help your team/company find other professionals.
  3. Recruiters can search for you.

I'm amazed at how many people complain about the people they work with, so why not get connected and help your company find qualified people?

The benefits for people looking for a job are hard to evaluate. Many people join right when they need a job. These things take time. The more people that are signed-up, the better chance of recruiters in your area will see it as a strong source of candidates. It's very popular in the US, but I don't know if it has reached critical mass in your area.

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I can only answer from a my experience in eastern Canada (Ontario, Quebec & Atlantic provinces). I'm actively looking for a job, and there's little serious posts as such on Linkedin except for IT pros. The rest is mostly agencies ads, but saying that, the recruiters and hr people I talked to gave two reasons they use it for:

1) They check your profile, when you apply for a position, but not so much for your cv (as they got it their hands already) but more for the connections you've got, particularly in your current company.

2) Looking at an increase in activity on the site, hr people use it to detect employees looking to quit.

As from a candidate point of view, if your current company allows access to Linkedin from your desktop, it means they are monitoring it (I'm not saying they're spying, just checking for increased activity, such as a new photo, lot of new connections etc. anything freely available when you are connected to someone).

It's up to you if you want them to know that you're looking for a job. About outside recruiters, the more internal connections you've got the more you'll look like you are able to fit in, that you know how to network.

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There may be LinkedIn groups that can provide networking opportunities here is something else to note. I found my current position through a LinkedIn group though I'm a software developer in western Canada so there may be something to be said for this region being more on LinkedIn than other things.

I've done various direct applications for positions through LinkedIn but that hasn't worked out so well for me. There are times where people have tracked me down on LinkedIn so that has been useful at times to see though it wasn't usually in relation to getting a job.

LinkedIn can work for getting that first touch point of contacting either a hiring manager or a recruiter that may be a way to get a job. I have had a little success with it though it also helps that I have over 10 years of experience in my field.

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FWIW, it all depends on the kind of profile

If I am looking to recruit a marketing head, I would definitely love to see his/her connections, at least on linkedin. The linkedin profile doesnt necessarily show a true picture. A lot of people will reverse engineer and network with other high fliers and leave a comment/review, so whenever someone is checking this persons profile will read of his connections with the high flier. Does not necessarily mean the high flier is a good buddy of this reverse engineer fella.

Linkedin profiles, in my opinion, are redundant for software developers. I for one wouldn't care who the software engineer is connected with. I may run a look at it, but thats it. For all you know, may be James Gosling is recommending a java developer. That developer is a keeper then. As a matter of fact, if I relied too much on it and see one too many recommendations, I may consider inviting the recommend-er to explore the opportunity which was initially intended for the other software developer.
It would indeed be a sad day if all HRs used linkedin as their only recruitment tool. It is not required by the best of software developers to maintain a social network. Am I rgoing to rob my company by not inviting such professionals to apply ? Definitely not. But I understand this fact, not a lot of HR folks

Come to think of it, I have never seen a bad review for anyone. Now that is almost impossible. If you have been in the corporate world, there will most definitely be at least one person who truly hates you. But hey, its not on the linkedin profile.

To answer your question in one word, No. The only way to get hired faster is to post your resume on job websites and also grow and even excel in your skills of whatever stream you work in.

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